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“The pope is talking about compassion,” she said. “I think what he is trying to do is bring a healing [to the church.] … I think we’re all going to have to do that. We’re going to have to stop this us vs. them attitude and try to work together. I think the pope is modeling that.”
Mark McCartan, a member of Pax Christi church in Eden Prairie, said he was heartened by the pope’s conciliatory approach but wonders if Catholics might be confused if they interpret the pope’s message as running counter to what U.S. bishops are saying.
“I think there’s going to be a mixed reaction to this. It’s too early to say,” McCartan said. “He’s putting things up for dialogue, which I’m in favor of.”
Whether the pope’s message of reform has any effect on how U.S. bishops and priests lead the church remains to be seen, said the Rev. Thomas Reese, a Jesuit priest and senior analyst at the National Catholic Reporter.
“What he says raises the question of how high a priority this should be for the bishops,” Reese said.
“I think this is an opportunity for the bishops to regroup … It’s a call for them to rethink their priorities. Is fighting gay marriage so important? His priority is reconciliation, not division.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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