TEXAS FAITH 111: Pope Francis criticizes narrow focus on abortion, gay rights and conception

Dallas Morning News,

Dallas Morning News,

Each week we will post a question to a panel of about two dozen clergy, laity and theologians, all of whom are based in Texas or are from Texas. They will chime in with their responses to the question of the week. And you, readers, will be able to respond to their answers through the comment box.

Pope Francis offered some provocative thoughts last week. Speaking about the hot-button issues of abortion, gay rights and conception, he told a Jesuit interviewer: “It is not necessary to talk about these issues all the time.”

He went on in the interview to say that his church had grown obsessed with those topics.

I have to admit, the church universal seems way too caught up in debates over abortion, gay marriage and conception. So, I happen to agree with his view.

But what do you think? Are people of faith becoming too occupied with gay rights, abortion and conception?

And what do you make of this statement that also came from the Pope:

“The dogmatic and moral teachings of the church are not all equivalent.”

Applying that line to your own religious tradition, how are believers supposed to know which teachings are more important than others?

In my tradition, the Presbyterian Church USA, we have creeds, but we don’t necessarily have a Presbyterian’s guide to the top 10 beliefs, or some such list of priorities.

This could get arbitrary, couldn’t it?

NITYANANDA CHANDRA DAS, minister of ISKCON (International Society for Krishna Consciousness), Dallas 

All teachings start with a foundation. Without a clear foundation it is impossible to get a translucent picture as to how should one operate in this material world. Otherwise one may have various principles, many of which that have value, but such value will difficult to impart without a clear, logical, and philosophical premise.

The basic idea in the Bhagavad Gita is that the soul is different from the body. That is something that everyone witnesses, whether they know it or not. That body changes but the witness within that body remains the same.

So with this understanding one can evaluate various issues. One can see how the particular issue relates to the soul and that soul’s relationship with God.

If the soul is different from the body and if the soul can be understood to be present by the symptoms of life, then it is easy to understand that there is a soul in body of every human, every fetus, and every animal. To say that there is a soul in the fetus but Fido the dog does not have a soul is illogical.

People of this world will not continue to be satisfied with rules and regulations based illogical and foundationless principles. That is why so many have rejected religion altogether. Therefore anyone who is interested in the All Intelligent Supreme Person, Krishna or God, must seek a logical foundation upon which the proper rules and regulations can rest

To see all responses of the TEXAS Faith panel click here.