The fact that this interview was kept under wraps at first, then simultaneously printed in multiple Jesuit publications, shows its serious.
That said, it's no surprise that former Dallasite and former Dallas Morning News op-ed columnist Rod Dreher, who has a history of not liking gays, as well as being an apologist for racism, takes offense. (I had the semi-pleasure of meeting him in person once, after I emailed the Morning News, as did others, about him violating company police by also opining for World Nut Daily at that time. I didn't yet realize just the totality of what he was like, though.)
Dreher first claims the NYT and the rest of the big media are overblowing this one. Au contraire. The Vatican itself reacted when the media claimed a month ago that Francis said that good atheists were guaranteed a shot at heaven. There's been no such pushback this time.
Dreher refers readers to one of those journals, which American Conservative may have excerpted without authorization. It doesn't explicitly say in the story that it does have such authorization, and the Jesuit mag says that excerpting without it is a no-no.
And, Dreher's wrong.
Per the full interview, which I shall not excerpt without authorization, the pope says that he was disciplined when he spoke even briefly on such issues before.
Or per the New York Times story:
“I see the church as a field hospital after battle,” Francis said. “It is useless to ask a seriously injured person if he has high cholesterol and about the level of his blood sugars. You have to heal his wounds. Then we can talk about everything else.”Sounds like that's not overblown. Francis is talking about about priorities.
And, no, Rod, he's not naive, either. See my timeline note, above.
And, he's made clear that previous comments about gays (and lesbians, but gays in particular on this one item) refer not just to the priesthood but the laity, too.
That said, nothing he did say indicates the Roman Catholic Church will change its stance on either abortion or homosexuality.
But, it will treat people dealing with being gay, or terminating a pregnancy, with more love than Rod Dreher ever will.
As for people like the ex-Catholic Dreher, or the right-wing Catholic priests and laity he counts among his contacts, Francis addresses him and them:
The pope said he has found it “amazing” to see complaints about “lack of orthodoxy” flowing into the Vatican offices in Rome from conservative Catholics around the world. They ask the Vatican to investigate or discipline their priests, bishops or nuns. Such complaints, he said, “are better dealt with locally,” or else the Vatican offices risk becoming “institutions of censorship.”Well, sure. That's exactly what these people want.
Of course, Dreher is the man who, among others, prayed for Chris Hitchens to have a deathbed conversion. By his religious rights, I suppose he thinks he's just doing what he's supposed to. Well, 150 years ago, Indian Hindu women thought they were supposed to throw themselves on their dead husbands' funeral pyres. Less informed Muslims think female genital circumcision is supposed to be part of their religion. Mormons still get baptized for dead people.
Meanwhile, speaking of those earlier misinterpreted platitudes of Francis? He's not a Gnu Atheist, but Massimo Pigluicci takes him to the cleaners. And, per Massimo, he actually isn't letting up **that much** on the idea of judging gay people.
Indeed, blogger Pacheco shows that, although not as much as with "atheists get to go to heaven," the MSM has perhaps overblown this one, too, even though the Vatican hasn't objected this time. In fact, he notes that since the interview, Francis the Talking Pope and the Vatican have, among other things they've allowed or caused:
- Pope Francis denounce abortion and tell Catholic doctors to refuse to perform them (even when the life of the mother is in danger and the fetus is not viable)
- The Vatican excommunicate a priest in Melbourne for his support of women priests and gay people (not exactly the loving approach one would expect from the person interviewed a couple of days earlier)
- A damning report from MPR on how Minneapolis Archdiocese leaders KNEW about inappropriate sexual conduct from one of their priests covering over a DECADE, and yet failed to do anything about it until after the priest had sexually abused several boys. Way to provide moral leadership, Archibishop Nienstadt.
Maybe not as much as that frothy substance called "santorum," but froth, nonetheless.
And, that the likes of Dreher takes offense to even that shows how ridiculous he is.