What is the church, an institution of official dogma or one dominated by the preferrences of lay members who get their impressions of what the church stands for from who knows where?
Survival of both seem important to the future of denominations. Purists have a need to believe the Church does not change. But, the Church must be seen by its members and the public as a relevant institution adjusting to changing social mores.
This Pope, either by intent or accident, is presenting us with a laboratory for how to keep both in tow.
The link is typical of articles that appear almost daily. They insist over and over again the dogma of the church has not changed. The Pope, it seems, wants Church membership and the public to think otherwise.
We have to remember Pope Francis was runner up when Benedick was chosen. Francis sat out the Benedict years presenting himself as a social conservative, supporting the prevailing views of gay marriage, abortion and no women in the clergy. There were no public statements disagreeing with Benedict.
When a new Pope was to be chosen, there sat the good soldier Francis with big chips to play. The massive Catholic numbers in South America eeded bolstering. A new Pope could not have child molestation baggage. “I”ve got you in a box,” he must have said to the Cardinals.
Experienced as he was in presenting two faces, he just continued. He presents one face the Church doesn’t change, another that it does.