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NEW YORK CITY, June 13, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – A New York Times columnist and one of America’s leading Catholic commentators said that it is “legitimate” for Catholics to vocally raise concerns over Pope Francis’ teaching.

“Pope Francis is the most important teacher of the Catholic faith, and when that public teaching is seen as causing confusion, or even perceived as conflicting with his predecessors, it is legitimate for Catholics to make their voices heard,” said Ross Douthat in an interview with Inside the Vatican. 

Douthat, author of To Change the Church: Pope Francis and the Future of Catholicism, expressed some concerns about the Francis’ pontificate to interviewer William Doino, Jr. Doino is described in a foreword to the interview as “one of Francis’ most consistent defenders.”

The New York Times columnist told Doino that Pope Francis has “pragmatically” backed an evangelization that has made a “truce with the sexual revolution.”

It is a “mistaken belief that there can be some sort of pastoral, pragmatic truce with the sexual revolution in the West that enables the Church to evangelize anew,” Douthat said. 

“I don’t think Francis has a comprehensive liberal theological vision, but pragmatically, he often aligns himself with those ‘progressives’ who do. And that’s a real risk, for liberal Catholicism’s proposed truce can’t be reached without emptying out things that are distinctively and essentially Catholic, which the Church has admirably preserved for centuries,” he added. 

Douthat said such a truce is strategically unwise, “for it simply doesn’t gain the ground that liberal Catholics imagine.” Instead, the truce ends up becoming “a tacit surrender” to the culture. In this way, the Church becomes an enabler, and a “meek and ineffective chaplaincy” to those who no longer know God, he added. 

Doino spoke to Douthat about the Pope’s controversial exhortation Amoris Laetitia, stating in his report: “Douthat believes that Amoris Laetitia, Francis’ much-discussed Apostolic Exhortation, which seeks to strengthen the family and minister to those living in “irregular” relationships, has — for all its noble intentions — weakened the Church’s teachings on marriage and the family, and encouraged illicit reception of the Holy Eucharist (especially for divorced and civilly remarried Catholics living in a second, adulterous relationship) — creating deep divisions in the Church, which might ultimately lead to schism.”

“One of Douthat’s concerns is that Francis’ teachings are in serious tension- if not outright contradiction — with those of his predecessors, St. John Paul II and Benedict XVI,” the reporter stated.