How could a headline like “Pope Bluntly Faults Church’s Focus on Gays and Abortion” from none other than the great bastion of journalistic integrity be based on an interview which you can read in full here?
“I see clearly,” the pope continues, “that the thing the church needs most today is the ability to heal wounds and to warm the hearts of the faithful; it needs nearness, proximity. I see the church as a field hospital after battle. 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. Heal the wounds, heal the wounds…. And you have to start from the ground up.
“We cannot insist only on issues related to abortion, gay marriage and the use of contraceptive methods. This is not possible.”
Pope Francis is not saying that these things are like high cholesterol or high blood sugar rather than the actual wounds of the seriously injured person, the sinner (i.e., all of us!). He’s saying that these things are the wounds, but the ways that we treat them must always involve showing “the heart of the message of Jesus Christ” — “The most important thing is the first proclamation: Jesus Christ has saved you. And the ministers of the church must be ministers of mercy above all.”
Being ministers of mercy means speaking truth in love. Not one at the expense of other (because that’s impossible).
[NOTE: Just 11 more days to vote for me for Beer Camp!]