Catholics React to Pope Francis' Message

Posted at: 09/19/2013 10:56 PM

(ABC 6 News) -- A dramatic change in Vatican tone Thursday, Pope Francis saying the Catholic Church has become obsessed by "small minded rules."  The Pope says priests should emphasize compassion over condemnation. He spoke directly on some divisive social issues including gays, abortion, and contraception.

Two months ago, Pope Francis caused a sensation during a news conference when he was asked about gay priests. "Who am I to judge?" he said. The new Pope's recent interviews are being called remarkably blunt, and are getting some attention. "Well I think they were quite refreshing, as a lifetime catholic, wow,  I was blown away by it," said Catholic Jeff Amundson.

Pope Francis responded to the hot-button issues including homosexuality, and abortion in a recent interview with a Jesuit publication. He was quoted saying, "We have to find a new balance; otherwise even the moral edifice of the church is likely to fall like a house of cards..."

"I know a lot of people who have turned away and left the church for exactly those kids of reasons," said Amundson.

"His comments to some people do make them uncomfortable as far as the traditional Catholicism goes, but I don't think it falls into heresy," said Catholic Mike Goldsmith.

Those we spoke with feel Pope Francis had no intention to reform Catholicism per say, but to accept people as Christ would have. "I think he's making the comments as to be open and not judge people, but not specifically saying that he agrees with abortion and homosexuality," said Mike Goldsmith.

As he once said "Who am I to judge?" when asked about topics regarding homosexuality. The two Catholic Church goers we interviewed, agree with mentality. "This brings it right back to the basics of what matters and what doesn't matter and for me, boy, I could follow this man anywhere, at least where he's going now," said Amundson.

On the flip side, some Catholics who didn't want to go on camera said they were "leery" of Pope Francis' latest remarks.