Has Pope Francis Jumped the Rails?


by Tad Cronn

In the latest interview given by Pope Francis, the Washington Post is reporting that the pope told an atheist journalist that each person “must choose to follow the good and fight evil as he conceives them” and that efforts to convert people to Christianity are “solemn nonsense.”

Many Catholics have wanted to give Pope Francis the benefit of the doubt when he has said things in previous interviews like the church shouldn’t be obsessed with abortion or gay marriage, or that everybody should follow their conscience. In six months, Francis has raised a lot of eyebrows.

But then he’s the pope, after all, chosen by God to lead the Church. He’s supposed to be a learned scholar and a wise man. Perhaps he has a plan, a vision for the church that we’re just not seeing yet, something that will justify everything he’s said publicly, something that will become clear at some point and make everyone smack their heads and say, “Oh, of course that’s what he meant.”

Then there’s the fact that his comments have been given to, and reported in, the media, and we all know how they get. The ignorance of most reporters easily explains how even the statements of a pope might be misrepresented.

But this latest interview doesn’t seem to be based on a reporter’s fallacious assumptions.

In La Repubblica, which conducted the original interview, the following exchange between the pope and the atheist reporter is printed (reporter’s comments in bold; italics mine):

“Some of my colleagues who know you told me that you will try to convert me.”

It’s a joke, I tell him. My friends think it is you want to convert me.

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