James Salt, executive director of national nonprofit Catholic United, said he was “overjoyed,” adding that he’s eagerly anticipating how conservatives will respond.
“Pope Francis is saying what every faithful lay Catholic knows: to be effective in the modern world, the Church must refocus on what Christ actually taught us: to proclaim God’s love and good news for the poor, the vulnerable and the forgotten,” Salt said in a statement. “For too long, right-wing activists have distorted and co-opted Catholic teaching to suit their agendas. Pope Francis put a stop to that today.”
"The pope is still Catholic," said Wenski, who met with his priests to discuss the interview. "He has not made any reversals of church doctrine, and he cannot. However, I think what the pope is doing is pushing the reset button. He is saying we can make all the cerebral arguments we want about the issues of the day, but those arguments fall on deaf ears or get misinterpreted if we don't first try to reach the person through the heart."
Officials at the diocese of Harrisburg, Pa., agreed.
“He talks about Church ministers as merciful, like the Good Samaritan, who washes, cleans and raises up his neighbor not as detail oriented bureaucrats,” read a statement from the Diocese of Harrisburg, Pa. “The Gospel message that Jesus Christ loves you and has saved you should be primary.
U.S. Cardinal Timothy Dolan, who as head of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops has taken a lead role in voicing the U.S. church's opposition to contraception and gay marriage, said Francis’ interview confirmed what has already been apparent.
“… [T]hat he is a man who profoundly believes in the mercy of a loving God, and who wants to bring that message of mercy to the entire world, including those who feel that they have been wounded by the Church,” Dolan said in a statement issued Thursday. “As a priest and bishop, I particularly welcome his reminder that the clergy are primarily to serve as shepherds, to be with our people, to walk with them, to be pastors, not bureaucrats! It is becoming more evident every day that we are blessed with a Pope who is a good shepherd after the heart of Christ.”
On Friday, Dolan, while appearing on “CBS This Morning,” said Francis’ words sent shock waves throughout the church.
"Every pope has a different strategy," Dolan said. ''What I think he's saying is, 'Those are important issues and the church has got to keep talking about them, but we need to talk about them in a fresh new way. If we keep kind of a negative finger-wagging tone, it's counterproductive.”
"The pope is not condemning his predecessors," Greg Burke told The Associated Press. "What he is saying is 'We've spent a lot of time talking about the boundaries. We've spent a lot of time talking about what is sin and what's not. Now let's move on. Let's talk about mercy. Let's talk about love.'"
Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/world/2013/09/20/religious-figures-overjoyed-by-pope-francis-comments-marking-new-dawn-in/print#ixzz2fWzLfmjK
“Breaking news, Pope Francis: There is already a profound theology of women," said Sister Maureen Fielder, a Catholic nun and longtime advocate of women’s ordination in the Catholic Church.
“There are libraries of feminist theology just waiting for you, and others, to dive in.”
“Pope Francis is rescuing the Catholic Church from those grim-faced watchdogs of orthodoxy who in windowless rooms reduce Catholicism to a laundry list of nos,” Gehring said.