Cardinal Francis George responds to Pope Francis’ ‘beautiful reflection’
BY TINA SFONDELES Staff Reporter September 20, 2013 8:30PM
Cardinal Francis George | Rich Hein/Sun-Times
Updated: October 22, 2013 6:10AM
Cardinal Francis George on Friday released a statement in response to Pope Francis’ candid interview published Thursday — applauding the pope’s call for humility and forgiveness but failing to respond to his more pointed remarks calling for the church to lessen its focus on homosexuality, abortion and contraception.
“In his beautiful reflection published in English in America magazine, Pope Francis begins by identifying himself as a sinner, and so are we all. The first thing a sinner striving for conversion needs to hear is that God loves him or her. Mercy is love eager to forgive,” Cardinal George said in the statement.
“That has become the leitmotif of Pope Francis’ teaching, and it puts into perspective the demands of discipleship expressed and clarified in the Church’s established doctrinal and moral teaching. For who the Pope is, we should all be grateful. From how he teaches the truths of the Catholic faith, we can all profit,” George said.
In the Pope’s interview — published Thursday in 16 countries — Pope Francis warns that the Roman Catholic Church’s ministry cannot be “obsessed” with a “disjointed multitude of doctrines,” and that without a new balance, “the moral edifice of the church is likely to fall like a house of cards.” He said “small-minded rules” are driving the faithful away.
Pope Francis said he is “no one to judge” homosexuals who are of good will and in search of God. And expressed his desire for the church to be accepting of all people.
But on Friday, the pope issued a strong anti-abortion message and cited Vatican teaching on the need to defend the unborn during an audience with Catholic gynecologists.
Many in Chicago’s gay community on Thursday called on Cardinal George to respond to Francis’ comments in hopes his words might trickle down to local Catholic leaders.