Today I kept hearing about Antonio Spadaro’s interview (“A Big Heart Open to God”) with Pope Francis for America. It has been being discussed on the radio, on various news websites, and reference to it kept appearing on my Facebook and Twitter feeds. I decided to read it. It is lengthy, but I recommend it.
I think it is dangerous to try to understand the Pope via sound bytes and commentary from the media. Pope Francis does push the envelop a bit, but he does so in a way that remains safely with the Roman Catholic tradition whether he is discussing Church hierarchy, whether certain traditions must be set in stone, the role of women in the Church, and hot topics like homosexuality and contraceptives. Several times in the interview he talks about discernment and how one must not hastily make decisions or changes. I think this is the key to understanding Pope Francis and how he balances being “a son of the Church” (as he calls himself) while challenging the Church’s propensity to forget real people in the process of defending their dogmas, moralistic or otherwise.