His position on these controversial issues? If you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all. Or rather, go ahead and say it, but don't use it to exclude others. Although this may come to a shocking surprise to those who think religion should dictate public and private life, the pope firmly disagrees. Take that every-single-representative-who's-ever-used-the-church-to-limit-people's-rights. I'm talking to you GOP.
According to the Laurie Goodestein at the New York Times, the pope "said that the Roman Catholic church has grown 'obsessed' with preaching about abortion, gay marriage and contraception, and that he has chosen not to speak of those issues despite recriminations from some critics." CNN reports that the pope said the church has the right to express its opinions but not to "interfere spiritually."
In an interview conducted in Italian by Rev. Antonio Spadaro, the editor-in-chief of La Civiltà Cattolica, the pope also said that "it is not necessary to talk about these issues all the time." So wait, the role of religion is not to insert itself in every discussion about gay mariage, access to contraception and reproductive rights? If we don't rely on religion, then what will be left? Reason?! You know how much anti-choice Republicans legislators hate that!
Although many leaders and religious proponents have used religion to exclude and marginalize, the pope vehemently disagrees with that effort. "In remarkably blunt language, Francis sought to set a new tone for the church, saying it should be a "home for all" and not a "small chapel" focused on doctrine, orthodoxy and a limited agenda of moral teachings," explains Goodestein.
Although many called Pope Francis' ideology ultraconservative when he was first nominated (the author of this piece included), that's not where he sees himself on the political spectrum. "But I have never been a right-winger. When referring to previous comments he made when he was younger, he says "It was my authoritarian way of making decisions that created problems."