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Pope Francis on Gay Marriage, Unmarried Mothers ... and Journalists

The Guardian
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March 14, 2013
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Pope Francis I, born Jorge Mario Bergoglio, has been elected at the Vatican on Wednesday as the 266th pope, and is widely regarded as a surprise selection. The 76-year-old son of a railway worker becomes the first pope to be chosen from outside Europe for more than a millennium, and the very first from Latin America. (The Guardian)

The Argentinian pope has made strident comments about the church's problems – and has come in for some fierce criticism.

On need for the church to evangelise:

"We need to avoid the spiritual sickness of a church that is wrapped up in its own world: when a church becomes like this, it grows sick. It is true that going out on to the street implies the risk of accidents happening, as they would to any ordinary man or woman. But if the church stays wrapped up in itself, it will age. And if I had to choose between a wounded church that goes out on to the streets and a sick, withdrawn church, I would definitely choose the first one."

On using technology:

"We also try to reach out to people who are far away, via digital means, the web and brief messaging."

On unmarried mothers:

"In our ecclesiastical region there are priests who don't baptise the children of single mothers because they weren't conceived in the sanctity of marriage. These are today's hypocrites. Those who clericalise the church. Those who separate the people of God from salvation. And this poor girl who, rather than returning the child to sender, had the courage to carry it into the world, must wander from parish to parish so that it's baptised!"

On vanity:

"An example I often use to illustrate the reality of vanity, is this: look at the peacock; it's beautiful if you look at it from the front. But if you look at it from behind, you discover the truth … Whoever gives in to such self-absorbed vanity has huge misery hiding inside them."

On the Roman curia, the governing body of the Catholic church:

"I see it as a body that gives service, a body that helps me and serves me. Sometimes negative news does come out, but it is often exaggerated and manipulated to spread scandal. Journalists sometimes risk becoming ill from coprophilia and thus fomenting coprophagia: which is a sin that taints all men and women, that is, the tendency to focus on the negative rather than the positive aspects."

On the Argentinian government's support for a gay marriage bill:

"Let's not be naive: this isn't a simple political fight, it's an attempt to destroy God's plan."

What they say about him:

Bergoglio's authorised biographer, Sergio Rubin: "Is Bergoglio a progressive – a liberation theologist even? No. He's no third-world priest."

Estela de la Cuadra, aunt of one of Argentina's stolen babies, whose mother Alicia co-founded the Grandmothers of the Plaza de Mayo: "Bergoglio has a very cowardly attitude when it comes to something so terrible as the theft of babies. He says he didn't know anything about it until 1985. He doesn't face this reality and it doesn't bother him. The question is how to save his name, save himself. But he can't keep these allegations from reaching the public. The people know how he is."

The quote about gay marriage is from a letter he wrote days before the bill was approved. The quote about unmarried mothers is from here. The comment by Estela de la Cuadra is from here.

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