One can only imagine the degree of isolation and/or lack of empathy that must characterize Pope Francis' psychology. It is all so unnecessary when he could do his flock the simple courtesy of explaining things in clear language as he goes.
The Pope Speaks [courtesy of the Bear's imagination]:
Many of you have noticed a somewhat different emphasis on ecumenism by me than by some of my predecessors. Perhaps you are wondering how this follows previous teachings of the Church. I want you to know, I respect your love for the Church. I do not wish any of you to worry or be caught up in needless controversies. Therefore, I have decided to speak with you today on the nature of the Church and exactly how my reaching out to our separated brothers and sisters fits into our tradition.
In the past, the Church and other Christians have been at war with one another. Sometimes this has been an actual war, while at other times it has been a war of the mind, the heart. With the Second Vatican Council, the Church unfolded a deeper understanding of the Church. It is impossible to deny, the Council said, that there exists among non-Catholic Christians a genuine faith in God and love for Our Lord Jesus Christ. In these faith communities the Holy Spirit is truly working and bearing fruit. One cannot argue against this; it is a fact.
Our brothers and sisters may not have the sacraments we do, but the Spirit works among them and within them, producing the same fruit. The Spirit works to impel, yes, to impel, all of us to the unity God wants, for God is one, and Jesus prayed that all Christians be one.
We are seeing this imperfect unity in many places. Yet, at the same time, we retain diversity even as we work with the Spirit to make that unity perfect -- perfect in diversity. For, you see, diversity is not division. Division splits, separates, is of the devil. Diversity requires something in common, no?
The Church and other Christian bodies have much in common. This is a fact that cannot be denied. The unity of the Spirit is not that we must all be Catholics, or all Pentecostals, or all Lutherans. The unity of the Spirit is that we respect and love our brothers and sisters, and that we all together love and worship God, each in our own way.
Do not worry! Your father is not telling you that you must become Pentecostal! [Laughs.] We are Catholic, and that is a wonderful thing, the best thing for us. At the same time, God knows how to take care of the Pentecostals. And without making them Catholics! We see diversity all over. In the animal kingdom. In the stars of heaven. This pleases God. We see that wounds are healing. We may hasten the treatment by putting on good medicine, no? This also pleases God. The medicine of love, and acceptance.
I hope that you have a better understanding of how we are reaching out. We must all do our part to heal divisions by seeing diversity rather than differences. It is nothing very scary! These are our brothers and sisters! That is all we need to know.
It is to be hoped he would have a better explanation that this, but if he did bother to explain, I suspect it would be something along these lines. Naturally, he would just pass over prior Church language about heretics and no salvation outside the Church without mentioning it. Most Catholics have never heard of the old condemnations of Protestantism and prohibitions against worshiping with them, let alone extra ecclesiam nulla salus. You do not need to explain what is forgotten. Desuetude is the word of the hour. An old law loses force through failure to apply it, by forgetting about it.
Of course, we will never get even this little fantasy from Pope Francis. He need not conform his behavior, he need not explain his theology. He is the Pope. And he doesn't answer to anyone.