For whatever reason, Francis seems to think that the past few decades have been marked by a dogmatic rigidity that is as merciless as it is obsessed with the fine details of law, causing countless innocent or near innocent Catholics to flee a Church that they perceive to be cold and heartless. That perspective is, to put it nicely, dubious and problematic. The impression often given, unfortunately, is that any emphasis on objective moral standards regarding actions and relationships is bound to quickly degenerate into a harsh and uncharitable condemnation
and I love this:
But here's the rub: lack of clarity and cohesion in language indicates a lack of clarity and cohesion in thought. Lack of clarity and cohesion on a nearly weekly basis is, frankly, troublesome.
Sure, gaffes are highlighted and emphasized to a ridiculous degree in this day and age, what with the internet and social media and such, but most sane folks can understand and handle an occasion "gaffe". Yet when "gaffes" become a pattern, and the pattern becomes the norm, we are no longer talking about gaffes, are we?
We live in a unique time, when the words of the Holy Father are available within minutes or hours of being uttered. The amount of words being uttered is quite large; the amount of confusion within various interviews and "off-the-cuff" remarks is significant. The usual suspects use said confusion, ambiguities, and questionable statements for their own ends. In order to defend and clarify Church teaching, one sometimes has to point out that Francis is either ambiguous or unclear about this or that. And, occasionally, he appears to be completely wrong. So, what to do?
The pope's main work is to defend and define when necessarily, while upholding the teachings of the Church. My job, as a lay Catholic, is to be true to the teachings of Christ and of his Church, and if a pope isn't clear about, say, the nature of marriage, or certain moral teachings, I have a right and responsibility to respectfully point it out. I refuse to be an ultramontanist. The other problem, compounding maters further, is that John Paul II and Benedict XVI were not only quite brilliant, they were remarkably clear and consistent. Francis is often neither. Fine—but we're used to some clarity and consistently. And, at some level, we should be getting it.
And I will say, while many of us are not 'calling for' the Pope's 'resignation', we would be relieved and welcome his retirement.