If Janet E. Smith can admit it, then I can too.
Dr. Smith writes about what the Holy Father had to say in his 'big interview':
A few passages from Pope Francis’ famous interview published in America have unsettled some people for many reasons. My reason for being unsettled is that it would not be a complete distortion to say that I have been “obsessed” with the issues of abortion, contraception, and homosexuality for nearly all of my professional life. I prefer the terms “dedicated” or “committed,” of course, but whatever word is appropriate, I have long thought that helping people understand why abortion, contraception, and homosexual acts are not in accord with God’s plans for human happiness is a very effective way of drawing people closer to the Lord and to the Church, and thus, more or less, most of my adult life, I have been evangelizing in this way. - First ThingsYeah. Me too. Kind of, sort of.
First, I'm not sure the Pope meant 'obsessed' in the same way obsessed people understood it. Yet who am I to argue how people understand things? I wasn't unsettled - I didn't think he was changing Church teaching - nor did Dr. Smith for that matter - but I accepted that the Holy Father was calling for a change in tone. I've been through all of that already. As Fr. Z pointed out last week, Pope Benedict said pretty much the same things as Francis at one time or another:
“I remember, when I used go to Germany in the 1980s and ’90s, that I was asked to give interviews and I always knew the questions in advance. They concerned the ordination of women, contraception, abortion and other such constantly recurring problems. If we let ourselves be drawn into these discussions, the Church is then identified with certain commandments or prohibitions; we give the impression that we are moralists with a few somewhat antiquated convictions, and not even a hint of the true greatness of the faith appears. I therefore consider it essential always to highlight the greatness of our faith – a commitment from which we must not allow such situations to divert us. ” – Address of his Holiness Benedict XVI – Thursday, 9 November 2006
Remember when Benedict was on a plane and he was speaking to reporters and the subject of homosexuality came up and he said, "I don't want to get into that now" - as if implying he would speak about it later. A commenter on my blog suggested Pope Benedict would have something new to say on the issue, perhaps liberalizing Church teaching. I pointed out the Holy Father already said what he could on the matter, since he authored the documents from the CDF which entail Church teaching - beyond that of the Catechism, BTW. The Popes cannot change Church teaching or natural law. I'm guessing that's what Pope Francis meant when he said, "Church teaching is clear on these matters."
So anyway. The Janet Smith article is worth reading - it is also nice to know she is not ashamed of the Gospel and being a little obsessed - or as she put it, “dedicated” or “committed”. I trust Pope Francis could find nothing wrong with that.
In this country, and especially online, many pro-choice/pro-gay/anti-doctrinal voices often resort to accusations that Catholics are 'obsessed', one issue fanatics, and that the Church is always ranting on about sexual morality. They do this as a means to intimidate or dismiss anyone faithful to Catholic teaching. This might also explain why many 'workers in the vineyard' were dismayed by the Pope's choice of words, and misinterpreted what he said. Either way, the secular accusations of being 'obsessed' are not a little disingenuous, considering how the world, pop-culture and media is sex-saturated. Society in general is pretty obsessed with sex.
Hence, the Church needs to be very active "helping people understand why abortion, contraception, and homosexual acts are not in accord with God’s plans for human happiness".
The Pope knows that.
So anyway - I'm willing to admit I may be a bit 'obsessed' as well. I've struggled with issues related to sexuality since childhood... since my neighbor put his...
I think it is safe to say that pro-gay blogs and commenters are even more obsessed than they accuse me of being. Likewise, there seem to be more of them. Writing about queer stuff incessantly.