The first Jesuit pope, the first pope to replace a sitting pope in 600 years, the first pope from the "New World," Pope Francis has been raising eyebrows and spirits of progressives and the blood pressure of stalwart Catholics with his recent interviews and public statements.
The first, a sprawling 11,000 words, was published in "America Magazine" and made headlines across the world. It called the church "obsessed" with hot button issues like abortion, sexual mores, and forgetting the core mission of service and evangelizing.
The second interview came out last week in "la Repubblica," an Italian publication historically critical of the church, and while much of the specific language has been challenged by the church's public relations wing, the content reaffirmed much of what was in the first and in the words of some outlets it "rocks" the church, re-evisioning the church horizontally instead of hierarchically, reaffirming his disdain for the isolationist nature of the Vatican's Curia.
“The real trouble is that those most affected by (narcissism) — which is actually a kind of mental disorder — are people who have a lot of power. Often bosses are narcissists… Heads of the Church have often been narcissists, flattered and thrilled by their courtiers. The court is the leprosy of the papacy.”
But is it all projection? Pope Francis has made no doctrinal changes -- the dogma remains the dogma. What can we glean from these interviews as we enter the second half the pope's first year?
Joining us to talk about this are Rev. Jean-Pierre Ruiz, a professor at St. John's University. Ruiz also sits on the editorial boards of the "Journal of Hispanic / Latino Theology" and "Journal of American Academy of Religion," among others. We are also joined by Kean University professor and church historian Christopher Bellitto.
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