Cardinal George Responds to Pope's Message: 'We Can All Profit'

Friday, Sep 20, 2013  |  Updated 10:37 PM CDT
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Cardinal Francis George.

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Days after Pope Francis warned about the Catholic Church’s “obsession” with abortions, gays and contraception, Chicago’s Cardinal Francis George responded by saying “we can all profit" from the pope's teachings.

“In his beautiful reflection published in English in America magazine, Pope Francis begins by identifying himself as a sinner, and so are we all,” George said in a statement. “The first thing a sinner striving for conversion needs to hear is that God loves him or her. Mercy is love eager to forgive.”

George has been an outspoken opponent of gay marriage, decrying the “redefinition of marriage” as “morally wrong.”

He has said in the past that the meaning of marriage in the Bible originated from "a sexual expression based upon the complementary of men and women," and changing its meaning "will not serve the common good of our people and will certainly lose the sense of family that is the basis of our understanding of who we are."

But Pope Francis has warned that the Catholic Church's moral structure might "fall like a house of cards" if it doesn't balance its divisive rules about abortion, gays and contraception with the greater need to make it a merciful, more welcoming place for all.

Six months into his papacy, Francis set out his vision for the church and his priorities as pope in a lengthy and remarkably blunt interview with La Civilta Cattolica, the Italian Jesuit magazine. It was published simultaneously Thursday in Jesuit journals in 16 countries, including America magazine in the U.S.

And George called the message published in the 12,000-word article the pope’s “leitmotif.”

“That has become the leitmotif of Pope Francis’ teaching, and it puts into perspective the demands of discipleship expressed and clarified in the Church’s established doctrinal and moral teaching,” he said. “For who the Pope is, we should all be grateful. From how he teaches the truths of the Catholic faith, we can all profit.”

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