Pres. Obama praises Pope Francis for shaking off “obsession”

From Reuters:

Obama welcomes Pope Francis’ remarks on gays, abortion
Wed, Oct 02 17:03 PM EDT

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Barack Obama on Wednesday welcomed Pope Francis’ recent remarks that the Catholic Church must shake off [blech]an obsession with teachings on abortion, contraception and homosexuals, saying the pontiff was showing incredible humility.

“I tell you, I have been hugely impressed with the pope’s pronouncements,” Obama said in a CNBC interview.

Obama has worked to expand gay rights as president and last year backed same-sex marriage. He also supports the use of contraception and a woman’s right to an abortion.

Pope Francis told the Italian Jesuit Journal last month that the Church had “locked itself up in small things” by its obsession with abortion, contraception and homosexuality.

Obama said the pope seemed to be someone who “lives out the teachings of Christ” and shows “incredible humility” toward the poor.

“That’s a quality I admire,” said Obama, who has yet to meet the new pope.

Listening to Pres. Obama speak about the teachings of Christ makes me want to seek a hazmat shower.

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51 Responses to Pres. Obama praises Pope Francis for shaking off “obsession”

  1. CharlesG says:

    Oh, boy! Just as I had started to calm down about the atheist Repubblica interview, now this! Practically speaking, is the Pope really reaching out to show the love of Christ to the unchurched, or is he just providing ammunition for the enemies of the Church within and without to fire broadsides at Church teachings? Hang on to your rosaries, folks, it’s going to be a bumpy ride! I have to trust in the promises of Our Lord to Peter about the gates of hell, because I sure have no trust in men or princes.

  2. Priam1184 says:

    Lol that’s rich. Thanks for the laugh Father.

  3. mburn16 says:

    Vomit.

    Perhaps it would be a good exercise for either Cardinal Dolan or Cardinal Burke to issue a not-so-subtle reminder to the President that Francis also reaffirmed [again] the church’s teachings on these issues…

    In any case, perhaps this is a good thing. The more the liberal and secular elements of society display a clear (and perhaps willful) misinterpretation of what Francis said, perhaps the less likely the Holy Father will be to speak so casually in the future without explaining what he means.

  4. donato2 says:

    This is what Pope Francis has wrought. The “conventional wisdom” is now that the Catholic Church, under Pope Francis, has given a green light to those who champion legalized abortion and “gay marriage” and that when it comes to abortion and marriage the Church will, at least, look the other way. His interviews are being used almost exclusively to promote this conventional wisdom so as to weaken, substantially, the pro-life movement. Pope Francis knows it and doesn’t care. Call me bitter because I am.

  5. SpittleFleckedNutty says:

    George Bernard Shaw gave us The Chesterbelloc. Could this be the birth of The Bergobliamba?

  6. “hugely” . . . only Obama would come up with that being an amateur himself. I don’t think Pope Francis or those near him realize what irreversible damage he has actually done with his ill-tempered words.

    Here is the timeline:
    July 25
    Pope Francis’ closing remarks at World Youth Day in Brazil at the impromptu July 25 meeting, in the Cathedral of San Sebastian, Francis told the youth: “I want to tell you something. What is it that I expect as a consequence of World Youth Day? I want a mess. We knew that in Rio there would be great disorder, but I want trouble in the dioceses!” he said, speaking off the cuff in his native Spanish. “I want to see the church get closer to the people. I want to get rid of clericalism, the mundane, this closing ourselves off within ourselves, in our parishes, schools or structures. Because these need to get out!”

    July 26 this report comes in:
    Santiago, Chile, Jul 26, 2013 / 04:31 pm (CNA).- Abortion activists interrupted Mass at the Cathedral of the Chilean capital Santiago the evening of July 25, destroying confessionals and defaming several side altars with blasphemous graffiti. http://www.catholicnewsagency.com/news/abortion-rights-activists-vandalize-cathedral-in-chile/

    . . . make trouble in the dioceses, make a mess . . . speedy delivery.

    Now Pope Francis makes remarks about gays and abortion then we get every news outlet, basically quoting him and saying Francis is OK with these. Francis really needs to EXPLAIN the position with greater clarity and forthrightness instead of these titillating remarks that splash across headlines to draw stark attention to him and the Church . . . in an unflattering way.

  7. John654 says:

    So my adoration hour was tonight and I had planned on giving Jesus an earful as per my prior comments on Pope Francis’ interview comments. I think Mother Mary calmed me down a bit, but I did layout my frustrations with the Lord. He listened and then he got me to pick up a book in the adoration chapel from St. Josemaria Escriva called Furrow, I’ve never looked at it before. I flipped it open randomly to paragraph #360.

    Although it seems a paradox, those who call themselves sons of the Church may often be precisely those who sow greater confusion.

    Thank you for helping me tonight Jesus. While nothing is resolved or fixed as it concerns the Pope’s current interview fetish. I felt the Lord listened to me tonight. Now I need to listen more to Him.

  8. av8er says:

    John654, as I’ve heard said, that is no coincidence. It’s a God-incidence.

  9. Patrick-K says:

    Does anyone really care what Obama says? Aside from the “Organizing for Action” true believers, I mean. Why is this worthy of a post? Even on the left no one really reads what Obama says intending to discover some pearl of wisdom. He is a functionary, not a thinker — even the left would admit that. His “thoughts” are always strictly calibrated to political expediency, as so too in this case. In other words, you’d be just as likely to get some insight on Pope Francis from listening to your dog as from listening to President Obama.

  10. anna 6 says:

    mburn16:
    “In any case, perhaps this is a good thing. The more the liberal and secular elements of society display a clear (and perhaps willful) misinterpretation of what Francis said, perhaps the less likely the Holy Father will be to speak so casually in the future without explaining what he means.”

    I hope that you are right about this. My fear is that most of the people working at the Vatican are Europeans (and now S. Americans) who tend to like Pres. Obama far more than they liked conservative American presidents. Remember all of those enthusiastic articles about him in the Osservatore Roman? Some of them might actually be getting a “thrill up their legs” now that he has endorsed what he “thinks” the Pope said. They may not comprehend how offensive this is to serious American Catholics

  11. SimonR says:

    Here is a very good article by Sandro Magister today where he discusses the lack of continuity between Francis and Popes Benedict and John Paul II:

    “The Francis Transformation”

    http://chiesa.espresso.repubblica.it/articolo/1350615?eng=y

    I am visiting Rome soon and staying in a hotel beside the Vatican. Normally the highlight is to attend the angelus on Sunday. I am so saddened by this pontificate that I am considering not attending the Angelus with Pope Francis.

  12. Bosco says:

    Sorry to repeat an earlier posting of mine…

    Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger wrote (commenting on the second temptation of Jesus in his 2004 book ‘On the Road toward Christ Jesus’ and referring directly to Soloviev’s ‘A Short Tale of the Antichrist’):

    “And a phrase of Soloviev’s is illuminating: The Antichrist believes in God, but in the depths of his heart he prefers himself.”

  13. jflare says:

    Well, since I’m already well acquainted with how the “developed world”, the West in particular, has received Francis remarks, does anyone know how people are reacting elsewhere around the world?
    Look, I’m not thrilled with Francis’ apparent willingness to give interviews, especially when he offers such comments that can be mis-cast so easily. On the other hand, I notice that most of those who’ve spun wild with his comments..are the usual suspects. We can expect that as soon as Francis says anything they don’t want to hear, they’ll either attack him for being an old-fashioned crank–in whatever particular way they may choose–or else they’ll simply ignore him again.
    They’ve already done the latter at least once. We can expect they’ll do the former as well.

    Cracked though it may be, at least they’re giving Catholic faith a chance to speak it’s mind in SOME way, in spite of themselves. It’s VERY annoying, but at least a few of those who take his comments with license will ultimately learn more about what he actually believes. Once that happens, there’s at least a small chance that a few of them will repent.

    In the meantime, since we know that the Church has grown most in Africa and Asia in the last few decades–or in South America, as we heard after Francis’ election–I’d be interested in knowing how our “less fortunate” brothers and sisters–and quite possibly also less worldly–have considered his comments.

  14. markomalley says:

    I actually can understand why Obama would make this statement.

    If I (God Forbid) held Obama’s views on the world and all I knew of Bergolgio was what I read in CNNNBCABCCBSMSNBCNYTWAPO, I would be relieved, as well.

    Thanks be to God that the actual Jorge Mario Bergoglio is not what has been depicted in the press.

    (And thanks for your support, Father Z, for consistently helping to clarify that fact)

  15. Bosco says:

    Ralph Martin’s recent book “Will Many Be Saved? What Vatican II Actually Teaches and Its Implications for the New Evangelization”, which I believe is available on Amazon, addresses (and effectively rebuts) the concept of ‘Universal Salvation’ of all men and it’s effect on Catholic evangelism.

    I gather the chief (although not exclusive) proponents of ‘Universal Salvation’ are/were Karl Rahner, S.J. and Hans Urs Von Balthusar, S.J.

    To my mind there are echoes of ‘Universal Salvation’ in some of Pope Francis’ observations. Maybe I’m wrong.

  16. Deo Credo says:

    I can think of nothing positive that would involve Obama complementing the pope. The sad thing is that we try so hard to “spin” the popes words to meet the expectation that he isn’t trying to change the church. “Well sure Francis said the most important thing is youth unemployment etc., but he DIDN’T say that believing and loving God wasn’t important. SEE that means he still supports the faith.” The constant apologetics for the pope is really quite asinine. The absence of affirmation is not proof of affirmation. If I say I hate Jim. That does not then imply that I love Clara. I am all for changing speech, tone, and content for communicating with different audiences but the core message needs to stay the same. I strongly feel that if Francis was truly being taken out of context he would at some point raise his hand and say so. He has alluded to being taken to task for his comments, so he obviously has some idea of the negative connotation being put to his words.

  17. Bosco says:

    If I could ask Pope Francis 1 question, I would ask:

    “Holy Father, do you believe not only that all men have been redeemed by Christ but also that all men are saved?”

    One’s outlook on abortion, homosexuality, divorce, etc. would be radically different were one to believe that everyone goes to heaven no matter their adherence to the Commandments.

  18. CharlesG says:

    @SimonR, that Sandro Magister column is sure depressing…

  19. Bosco says:

    @SimonR and CharlesG,
    Thanks for the link.
    In view of Magister’s column (chilling) I return to THE question I would put to the Pope:

    “Holy Father, do you believe not only that all men have been redeemed by Christ but also that all men are saved?”

  20. Venerator Sti Lot says:

    “Pope Francis told the Italian Jesuit Journal last month that the Church had ‘locked itself up in small things’ by its obsession with abortion, contraception and homosexuality.”

    When was it that Reuters was last a news agency? (Or have I been Rip-van-Winkling since around the Tet offensive?)

    mburn16 said, “Perhaps it would be a good exercise for either Cardinal Dolan or Cardinal Burke to issue a not-so-subtle reminder to the President that Francis also reaffirmed [again] the church’s teachings on these issues…” Indeed, and not ‘or’ but ‘and’, and rafts of those reminding would be better than two (something like an “I am Spartacus”-full of reminders).

    Patrick-K asks, “Does anyone really care what Obama says?” – a good real rather than rhetorical question to couple with anna6’s observation and jflare’s excellent line of inquiry!

    Since Mr. Obama is still occupying one of the weightiest offices of the contemporary world, perhaps the Holy Father could take the uncertain for certain and follow up, or better still, lead a Hierarchical chrorus of unmistakeable correction, himself.

  21. Shane says:

    Bosco, first off Balthasar left the Jesuits to found a secular Institute in the 1950’s. Second off, he wasn’t a proponent of universalism; he indicated it as a possibility, and wrote a book defending it as a possibility. But to call him a proponent of that is a bit far fetched.

    Anyway, to the topic: I wish the Holy Father would wise up to the fact that the only people who are gleeful over what he’s saying in these interviews are those who wish to change and distort the teaching of the Church. His invocations of Cardinal Martini in the last interview are worrisome, to put it mildly.

  22. Bosco says:

    @Shane,
    Thanks for correcting that small detail. The substantive question, however, remains.

  23. mamajen says:

    Obama will live to regret those words.

  24. iPadre says:

    President Obama should school himself in the statements of Pope Francis, before his election!

    “Let us not be naive: this is not simply a political struggle, but it is an attempt to destroy God’s plan. It is not just a bill (a mere instrument) but a ‘move’ of the father of lies who seeks to confuse and deceive the children of God.”

    “In the coming weeks, the Argentine people will face a situation whose outcome can seriously harm the family…At stake is the identity and survival of the family: father, mother and children. At stake are the lives of many children who will be discriminated against in advance, and deprived of their human development given by a father and a mother and willed by God. At stake is the total rejection of God’s law engraved in our hearts.”

  25. TNCath says:

    That’s all we need–Obama praising the Pope. In the words of Jed Clampett, “Doesn’t that take the rag off the bush?”

  26. Dennis Martin says:

    Bosco: it’s not a small detail.

    Even if it were, sometimes small details matter.

  27. Sonshine135 says:

    The more I contemplate the Pope’s words, the more I am concerned. The ambiguity and frequency of his statements are a Cafeteria Catholic’s dream. In my local church, a very liberal one, the remarks from the faithful reflect as much. One parishioner, and Fourth Degree Knight I was working a funeral with actually said that he hopes the Pope lifts the ban on Freemasonry! It took a lot of prayer for me not to go absolutely bonkers right there. That is the rub with me. Perception is reality. So, even if the reality is that the Pope is saying things that are in line with Catholic doctrine, the perception is that the Catholic Church is not necessary for salvation. The perception is that the old, stogy rules are gone. The perception is that we must stop focusing on abortion and focus on the main mission of the church- feed and take care of the poor. These are the same people who believe the Mass is a communal meal celebrating what the people participating do in the name of God and not the solemn celebration of the sacrifice of our Lord, made present in the Eucharist, for the redemption of the world. They are emboldened. Obama is emboldened by the Pope’s statements.

    …and that’s the rub.

  28. Bosco says:

    @Dennis Martin,
    Thanks. I appreciate that.

    I am compelled to confess then that having previously types “Hans Urs Von Balthusar, S.J.” I made a typographical error in my spelling of the surname. Should have been ‘Balthasar’.

    Von Balthasar was educated by the Jesuits. He was ordained a Jesuit priest in 1936. In 1950 he left the Jesuits, and founded a secular institute. Von Balthasar was then incardinated in the Diocese of Chur as a secular priest. Pope John Paul II chose Von Balthasar to be elevated as a cardinal but he (Von Balthasar) died in 1982.

    Hope that makes amends.

    Sometimes small details do matter, Dennis, and then again sometimes small details belabour a distinction without a difference. Peace.

  29. I kept giving our Holy Father the benefit of the doubt.Ignored the media knowing how they work. At this point am with the person who made the comment;”how could the cardinals elect this man?” I have tried in my heart every which way to give Pope Francis slack and believing the best about him. After this- i doubt i could attend his angelus either. There’s no other way to take what he says and put a good face on it. Thank God the gates of hell will not prevail.I will ignore any future interviews he gives. We have a wealth of worthwhile material from John Paul II and Benedict the XVI.The Church will survive in spite of him but it’s not going to be pleasant.Sorry.I’ll defend Our Holy Father when i can-but am not going to pretend everything is coming up roses anymore.

  30. pannw says:

    I find it scandalous when such an anti-Christ like Obama lavishes such praise on my Pope. Surely this will wake him up to the damage that is being done in his name. I’m worried for him, as I still believe he is a good man trying to do what is right, but it is not going well and he is in fact possibly leading others into scandal. Many, especially young who are already bombarded with messages that sexual immorality does not exist, will be deceived by those who do know better but reject the Church’s clear teaching. They will be told, “See, the Holy Father says it isn’t important to follow those obsessive rules.” This is really bad. I do not think that is what he intends, and so I really need to start praying for him and that the Holy Spirit will give him wisdom. For his sake as much as anyone elses…

    I pray he comes out and unequivocally clears things up.

  31. TimG says:

    @ SimonR, that sure is a depressing story.

    @ anyone who thinks this is “no big deal” and we should just ignore it….
    This whole situation is further misleading people like my mother / father in law who are in their 80’s. Still living in the “Democratic Party of the Past”, they voted for Obama (twice!) and they have always rationalized he’s “for the people”. We gave them a year’s subscription to the National Catholic Register as a Christmas present and they threw it away because it was always “harping about abortion.”

    They now see the MSM spin on Pope Francis’ words that we shouldn’t focus on SSM and abortion and instead it is about the poor / unemployed / elderly….which further convinces them that they were right about those “craazy right wingers”. And now along comes TFGP (always the opportunist) to add in his $0.02.

    Holy Father, can you please clarify the true teachings of the Catholic Church?

  32. TimG says:

    Correction. No clarification is needed for the teachings of the Catholic Church.

    Holy Father, can you please clarify what you are trying to say?

  33. robtbrown says:

    Von Balthasar left the SJ’s in 1950, but he wasn’t incardinated for five years. His book “Dare We Hope . . . ” is simply not very good. He raises some good questions but usually gives poor answers. He presents certain prayers as evidence of the possibility of universal salvation, but they really don’t prove his argument. And he didn’t understand the difference between Infinite Time and Eternity.

  34. av8er says:

    @pannw, precisely my feelings but written better than I could.

  35. Bosco says:

    I must have made myself unclear. (see my posts on Pope Francis and ‘Universal Salvation’). I really don’t care if Von Balthasar wrote well or not but thanks for the info. I shan’t buy any of his books.
    Neither will I buy any of Cardinal Carlo Maria Martini, S.J. or Karl Rahner S.J.’s books.

    I had observed (above) “To my mind there are echoes of ‘Universal Salvation’ in some of Pope Francis’ observations…In view of Magister’s column (chilling) I return to THE question I would put to the Pope: ‘Holy Father, do you believe not only that all men have been redeemed by Christ but also that all men are saved’?…One’s outlook on abortion, homosexuality, divorce, etc. would be radically different were one to believe that everyone goes to heaven no matter their adherence to the Commandments.”

  36. mfm123 says:

    If Øbama likes Francis, then I do not

  37. AdDeum says:

    Well, if obama is giving you an endorsement…….

  38. SMC-BC says:

    The New York Daily News printed a wonderful must-read article by Michael Coren on Pope Francis titled: Pope Francis’ revolutionary vision – Making sense of his controversial statements on abortion and gays – http://www.nydailynews.com/opinion/pope-francis-revolutionary-vision-article-1.1462955

    Read it you’ll feel better, much better. Cardinal Dolan liked it too he has it on his blog.

  39. SMC-BC says:

    The New York Daily News printed a wonderful must-read article by Michael Coren on Pope Francis titled: Pope Francis’ revolutionary vision – Making sense of his controversial statements on abortion and gays – http://www.nydailynews.com/opinion/pope-francis-revolutionary-vision-article-1.1462955

    Read it you’ll feel better, much better. Cardinal Dolan liked it too he has it on his blog.

  40. SpittleFleckedNutty says:

    Obama is merely donning the seamless garment the Holy Father has graciously knit for him.

  41. SimonR says:

    Here is the Telegraph’s latest article:

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/barackobama/10351806/Barack-Obama-hugely-impressed-by-Pope-Francis.html

    Which has these words:

    “Pope Francis told the Italian Jesuit Journal last month that the Church had “locked itself up in small things” by its obsession with abortion, contraception and homosexuality. Pope Francis succeeded Pope Benedict in March and has been lauded for his non-judgemental approach. He has said the church needs to find a “new balance”.

  42. Kathleen10 says:

    Boxerpaws, that’s it, that’s my concern too. It is not just this Pope, it is that it required the votes of how many Cardinals? A majority, anyway. I don’t believe for one second the Cardinals are out of touch, not fully aware of who they are electing, and why. So a majority of Cardinals knew about the man they were electing, and did so. What does that say about where we are. I’m not sure, but it does not reassure.
    We have had “bad” popes before. You all know church history much better than I. I’m not saying Pope Francis is a “bad” pope, but if he turned out to be, we will just have to hold our nose and proceed, hang together, pray lots, and read good materials. There is nothing else to do but wait on God.

  43. Priam1184 says:

    To everybody on this comment board who feels the need to throw a ninny fit and act like its the end of the world every time it is reported that the Holy Father says something questionable or some politician with a reprehensible record and policy views says something nice about Pope Francis: QUIT IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! You are not helping the situation, even if you are legitimate commentors (and I am starting to question that about some of you because your responses are a bit too pat) so get over it. The pope is not changing Church teaching, not in the slightest respect. Should he be giving all these interviews? Probably not, but I am not in his head and I do not know what the man is trying to achieve. What I do know is that his answers to certain questions are being manipulated and presented in an out of context fashion (almost certainly on purpose) in order to make people freak out, so don’t give in to the temptation. And to the person who said up above on the comment board that they are not going to attend the Holy Father’s Angelus when they make an upcoming visit to Rome I have only this to say: you are out of your mind! Why don’t you go to the Angelus and listen to what the pope ACTUALLY HAS TO SAY instead of reading his opinions in some interview that is designed to give you a freak out moment? Geeesh!

  44. SMC-BC says:

    The most disturbing thing I’ve heard so far came from an anti catholic who, after reading the various lefty media reports, said the election of Pope Francis proves the Church fallible.

  45. Johnno says:

    Patrick-K

    “Does anyone really care what Obama says?”

    Yes, people do. That’s a problem. He is the Pope of the liberal left and an idolized figure who is a de-facto emperor.

    ” Why is this worthy of a post?”

    To highlight the damage Pope Francis’ careless words and naievity about the modern world are producing. And why the VII vague pastorlist approach continues to fail and fail again.

    mamajen

    “Obama will live to regret those words.”

    Unfortunately so will we all, and the unborn will not live to regret anything.

    I know some people here like to see the positive side of everything, but let’s not delude ourselves to the point of not fixing what’s broken and not learning from these experiences and putting a happy face on everything.

  46. Johnno says:

    Michael Coren’s article misses the boat, and he’s usually very good.

    The problem is that the Pope NEVER explicitly says any of the things Coren has or frames it in such a way. Had he done so, none of us would have any problem.

    All the positive interpretations we have about pope Francis’ words come from Coren or Fr. Z. trying to calm people down. It shouldn’t be like this. We need to hear all thsi from Pope Francis himself! but we don’t! Pope Francis says something. Fr. Z and Coren are gleaning the rest by p[roperly framing it with actual Catholic teachings. The problem is the secular media and Obama are freely interpreting things for themselves according to their worldview.

    This vague way of speaking, in sermons and in VII has always been an issue that allows liberals free reign and has cost teh Church much. These people don’t care. You can deliver the truth gently and lovingly and still be clear about the Church’s teachings so as to prevent misinterpretation, even deliberate ones. Satan exists people! And he doesn’t play fair! Don’t underestimate him! Pope Francis certainly knows this!

  47. DisturbedMary says:

    Yes but do we know what Reggie thinks?

  48. Marcus de Alameda says:

    Vomit!

  49. netokor says:

    Lord, why didn’t you choose Cardinal Burke?

    Fiat voluntas tua…. :(

  50. Jackie L says:

    If this man ever paid me a compliment, there would have to have been a misunderstanding, or an evil agenda.

  51. i can’t seem to find the person to attribute this to,

    “I do not think that is what he intends, and so I really need to start praying for him and that the Holy Spirit will give him wisdom. For his sake as much as anyone elses…

    good advice. Yes,i had a ‘knee jerk reaction’ but it was long after giving our Holy Father much benefit of the doubt. Calmed down and taking this persons words to heart. Just as i was taken aback by the interviews; assured somewhat by his homily in Assisi. Still,wish Our Holy Father was not so anxious to give these interviews or was more cautious in his words. it doesn’t seem like he is aware of the effect they have. Maybe he needs reminded that when they proclaimed the words Habemus Papum they said,we have a Pope-not we have a Bishop. I truly love the man & thought maybe there is a reason he was chosen we have yet to see. The problem is that we’re in such a battle these days even a little ammo to the enemy is like an ICBM.At this point am back to wait and see.[ Hey netkor,I was praying for George Ganswein but figured it was not a presidential election and whoever God chose that He knew better]. Obama’s great first impression of Pope Francis was sickening but i wondered if i should lay all the blame at the feet of Pope Francis.Afterall,Obama has his own agenda and it’s not beneath him to use people’s words to suit that agenda. He definitely ignores anything else the Church has to say. Anyway,we can pray for wisdom for the Holy Father that he doesn’t send the enemy more ammo in the future. I don’t like being so angry.It may not be helpful?