The Bishop of the Syracuse Catholic Diocese is downplaying the significance of comments attributed to the pope about gay marriage, contraception and abortion.
Pope Francis in a recent interview said the church has focused too much on such issues, indicating they could be divisive. Bishop Robert Cunningham wants to make sure the comments are taken in context and don’t indicate a philosophical shift.
“He wouldn’t want us to emphasis just one aspect of the church’s teaching without recognizing everything else that needs to be to be part of who we are,” said Cunningham.
Cunningham calls the 20-page interview a gift and says he’s looking forward to studying it more to learn about Pope Francis further. He hopes the openness expressed by this pope for wide-ranging points of view might attract people back to the church.
“And I think that the pope is reaching out to people aware of our difficulties in life, our challenges in life and he wants that the church is there with mercy and compassion to guide and strengthen the people for their own journey of life and faith,” said Cunningham.
Cunningham doesn’t expect local priests to change what they teach or how they preach. He emphasizes every church leader has his own style, but the basic teachings of the church don’t change.