Don’t lighten up, Francis:
Pope Francis is warning that the Catholic Church’s moral edifice might “fall like a house of cards” if it doesn’t balance its divisive rules about abortion, gays and contraception with the greater need to make the church a merciful, more welcoming place for all.
“The church’s pastoral ministry cannot be obsessed with the transmission of a disjointed multitude of doctrines to be imposed insistently,” (Pope) Francis said. “We have to find a new balance; otherwise even the moral edifice of the church is likely to fall like a house of cards, losing the freshness and fragrance of the Gospel.”
Of course, Francis is the ostensible head of this organization he is criticizing, so….Just words! Use the bully pulpit more! Be a leader!
The reality is we are living in an age where individual leaders — presidents, popes, Speakers of the House — don’t have that much power. I don’t know much about how the Vatican works but I did read that Ratzinger decided at some point that he himself couldn’t control the organization at all, so I suspect Francis can’t either.
But if Francis can move the church even a little bit away from its obsession with green balloons, it will be a big fucking deal. The American Catholic Church has become a big Republican PAC, and conservative leaders made it into one by using issues like abortion and gay marriage. If that changes, it could make big difference in American politics.