Vatican City, Sep 26, 2013 / 01:08 am America/Denver (CNA).
While Pope Francis’ mention of the Church’s priorities in a recent interview grabbed worldwide attention, few remember that Benedict XVI said substantially the same thing seven years ago.
Pope Francis' interview with La Civiltà Cattolica published Sept. 19 led to headlines such as CNN's “Pope Francis says religion does not have the right to interfere spiritually in the lives of gays and lesbians” and the New York Times' “Pope Bluntly Faults Church's Focus on Gays and Abortion.”
Among other things, the Roman Pontiff had said that the Church “cannot insist only on issues related to abortion, gay marriage and the use of contraceptive methods … when we speak about these issues, we have to talk about them in a context.”
He continued, “The church’s pastoral ministry cannot be obsessed with the transmission of a disjointed multitude of doctrines to be imposed insistently. Proclamation in a missionary style focuses on the essentials, on the necessary things: this is also what fascinates and attracts more, what makes the heart burn, as it did for the disciples at Emmaus … the proposal of the Gospel must be more simple, profound, radiant. It is from this proposition that the moral consequences then flow.”
The Pope's words echoed those of his predecessor, Benedict XVI, who had made similar comments to the bishops of Switzerland on Nov. 9, 2006.