Sigh. Maybe next time.
Now that you’re here, you might be interested in Fr. James Martin’s take on Pope Francis’s interview.
Most of the media attention yesterday was focused on a few sections of the 12,000-word interview, particularly the Pope’s comment that he preferred not to talk about hot-button issues like gay marriage, contraception and abortion “all the time,” and, again, his comments that the church needs to treat gays and lesbians by “accompany[ing] them with mercy.”
Yet one area overlooked by many commentators may have immense ramifications for the church. In a lesser-noticed section, Pope Francis used a rather “in-house” Jesuit phrase and gave it a new interpretation: “Thinking with the church.”
The concept comes directly from The Spiritual Exercises, the classic text by St. Ignatius Loyola, the 16th century founder of the Jesuit Order. In its simplest interpretation, “thinking with the church” asks a person to align himself or herself in the deepest possible way with church teaching. St. Ignatius was clear about what that meant: agreeing with the “hierarchical church.” At its best, it is a call to incorporate oneself into the teachings of the Gospels and the rich theological tradition of the church; at other times, it has been used as a threat against Catholics who do not follow particular Vatican pronouncements.
Which is pretty important, because Pope Francis notes that “all the faithful, considered as a whole, are infallible in matters of belief, and the people display this infallibilitas in credendo, this infallibility in believing, through a supernatural sense of the faith of all the people walking together.”
Sounds like a great idea for a future book: Forming Intentional Consciences.