EWTN Catholic Q&A
Pope Francis's interview
Question from K.O. on 09-19-2013:

Tell us, what exactly does Pope Francis mean to say? It sounds as if he thinks we should now embrace the gay lifestyle and look the other way at abortion if we want to continue to be united as a Church! I can say with certainty that I will be the first to leave if this is what our religion has become. Please tell me I have misunderstood!

Answer by Catholic Answers on 09-19-2013:


If you have relied solely on reports of what Pope Francis said, you might have misunderstood. I encourage you to read the full interview before reaching any conclusions about Pope Francis's remarks. It is important to read the Pope's words in their own context, rather than as shaped by people reporting on his words.

I do want to urge you though to reconsider your own statement that "I can say with certainty that I will be the first to leave if this is what our religion has become." What Pope Francis said or did not say is irrelevant in comparison to this misunderstanding of what it means to be Catholic. As lay apologist Frank Sheed once observed:

We are not baptized into the hierarchy; do not receive the cardinals sacramentally; will not spend an eternity in the beatific vision of the pope. Christ is the point. I, myself, admire the present pope, but even if I criticized him as harshly as some do, even if his successor proved to be as bad as some of those who have gone before, even if I find the Church, as I have to live with it, a pain in the neck, I should still say that nothing that a pope (or a priest) could do or say would make me wish to leave the Church, although I might well wish that they would leave.

Leaving the Church because you disagree with something a pope said in an interview would be like jumping overboard because you disagree with how a ship's captain is steering the ship.

Michelle Arnold
Catholic Answers