Weekend Express with Lynn Berry

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Is Pope Francis scaring or exciting Catholics?

NEED TO KNOW
  • Pope Francis says church needs to rethink rules and customs
  • He scolded “Catholic sourpusses”
  • Tuesday’s address is the first official papal document written entirely by Francis

This week, Pope Francis called for big changes in the Roman Catholic church.  And his message might be making some Catholics a little nervous.

In the first official papal document written entirely by the new Pope, Francis said the church needs to rethink rules and customs that few Catholics still understand.  He also called out “Catholic sourpusses” who hunt down rule breakers.  "An evangelizer must never look like someone who has just come back from a funeral!" the Pope said.

Phil Thompson, director of the Aquinas Center of Theology at Emory University, says some people are very excited about Pope Francis, his openness and welcoming message.  Others, however, might be worried that Francis is ready to make changes to Catholic doctrine and that makes them a little nervous.   Thompson points out that in a list of words that Pope Francis uses, love, joy, mercy and peace turn up most often.  “Those are terms of welcoming,” says Thompson.  “That’s where we want to start, with a message of love not of doctrine.”

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