Bringing a new look to the age old rhetorical question “Is the Pope Catholic?”, the new boss at the Vatican seems to be single handedly wrenching the Catholic Church into the 21st Century. From National Catholic Reporter:
…He took questions from reporters traveling aboard the papal plane for a full hour and twenty-one minutes, with no filters or limits and nothing off the record. Francis stood for the entire time, answering without notes, and never refusing to take a question. The final query was a especially delicate one, about charges of homosexual conduct against his recently appointed delegate to reform the Vatican bank, and not only did Francis answer but he actually thanked reporters for the question.
On background, officials said the decision to hold the news conference aboard the 12-hour flight from Rio de Janeiro to Rome was a personal decision by Francis, and that aides at one point had actually counseled him against it.
Not since John Paul II, prior to the debilitating effects of his illness, has a pope engaged in such a free-wheeling and spontaneous exchange with the press. Francis spoke in Italian and Spanish, the languages in which his comfort level is the greatest.
Among other points, Pope Francis:
- When asked about the Vatican’s alleged “gay lobby,” replied that while a lobby might be an issue, he doesn’t have any problem with the inclination to homosexuality itself: “Who am I to judge them if they’re seeking the Lord in good faith?” he said.
- Conceded he doesn’t yet know what to do about the Vatican bank – saying it could become an ethical bank, an assistance fund for good causes, or be closed altogether.
- Said he hasn’t run into significant resistance to reform inside the Vatican, and joked that if there really is a “gay lobby” he hasn’t yet seen it stamped on anyone’s ID cards.
[continues at National Catholic Reporter]