Pope Francis’ statement must not be taken out-of-context, bishop says

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MANILA, Sept. 30, 2013—Pope Francis’ stance on abortion, contraception, and homosexuality must not be taken out-of-context as it only promotes a more pastoral means in approaching the conventions of the church, a Catholic prelate said on Saturday.

Manila Auxiliary Bishop Broderick Pabillo said that there was nothing controversial with the statements of the Supreme Pontiff as he was only urging heralds of the church to be grounded more on love and understanding in relating to the faithful.

“There is nothing controversial about the Pope’s interview. If we will look at its text, his message is the same (with the stance of the church), although he was more pastoral with his approach,” he said.

“He is just grounding his teachings closer to the people but it remains the same with the teaching of the church,” he added.

In his interview with the Italian Jesuit journal La Civiltà Cattolica, Pope Francis said the Church’s “pastoral ministry cannot be obsessed with the transmission of a disjointed multitude of doctrines to be imposed insistently,” noting that if it will not be more understanding to the needs of the people, “the moral edifice of the Church is likely to fall like a house of cards.”

Pabillo said that some individuals are just misinterpreting the message of the Pope, leading to the impression that his statements were contrary to church dogmas.

“What is controversial in here is the manner on how the Pontiff’s statements were interpreted by the people,” he said.

“He is just encouraging us to go on our way and make an effort to understand the people (while being more pastoral in our approach),” Pabillo added.

Love demands responsibility 

For his part, Fr. Anton C.T. Pascual, executive director of Caritas Manila and president of church-run Radio Veritas, said that the faithful must look at the full context of the Pope’s message before jumping into conclusions.

“The Pope’s statement does not contradict the church’s teachings on contraception, homosexuality, same-sex marriage, and reproductive health,” he said.

“The church has its opposition to certain acts but we are not against homosexuals. What we are against are homosexual acts. We are not against freedom, but freedom always has (a basic demand) of responsibility,” he added. (Jennifer Orillaza)

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