This from “On Faith” at the Washington Post:
Second, Pope Francis seems to be making the point that Christ did not come to promote a political agenda. Pope Francis warns against the faith becoming an “ideology among ideologies.” If the church is defined by its political agenda, it will inevitably be divisive and distort the true mission of the church.
An excessive focus on politics and waging a culture war will lead many to define church teaching using secular political labels like liberal and conservative that do not reflect the church’s understanding of human dignity and the common good. Those who identify with the political left or right will feel alienated when their views clash with the church’s social and moral teachings, instead of challenged by the difficult task of ensuring that their political positions reflect Gospel values. Meanwhile, those who share the church’s positions may feel triumphant and look to drive others from the church, instead of drawing them into it.
The core teachings of the Catholic faith revolve around the church’s understanding of God, Jesus Christ, and the Gospel. Pope Francis makes this clear when he states that “the proclamation of the saving love of God comes before moral and religious imperatives.” Pope Francis notes, “Proclamation in a missionary style focuses on the essentials, on the necessary things: this is also what fascinates and attracts more, what makes the heart burn, as it did for the disciples at Emmaus.”
This focus on the actions, life, love, and redeeming power of Christ and the God that Christ helps us to more fully comprehend is the true foundation of Catholicism, and these teachings should be seen as the core, central teachings of the church. As Pope Francis stated, “The dogmatic and moral teachings of the church are not all equivalent.”
Now if only Pope Francis can remove Boniface VIII, Gregory XVI, Pius IX, Leo XIII, and Pius XII from the history of the Roman Catholic Church.