Jerry Slevin on how the pope's "disingenuous" remarks on contraception undercut many Catholics' confidence in his intellectual integrity:
What I infer from Francis' almost disingenuous remarks on contraception is this. He seems to be saying Catholics can use contraceptives but please do not make him expressly say that Popes Paul VI and Pius XI were wrong on banning birth control. If he were to say that he will, in effect, be saying popes are not infallible. Francis' slick approach here not only undercuts the "dogma" of infallibility, it also undercuts many Catholics' confidence in Pope Francis' intellectual integrity.
Few Catholics will be fooled by Pope Francis, but many are already disappointed at this "three card monte" approach to a very important issue for hundreds of millions of Catholics worldwide. It is not some papal political game for them.
The Catholic church has paid and continues to pay an enormous — an almost unbelievable — price for the decision of its top leaders for some years now to hinge everything in the church on the maintenance of an historically conditioned, entirely mutable clerical system (of which the understanding of an infallible papacy is one component), as if the church exists entirely to serve that system and not be served by it. Many of us had hoped for better from the current pope.