I mean this in the best way possible, but this is the first time I have read something which Pope Francis has said which has resonated with me.
The quote below (from the interview) is very good, I think. I had never thought of it in that way. I think Pope Francis is right and this is what we need from our Pope: for him to explain the teachings of the Church in new ways which constantly remind us how to be a witness to Christ in our lives, whilst leading others to Him at the same time.
It is so easy to reel off the teaching of the Church without thinking about the fact that you should not call out sinful behaviour without thinking about how what you are saying is going to lead that person, who is living with no regard for the health of their soul, away from an unrepentant sinful life to the path that ultimately leads to God. The aim is to bring them to God, not to make them feel so low that they cannot raise their minds to Him!
I mention to Pope Francis that there are Christians who live in situations that are irregular for the Church or in complex situations that represent open wounds. I mention the divorced and remarried, same-sex couples and other difficult situations. What kind of pastoral work can we do in these cases? What kinds of tools can we use?
“We need to proclaim the Gospel on every street corner,” the Pope says, “preaching the good news of the kingdom and healing, even with our preaching, every kind of disease and wound. In Buenos Aires I used to receive letters from homosexual persons who are ‘socially wounded’ because they tell me that they feel like the Church has always condemned them. But the Church does not want to do this. During the return flight from Rio de Janeiro I said that if a homosexual person is of good will and is in search of God, I am no one to judge. By saying this, I said what the catechism says. Religion has the right to express its opinion in the service of the people, but God in creation has set us free: it is not possible to interfere spiritually in the life of a person.
“A person once asked me, in a provocative manner, if I approved of homosexuality. I replied with another question: ‘Tell me: when God looks at a gay person, does He endorse the existence of this person with love, or reject and condemn this person?’ We must always consider the person. Here we enter into the mystery of the human being. In life, God accompanies persons, and we must accompany them, starting from their situation. It is necessary to accompany them with mercy.