QUOTE TO NOTE: Pope Francis on Respecting Consciences

Addressing new bishops in September, Pope Francis invited them to be more respectful of people’s consciences and address people’s concrete realities rather than just pontificating theory at them. He told those gathered, as quoted in the National Catholic Reporter:

“We must force ourselves to grow into an inclusive and incarnate discernment, which dialogues with the consciences of the faithful — that are to be formed and not replaced in a process of patient and courageous accompaniment. . .

“Authentic discernment. . .is a process that is always open. . .[It] does not reduce itself to the repetition of formulas that ‘like high clouds release little rain’ to the concrete person, [and] are often immersed in an inflexible reality of black and white.

“The pastor is called to make available to the flock the grace of the Spirit, which knows how to penetrate the folds of reality and take account of its hues and shades to make emerge what God wants to realize in every moment.”

Catholic advocates for LGBT people have long encouraged respect for people’s consciences and listening to personal stories as a way by which church leaders can proceed on issues of gender and sexuality. Too often the response from bishops has been a refusal to listen or, in worse instances, actions of those like Bishop Robert Morlino whose Diocese of Madison has sought to bar married lesbian and gay Catholics from receiving funerals in the church. It is clearly a positive step that Pope Francis is not only appointing bishops who are known to be more pastoral, but encouraging them to go not practice legalism but loving service to all God’s people.

Robert Shine, New Ways Ministry, November 5, 2017

4 replies
  1. Paula Mattras
    Paula Mattras says:

    Truth, plainly spoken, is the basis of accurate premise in any argument. Encouraging dialogue with LGBTQ brothers and sisters is a first step in learning about their lives. Refusing to listen reflects a closed mind that does not want to learn more. In the field of science new discoveries are being made continually which cause us to amend our thinking and our actions. God bless them all and God bless Pope Francis.


  2. Jane
    Jane says:

    Why are the bishops so reluctant to follow Pope Francis’ lead and let each of us endeavor to be loving in all we do. This certainly would include our attitude toward our own sexuality and that of every other human being we encounter. I am convinced that left on our own and operating out of loving hearts, most of us will opt for the right behavior, whether or not we have an ordained spiritual guide tell us what to do. I think it is past time for people of good will to trust themselves and to be trusted to follow right roads on our quest for God.

  3. Miriam
    Miriam says:

    I thank God Bishop Morlino does not have the power to censor New Ways Ministry. Years back I might have been one who censored as a helped operate a Catholic book and gift shop.


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