Pope Francis’ conciliatory approach to discussing social issues involving the Catholic Church has generated concern among conservative Catholics in the US.
The President of the Faith & Reason institute has said the Pope “is a remarkable man” – but warns “I’m not sure if he cares about being accurate”.
“When [abortion rights group] NARAL sends you a thank-you note, it’s clear something got miscommunicated,” he added.
Criticising the Pope’s tendency to do the unexpected, Mr Royal said: “He gets into an [evangelising] dynamic with people and that seems to be the most important thing… In some ways it makes people very anxious. If you do this, what’s the next thing?”
In September, US President Barack Obama said he had been “hugely impressed” by Pope Francis’ admission that the Roman Catholic Church was “obsessed” with preaching about abortion, same-sex marriage and contraception.
“It is not necessary to talk about these issues all the time,” Pope Francis told La Civiltà Cattolica, the Italian Jesuit journal.
Speaking to reporters in July during a plane journey back to the Vatican following his trip to Brazil, Pope Francis said that gay people should not be judged or marginalised and should be integrated into society.
The comments suggested the beginnings of a new era in civility by the Vatican on the issue of same-sex relationships – if not in doctrinal position – Pope Francis also referred to the Catholic Church’s universal Catechism, which states that while being gay is not sinful, homosexual acts are.