Vatican City, Sep 19, 2013 / 16:34 pm
In a new wide-ranging interview, Pope Francis called for Christians to “heal wounds” in society by sharing the entirety of the Church’s message, offering the proper context for its spiritual and moral teaching.
The Holy Father explained that “the proclamation of the saving love of God comes before moral and religious imperatives.”
Proclamation of salvation must come first, followed by catechesis, and then the moral consequences that flow from this teaching, he said, warning that if this does not happen, there is a risk of reducing the Church’s message to aspects that “on their own do not show the heart of the message of Jesus Christ.”
Antonio Spadaro, S.J., editor in chief of the Jesuit-run Italian newspaper La Civiltà Cattolica, conducted the interview with Pope Francis in August. The U.S. Jesuit magazine America published an exclusive English-language translation of the interview Sept. 19.
In the interview, Pope Francis highlighted the need to proclaim moral truths in the full context of the Church’s Gospel message rather than as isolated requirements to be imposed.
“We cannot insist only on issues related to abortion, gay marriage and the use of contraceptive methods. This is not possible,” he said, explaining that this would not be the fullness of the Gospel, but instead a “disjointed multitude of doctrines to be imposed insistently.”
Observing that some people have criticized him for not speaking more frequently about these moral matters, he clarified his agreement with Catholic teaching on these issues, explaining, “The teaching of the Church, for that matter, is clear and I am a son of the Church.”
However, he maintained that “when we speak about these issues, we have to talk about them in a context.”