Catholic Worries Pope Is Being Misunderstood09:04
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Pope Francis attends his weekly audience in St. Peter's square on December 4, 2013, in Vatican City, Vatican. (Franco Origlia/Getty Images)
Pope Francis attends his weekly audience in St. Peter's square on December 4, 2013, in Vatican City, Vatican. (Franco Origlia/Getty Images)

Pope Francis has been named Time magazine's Person of the Year, and many have lauded him, calling him more open and moderate.

But Robert Royal of the Faith & Reason Institute says that many are misunderstanding what the Pope says, and that he is actually very similar in his true beliefs with past popes. He speaks to Here & Now's Robin Young.

Interview Highlights: Robert Royal

On Pope Francis's comments about gay people

“The downside of this more personal, more dynamic approach that he has, is sometimes he will say things that are a little bit unguarded. For example, that famous phrase on the papal plane coming back from the Brazilian World Youth Day, in which some people believe he said that it’s not his role to judge people who are homosexuals. Actually what he said there was that ‘if a person has a homosexual orientation and is struggling to follow God’s way in his life, when who am I to judge?’ So that’s quite a different thing and is quite a different thing than the whole debate about gay marriage.

On Pope Francis's comments about capitalism 

"Rush [Limbaugh] is simply wrong about this Marxist charge. The same kinds of criticism of capitalism were made by John Paul II, who helped bring down the Soviet Union, and Benedict XVI, his predecessor too. They warn simply, that if materialism dominates our lives, obviously, from a Catholic standpoint, that’s wrong.”

On people's interpretations of Pope Francis

“I think that there are a lot of misimpressions out there – there’s no question that people have taken him to be saying one thing when he has not been saying that sort of thing at all … I don’t know what the resolution of this is going to be, but I’m quite certain that over the long term, people will begin to see that this pope is not going to be changing any of the substantive teachings about the moral rightness and wrongness of homosexuality, of abortion, contraception, gay marriage, etc. However, I think in his outreach to people and his willingness to engage them in respectful and an interesting way, actually a very humanly, interesting way, I think that is going to be the difference that you’ll see for the rest of his papacy.”

Guest

  • Robert Royal, president and founder of the Faith & Reason Institute.

This segment aired on December 17, 2013.

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