A new episode of “Catholics in the Pub,” airing Wednesday night on ABC News, explores the complicated history between the pope and the Catholic Church.
In episode nine, “When the Pope, the Church, and the Pope’s Church,” co-hosts Mark Burnett and Ann Curry discuss Pope Francis’ controversial election as pontiff and the way the pope’s Catholic church has responded to his actions.
Burnett and Curry were joined by Catholic historian and Catholic theologian Francis M. Sperling, who teaches at the University of Notre Dame.
“When the pope, the church, and [his] church are in a disagreement about the role of the pope in the public square, the pope does not always seem to take sides,” Burnett said.
“He is willing to engage with them, he is willing for them to engage in an ongoing dialogue with him,” Curry said.
The two hosts then explored some of the ways that Francis has interacted with the Catholic faithful in his first six months as pontiffship.
“In my view, the most interesting thing that has happened over the last year, especially when you look at the events of March and April of this year, is that Francis, the president of the Catholic church, the bishop of Buenos Aires, has been able to come out of this crisis and to speak about issues that are very important to his own people,” Curry told ABC News.
“I think that’s a very significant development.
It shows that Francis is still the pope.
He’s not out of the woods yet.
We’re still at the beginning.”
Pope Francis and Pope Benedict XVI.
Getty ImagesA look at some of Pope Francis decisions and actions.
GettyImagesA look back at Pope Francis first 100 days.
GettyFrancis was elected to the papacy in March of 2020.
His election was followed by the resignation of Benedict XVI in June of 2020, the resignation in November of 2020 of his predecessor Pope Benedict, and his resignation from the pontifical court in March.
Francis’ first 100-day tenure as pope lasted for less than a week.
The pope appointed a commission to study the church’s relationship with the U.S. during the Trump administration, which is not the same commission that Pope Francis has had the opportunity to study and investigate.
“We were able to look at a lot of the information that the U,S.
government has provided to us about how they interact with the church,” Curry explained.
“So it is a very different way of doing things than we had before.
Francis and Benedict are not going to have the same level of contact with each other.
They will not have the level of dialogue that they had.”
Pope Benedict XVI and Pope Francis during their meeting in April of 2020 in Rome.
GettyPope Francis meets with Pope Benedict during their visit to the Vatican in April.
GettyThe commission also heard from two former priests who said Francis did not listen to their concerns about sexual abuse.
“I’m not a Catholic priest,” one of the men said.
“What he is is a pope.
I believe that he is doing the right thing in the face of these scandals.”
Another former priest said the pope “has not been able” to get the church to “change his attitude” toward sexual abuse in the church.
“You can see in the first three weeks of his presidency, he was unable to get his church to change its attitude toward sexual misconduct,” he said.
A former priest who has worked with Francis for many years said the pontiff is “trying to convince the church that he has been doing the good work for years.”
“I know that the pope has had his problems in the past, but I don’t think he has ever really had any of his own,” he told ABC.
“If you look back to his first 100 months in office, he has not been the kind of leader that has made changes.
He has tried to do the good things for the church and his own personal needs and for his own family,” the former priest added.”
But I think that if he continues to do this, I think we are in for a good deal more than just the kind and the good times that he had.”ABC News’ Mark Hosenball contributed to this report.