Pope Francis. Credit: Lauren Cater / CNA.

Pope Francis. Credit: Lauren Cater / CNA.

If you’ve read any media reports on the Church in the last few weeks, you might have the impression that there were – or are about to be – some earth-shattering changes in Catholic teaching about marriage, family and homosexuality.

Interestingly, these reports tend to cite either a draft document that was later changed or cardinals who are pushing for the changes to take place. But there is one source that has been notably missing from these claims that change is imminent: the Pope.

At the recent synod – a two-week gathering of bishops from around the world, held in Rome – Pope Francis was nearly silent. He offered some general thoughts at the beginning of the process, and then again at the end, but during the day-to-day proceedings of the synod, he virtually disappeared off the radar.


Some people seem to have taken his silence as a sign that he supports every proposed change that was brought up – or at least the most radical ones that would essentially redefine the Catholic vision of marriage.

But this weekend, the Pope broke his silence and spoke out on some of the most controversial subjects that had been discussed at the synod. His comments were pretty strong, and they’re not what you might expect from the narrative being presented by much of the media:

“The family is being hit, the family is being struck and the family is being bastardized,” the Pope told those in attendance at the Oct. 25 audience.

He warned against the common view in society that “you can call everything family, right?”

“What is being proposed is not marriage, it’s an association. But it’s not marriage! It’s necessary to say these things very clearly and we have to say it!” Pope Francis stressed.

He lamented that there are so many “new forms” of unions which are “totally destructive and limiting the greatness of the love of marriage.”

As a side note, this is not the first time that something like this has happened. Last September, a media storm arose after the publication of an interview in which the Pope said that we cannot focus solely on moral issues such as abortion while ignoring the rest of the Gospel. The media went crazy suggesting that this was a softened stance showing that the Church was preparing to change its teaching on abortion. The next day, the Pope issued some of his strongest words in defense of the unborn, saying: “Every unborn child, although unjustly condemned to be aborted, has the face of Jesus Christ, the Lord’s face.”


The truth is, Pope Francis gave us some key insight to his pontificate when he told a group of Argentinian youth at World Youth Day in Brazil last year to “make a mess.”

He believes in dialogue and discussion, even when it may be messy and uncomfortable. That means he’s going to allow people to voice their opinions, whether he agrees with them or not. But it does not mean that he is planning on uprooting thousands of years of Church teaching. After all, every time he is asked whether he agrees with Church teaching on any moral issues, his reply is always the same: “I am a son of the Church.”