Martin: Pope has opened a path for change
on 21/09/2013 00:00:00
Archbishop Martin said Pope Francis, who described himself as a "sinner" had "opened a path for change".
"I find it very challenging... it takes us out of the categories we're coming from. It's a way of thinking which will actually be very hard for the right and left to accept. We had come into a kind of black and white. I'd be worried if people said 'all the teaching of the Church was now given up, we go where we like'. The Pope is saying a very different thing centred on the person and not on the doctrine."
In the interview, Pope Francis said the future of the Church lay in it opening its doors to all. He also said that most of all, the Church needs "the ability to heal wounds and to warm the hearts of the faithful".
He also warned about Catholicism only focussing on its opposition to abortion, contraception, and homosexuality and said "the role of women in the Church" must be investigated further.
"The Church sometimes has locked itself up in small things, in small-minded rules. The most important thing is the first proclamation: Jesus Christ has saved you. And the ministers of the Church must be ministers of mercy above all," he said.
Redemptorist priest Tony Flannery, who has been taken out of ministry by the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith, described the speech as "quite extraordinary". He said the Pope appeared to remove the Roman curia's role in Church discipline and instead hand this responsibility to local churches. "My case is back in the hand of the Redemptorists and this makes me very hopeful of a quick resolution of my situation," he said.
However, the Pope said "changes and reforms" cannot take place in a short time.
"I believe that we always need time to lay the foundations for real, effective change. We have to find a new balance; otherwise even the moral edifice of the Church is likely to fall like a house of cards, losing the freshness and fragrance of the Gospel. The proposal of the Gospel must be more simple, profound, radiant. It is from this proposition that the moral consequences then flow".
He reached out to the millions who have left the Church.
"Let us try also to be a Church that finds new roads, that is able to step outside itself and go to those who do not attend Mass, to those who have quit or are indifferent. The ones who quit sometimes do it for reasons that, if properly understood and assessed, can lead to a return. But that takes audacity and courage."