home
RSS
September 20th, 2013
02:16 PM ET

Conservatives 'disturbed' by pope's remarks

By Daniel Burke, CNN Belief Blog Co-editor

[twitter-follow screen_name='BurkeCNN']

(CNN) - “Rain on parched land.”

“A bold new course.”

“Revolutionary.”

That’s how liberal Catholics responded to the stunning interview published Thursday in which Pope Francis bluntly said the church shouldn’t be “obsessed” with culture war issues like abortion and gay marriage.

“It is not necessary to talk about these issues all the time,” the pope said, warning that the church's moral foundations will fall "like a house of cards" unless it strikes a "new balance" between preaching the gospel and taking stands on divisive issues.

How did conservative Catholics, the church’s most ardent culture warriors, react?

“I’ll be honest; I was disturbed,” writes Matthew Archbold in the conservative National Catholic Register.

“While it's clear that the pope is not changing church teaching, he is clearly changing the emphasis. The pope with a few words has unsettled so much.”

Archbold said that he’s concerned that the pope's words will be used against anti-abortion activists and opponents of gay marriage in the United States.

But after thinking and praying about the pope's remarks, Archbold said, he decided that being unsettled may not be "such a terrible thing."

"I think the pope was reminding us that we're a religion of 'yes.'"

MORE ON CNN: Pope Francis: Church can't 'interfere' with gays

Before the release of Thursday’s interview, Bishop Thomas Tobin of Rhode Island said he was “disappointed” that Francis had not spoken much about abortion. On Friday, Tobin welcomed the pope’s comments, but said it won’t change his focus.

“I have spoken out clearly about the dignity of all human life and the nature of holy matrimony as designed by God and will continue to do so whenever the situation warrants,” Tobin said. “It is a demand of the Gospel.”

The bishop also said, however, that he appreciates the new pope’s “balanced and inclusive” approach.

Other conservative Catholics said the media and liberals had misconstrued the pope’s remarks, made in a 12,000-word interview published Thursday in 16 Jesuit journals around the world.

“The pope is a reformer, but not a revolutionary,” Bill Donohue, president of the Catholic League for Civil and Religious Rights, told CNN’s Chris Cuomo.

“This is the problem with the left," Dohonue continued, "they are trying to take what the pope said and then run with it.”

Donohue, a caustic and sometimes controversial critic of people he perceives as anti-Catholic, said the pope’s remarks won’t silence him.

“There’s nothing the pope said that should give relief to people who say all of a sudden now that conservatives should shut up,” Donahue said. “We’re not going to shut up because we’re in consonant compliance with what the pope said. “

After all, conservatives say, it’s not like the pope changed Catholic doctrine in Thursday’s interview.

To underscore that point, the conservative blog Rorate Caeli posted a lengthy quote from the pope’s meeting with Catholic gynecologists on Friday in which he strongly denounced abortion.

“Each child who is unborn, but is unjustly condemned to be aborted, bears the face of Jesus Christ, bears the face of the Lord,” the pope said, according to Rorate Caeli’s translation. “They cannot be discarded, as the `culture of waste’ proposes.”

Father John Zuhlsdorf, a conservative Catholic blogger, said the pope urged Catholics to find a “new balance” between their moral and political missions. He didn’t say they should surrender the culture wars.

“I think that Francis thinks that constant correction and condemnation does more harm than good,” Zuhlsdorf wrote on his blog.

“Francis said `all the time," Zuhlsdorf said."He did not say `we should not talk about these things.’"

MORE ON CNN: The pope said what? Six stunners from Francis

Other conservatives said the pope's remarks are “nothing new.”

"The pope is not in any way proposing that the church should abandon important moral and social teachings,” said Ashley McGuire of the Catholic Association.

"Rather, the pope is reaffirming a longstanding teaching that reaches all the way back to the founding of Christianity: love your neighbor.”

And while most liberals praised the pope’s bold new vision, some took issue with his remarks about women’s role in the church.

“We have to work harder to develop a theology of women in the church,” Francis said in Thursday's interview.

“Breaking news, Pope Francis: There is already a profound theology of women," said Sister Maureen Fielder, a Catholic nun and longtime advocate of women’s ordination in the Catholic Church.

“There are libraries of feminist theology just waiting for you, and others, to dive in.”

Fielder said she likes the new pope, but she thinks he “sorely needs a course in feminist theology.”

For the most part, however, liberals praised Francis.

Under previous popes, liberal Catholic nuns, politicians and theologians were castigated by church leaders, said John Gehring, a writer and advocate at the group Faith in Public Life. Now “the air is starting to clear,” he said.

“Pope Francis is rescuing the Catholic Church from those grim-faced watchdogs of orthodoxy who in windowless rooms reduce Catholicism to a laundry list of nos,” Gehring said.

- CNN Religion Editor

Filed under: Belief • Catholic Church • Culture wars • Faith • Gay marriage • Pope Francis

soundoff (1,798 Responses)
  1. Serge Crespy

    A lonely world for Pope Franciss ..... He should be raising a puppy, to enhance his connection with GOD...... less guidance from his speech writers.

    September 20, 2013 at 8:43 pm |
    • La di da

      His statements are his. The hyperbole is yours.

      September 20, 2013 at 8:51 pm |
  2. OhioMario

    Oh, yes. When some ardent conservatives see something in the press they don't like, they blame it on liberals and the liberal media. The average American is not that stupid. I'm an atheist but I like this new pope.

    September 20, 2013 at 8:42 pm |
    • Mark

      At least 50% are stupid!

      September 20, 2013 at 9:58 pm |
  3. Qwen

    I am not a Catholic, but I am starting to like this Pope. I think he makes sense.

    September 20, 2013 at 8:40 pm |
    • El Pibe

      Those rapping children make sense to you as well??

      September 20, 2013 at 8:43 pm |
      • Ken Uck

        Boring comment, and oh so predictable. Yawn.

        September 20, 2013 at 8:48 pm |
  4. dee2134SDFGERTYERTY

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-_ETt8uJSgU

    COMO FABRICAR CEREBROS PARA VENDER.

    ENVIAMOS UNA ORDEN DE COMPRA PER DICEN QUE TIENEN QUE SER POR LO MENOS 500.000 HIPOTALAMOS PARA COMPRAR.

    PEREGUNTAMOS SI ASEGURABAN EL PEDIDO Y NOS DIJERON QUE CON NANOTECNOLOGIA O NANO COMPUTADORAS TODO ES POSIBLE.

    PERO HABIA UN PROBLEA POR QUE LOS PRODUCTOS TIENAN QUE PASAR POR EUROPA INCLUYENDO INGLATERRA, ITALIA, ESPAÑA, Y CANADA.

    QUE LUEGO DE INMPUESTOS PODIAMOS VENDER EL PRODUCTO.

    September 20, 2013 at 8:39 pm |
  5. dee2134SDFGERTYERTY

    COMO FABRICAR CEREBROS PARA VENDER.

    ENVIAMOS UNA ORDEN DE COMPRA PER DICEN QUE TIENEN QUE SER POR LO MENOS 500.000 HIPOTALAMOS PARA COMPRAR.

    PEREGUNTAMOS SI ASEGURABAN EL PEDIDO Y NOS DIJERON QUE CON NANOTECNOLOGIA O NANO COMPUTADORAS TODO ES POSIBLE.

    PERO HABIA UN PROBLEA POR QUE LOS PRODUCTOS TIENAN QUE PASAR POR EUROPA INCLUYENDO INGLATERRA, ITALIA, ESPAÑA, Y CANADA.

    QUE LUEGO DE IMPUESTOS PODIAMOS VENDER EL PRODUCTO.

    RRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRpgiorg.weebly.comRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR

    RRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRpgirog.blog.comRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR

    September 20, 2013 at 8:36 pm |
    • El Pibe

      QUE TE JODAS PUTO!!

      September 20, 2013 at 8:39 pm |
    • Qwen

      I am not sure how selling of brains and nano technology relates to this article.

      September 20, 2013 at 8:53 pm |
  6. Jessica Christ

    It's all about control. Just like the extreme RW of any power group, from God-ists to politicians, they maintain their power through fomenting fear and hatred of "The Other". It scares the "heck" out of the Controllers to think a great source of MONEY might be diminished if a leader, pope, politician says they spend too much time hating and not helping.
    Imagine if Boehner or McConnell said We spend too much time hating Gays & women, and trying to stop abortion & birth control. RW heaads would explode all over the airwaves. RW Catholics like many others are only in it for the money & control.
    Remember, the two groups Jesus railed about the MOST were Religious Hypocrites & the Rich.

    September 20, 2013 at 8:36 pm |
  7. dee2134SDFG

    COMO FABRICAR CEREBROS PARA VENDER.

    ENVIAMOS UNA ORDEN DE COMPRA PER DICEN QUE TIENEN QUE SER POR LO MENOS 500.000 HIPOTALAMOS PARA COMPRAR.

    PEREGUNTAMOS SI ASEGURABAN EL PEDIDO Y NOS DIJERON QUE CON NANOTECNOLOGIA O NANO COMPUTADORAS TODO ES POSIBLE.

    PERO HABIA UN PROBLEA POR QUE LOS PRODUCTOS TIENAN QUE PASAR POR EUROPA INCLUYENDO INGLATERRA, ITALIA, ESPAÑA, Y CANADA.

    QUE LUEGO DE INMPUESTOS PODIAMOS VENDER EL PRODUCTO.

    September 20, 2013 at 8:33 pm |
    • DEL VATICANO

      VENDE CEREBROS A NOSOTROS...TENEMOS FALTA DE CEREBROS AQUI...HAY MAS NINOS QUE CEREBREOS!

      September 20, 2013 at 8:37 pm |
  8. Whodidwhat?

    OKAY, a stumper for all the "believers" on here...

    It is common knowledge to everyone that previous gods like Horus for eg. were the basis for much of Christianity. (Horus was born to a virgin, killed then resurrected, then traveled the lands performing miracles with 12 disciples etc)

    SO.

    The "word of god" is plagiarized!!! My moral standards wouldn't allow for that, but your god's do??

    Maybe god is in hell for stealing?

    September 20, 2013 at 8:33 pm |
    • Angel

      wow, never looked at it quite like that before 🙂

      God is in hell for plagiarizing his own holy book.

      Fascinating. Might explain why he is so hard to find?

      September 20, 2013 at 8:41 pm |
    • Check your Facts.

      http://www.patheos.com/blogs/exploringourmatrix/2012/06/better-atheist-fact-checking.html

      You are wrong about Horus.

      September 20, 2013 at 8:49 pm |
      • Angel

        strange site, but a tad misleading in areas. Try read the "best" comment by C.J. O'Brien ... clears some of your misunderstandings up...

        No soul, no god, no afterlife.

        Just read that on here today, a good mantra to live a better life by!

        September 20, 2013 at 9:05 pm |
        • Check your Facts.

          That "Best" comment got 2 votes!!! Wooooooooowwww!

          http://www.straightdope.com/columns/read/3054/was-jesus-copied-from-the-egyptian-god-horus

          September 20, 2013 at 9:14 pm |
    • Ken Uck

      Complete nonsense. No-one who knows anything about the subject seriously accepts the Horus comparison. "Common knowledge" indeed.

      September 20, 2013 at 8:54 pm |
    • berryrat

      Should I arrive at the gates of heaven, the first thing I'll ask is: Is Hell real? If the answer is yes, then I'll have to give someone else my ticket. I can't rest blissfully in paradise while others are burning.

      September 20, 2013 at 8:56 pm |
    • Live4Him

      Please identify and quote the earliest extant manuscript that Horus was born of a virgin?

      The silence is telling.

      September 20, 2013 at 9:23 pm |
      • Check your Facts.

        http://www.LooneyAtheistTheories.com/Horus

        🙂 not real

        September 20, 2013 at 9:30 pm |
        • Live4Him

          There is evidence, but it post-dates Jesus' crucifixion. All pagan religions copy-cat other religions – including the Egyptians.

          September 20, 2013 at 9:33 pm |
      • Just the Facts Ma'am...

        The Metternich Stela is a magico-medical stele that is part of the Egyptian Collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City. It dates to the thirtieth dynasty of Egypt around 380-342 B.C. during the reign of Nectanebo II. Most of the Stela has inscriptions that describe stories such as the ones in relation to being poisoned and spells to be cured. The most famous is the story of Isis and the Seven Scorpions. The story takes up the majority of the stela and is most referenced when it came to ailments dealing with poisons but also includes the story of the birth of Horus.

        September 20, 2013 at 9:36 pm |
        • Live4Him

          And it says WHAT? Care to quote it?

          September 20, 2013 at 9:39 pm |
        • Live4Him

          http://www.metmuseum.org/Collections/search-the-collections/546037

          On the stela Isis speaks and recounts that while she and Horus were still hiding in the marshes, the child became ill. In her despair, she cried for help to the "Boat of Eternity" (the sun boat in which the god travels over the sky), "and the sun disk stopped opposite her and did not move from his place." Thoth was sent from the sun boat to help Isis and cured Horus by reciting a catalogue of spells. The spells always ended with the phrase "and the protection of the afflicted as well," indicating that by using these spells, any type of affliction in human beings would be healed.

          NOTHING about a virgin birth.

          September 20, 2013 at 9:47 pm |
        • Jeff

          Jeez, Liver, you're still a giant bore.

          September 20, 2013 at 10:42 pm |
  9. Frank

    How do we know that Jesus wasn't the devil in disguise sent to lead men astray??? How can you take that chance? Your soul is a terrible price to pay for your mistake. If you're wrong, then you just followed the devil and will burn in hell. If I'm wrong, then I'll just repent and my soul will be saved. Please don't respond with quotes from the devil/bible.

    September 20, 2013 at 8:32 pm |
    • a reasonable atheist

      mind = blown

      September 20, 2013 at 11:19 pm |
  10. Bill

    Blah, blah, blah.

    Francis pointed out the way forward for them in this world.

    They are too blinded by their hate to see it.

    I feel rather sorry for Francis to have to lead a group of narrow minded bigots. He deserves better.

    September 20, 2013 at 8:31 pm |
  11. Wes

    The truth of the matter is, the church is a business like any other, and the Pope knows that the world is becoming more liberal and if the church doesn't start to think differently the business will fail. Benedict basically got fired because he was too conservative, Francis is as liberal as a Pope can get, look at his history of what he has stood for in the past. This is the first step to the Church trying to distance themselves from the ultra conservatives.

    September 20, 2013 at 8:31 pm |
    • dikelmm1

      Bingo.

      September 20, 2013 at 8:49 pm |
    • Just the Facts Ma'am...

      Aye, he is a savvy salesman working the angles on additional market areas.

      September 20, 2013 at 9:06 pm |
  12. eleanor fitzgerald

    I think Pope Francis is right when he cautions not to be too quick to judge others lest you be judged. The Pope is focusing on broader human and spiritual concerns.

    September 20, 2013 at 8:30 pm |
  13. HotAirAce

    Conservatives disturbed – all you need to know!

    September 20, 2013 at 8:28 pm |
  14. Westside87

    He's a Jesuit, what did people expect. The Jesuits have always been barely Catholic.

    September 20, 2013 at 8:28 pm |
  15. Concrete

    Of course they are 'disturbed'. It means the other kids get to use the clubhouse and there is no room for their hate.

    September 20, 2013 at 8:26 pm |
  16. Kathryn

    Amen
    Very well said

    September 20, 2013 at 8:25 pm |
  17. Sue Ellen

    ...when the quake knocks the REDEEMER over, this guy is going to be even more interesting...

    September 20, 2013 at 8:25 pm |
  18. Someguysarerude

    Wow. The conservatives are surely as nutty about religion as they are about politics. Bill Donohue clearly can't separate gays from pedophiles. So conservatives are actually AS SCREWED UP as I have suspected for years!

    That's it. No mercy from now on. Especially with this f-ed up anti-ACA vote.
    You conservative f-heads might as well form up in the southern states. You're making war.

    September 20, 2013 at 8:24 pm |
    • shamgar50

      We've got way too many in the South. Put them on a rudderless raft in the ocean.

      September 20, 2013 at 8:27 pm |
  19. Steven Brooks

    Bill Donohue is a troll of the lowest order.

    September 20, 2013 at 8:23 pm |
  20. adoptedusa

    This is one progressive Pope. Bravo!

    September 20, 2013 at 8:22 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29
Advertisement
About this blog

The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.