This is actually a decent article in which Cardinal O'Malley makes several salient points.
But he cautions that those with high expectations that the shift in tone presages major changes in church teachings on contraception, abortion, homosexuality, and other flashpoint issues are likely to be disappointed.
“I don’t see the pope as changing doctrine,’’ O’Malley said in an interview with the Globe, though he said the pontiff’s focus on compassion and mercy over doctrinal purity has reverberated powerfully throughout the church.
The Roman Catholic archbishop of Boston and the closest American adviser to the popular new pontiff, O’Malley said says it would also be unrealistic to expect the church to consider allowing divorced and remarried Catholics to receive the sacraments, even though Francis himself once appeared to signal openness to the idea.
“The church needs to be faithful to the Gospel and to Christ’s teaching,” O’Malley said. “Sometimes that’s very difficult. We have to follow what Christ wants, and trust that what he asks of us is the best thing.”
Kudos to the Cardinal even set boundaries around the interview, leaving the Boston Globe without an avenue to exploit a local hoo-ha where a potential employee declined to consent to code of conduct at a Catholic school.
Readers will find it no surprise that I disagree with the below statement:
The cardinal said Francis’ early stress has been on changing the emphasis of the church, which in the past has been “too strident, maybe too repetitious.”
Given that the Cardinal himself has said Catholics never hear the teaching on contraception or the moral teachings of the Church on human sexuality, perhaps that comment was taken out of context?
This quote even was funny:
German bishops last week released their response to the Vatican, a remarkably blunt assessment asserting that most German Catholics reject the church’s views on sexual morality and view its position on homosexuality as discrimination. (The US bishops declined to release their reply.)
Asserting it was already well known know that some Catholics break with the church on these issues, O’Malley said, “I don’t think that’s a stunning revelation. You could have saved some postage if that’s the only thing you got out of it.”
Here's some substance to think about:
Outside the doctrinal realm, O’Malley seemed to signal the possibility of breakthroughs on two other fronts: women in the church, and the practice of granting annulments, meaning a church declaration that a marriage is dissolved — that, technically, the marriage never existed in the first place.
O’Malley said it is at least possible Francis might name a woman to serve as the head of a major decision-making department in the Vatican, such as a hypothetical new “Congregation for the Laity.” Some theologians believe that only clerics can exercise power in the name of the pope.
Lots of people are without the tools to make right judgments.
Many of us know families whose marriage is not accepted by the Church.
I personally know at least a handful of people who would love to return to Christ's Church, who for one reason or another - the unwillingness of a former spouse of their spouse to participate in the canonical process, they didn't or couldn't go through with it.
I would imagine a change in status of these marriages would involve some sort of formal process that includes catechesis and the Sacrament of Confession. One would hope - anyway.
I'm not saying I'd be happy about the lack of accountability on making judgments about marriage. But would love to see a so many alienated friends and family be united back unto Christ.