One of the ways that journalists can tell a Pope Francis controversy has legs is when it quickly becomes clear that conservative Catholics and liberal Catholics are offering very similar readings of the same text.
The difference, of course, is that Catholics on the doctrinal left are excited about the text and many on the doctrinal right are worried.
In this case, I am talking -- of course -- about the pope's "evolution of doctrine" statement on the death penalty. (In candor, let me again note once again that I am totally opposed to the death penalty, with no exceptions.) As a refresher, let's listen to the gospel according to The New York Times:
... Francis said executions were unacceptable in all cases because they are “an attack” on human dignity, the Vatican announced on Thursday, adding that the church would work “with determination” to abolish capital punishment worldwide.
Francis made the change to the Catechism of the Roman Catholic Church, the book of doctrine that is taught to Catholic children worldwide and studied by adults in a church with 1.2 billion members. Abolishing the death penalty has long been one of his top priorities, along with saving the environment and caring for immigrants and refugees. ...
The pope’s decree is likely to hit hardest in the United States, where a majority of Catholics support the death penalty and the powerful “pro-life movement” has focused almost exclusively on ending abortion -- not the death penalty.
Kudos for the restraint shown in avoiding a reference to "the so-called 'pro-life' movement."
Now, in my post with this week's podcast -- "So how much do you trust Pope Francis? Here's why death penalty debate is heating up" -- I quoted the following reference from an email to Rod Dreher from a Catholic reader, referring to this "evolution of doctrine" debate:
From the Catholic Catechism of 2030:
“Sexual relations between persons of the same sex were long considered to be intrinsically disordered acts.
“Today, however, there is an increasing awareness that the dignity of the person is not lost when a person engages in same-sex relations. In addition, a new understanding has emerged of the meaning of human sexuality.