In Case You Missed Them, the Top Pope Francis Quotes of 2016

Pope Francis holding one of his impromptu in-flight press conferences
Pope Francis holding one of his impromptu in-flight press conferences

Poor Pope Francis. It seems like it was just yesterday that the media and followers around the world were hanging on his every word. But along came the Twitterer-in-Chief, and now the pontiff’s pronouncements just don’t get the coverage they used to. In case you missed them, here are Pope Francis’ most memorable quotes of 2016:

A person who thinks only about building walls, wherever they may be, and not building bridges, is not Christian.

–Pope Francis made a pointed swipe at then-GOP contender Donald Trump in February on his return from a six-day trip to Mexico, where he visited the U.S.-Mexico border. In response, Trump called Francis “disgraceful.”

Avoiding pregnancy is not an absolute evil. In certain cases, as in this one, as in the one that I mentioned of Blessed Paul VI, it was clear.

–On the same trip, Francis suggested that women could use contraception to avoid becoming infected with the Zika virus, which had been shown to cause severe birth defects in infants. He referenced a decision by Pope Paul VI to allow nuns in the Congo in the 1960s to use contraceptives because they ran a risk of being raped, but refused to extend the analogy to other situations where a woman becoming pregnant might not be desirable (or desired).

A pastor cannot feel that it is enough to simply apply moral laws to those living in ‘irregular’ situations, as if they were stones to throw at people’s lives.

–In the long-awaited apostolic exhortation on the family, Amoris Laetitia, Francis condemned doctorial literalism and appeared to give priests room for pastoral discernment regarding communion for divorced and remarried Catholics, saying that the unity of church teaching does not “preclude various ways of interpreting some aspects of that teaching or drawing certain consequences from it.”

On the ordination of women in the Catholic Church, the last word is clear. If we read carefully the declaration made by St. John Paul II, it goes in that direction.

–In November, Pope Francis affirmed that it was unlikely the church would ever ordain women priests, despite the fact that earlier in the year he indicated he was open to allowing women deacons.

I believe that the church not only must say it’s sorry…to this person that is gay that it has offended. But it must say it’s sorry to the poor, also, to mistreated women, to children forced to work.

–In yet another impromptu in-flight press conference, Pope Francis said in June that Christians should apologize to gay people and others the church has mistreated.

Today, children are taught this at school: that everyone can choose their own sex. And why do they teach this? Because the books come from those people and institutions who give money.

–In a meeting with Polish bishops on World Youth Day, Francis said it was “terrible” that children were being taught they could choose their gender, which he called a form of “ideological colonization” (again).

It is interesting that all that (the document) contains, it was approved in the Synod by more than two thirds of the fathers. And this is a guarantee.

–Francis on suggestions that Amoris Laetitia was dividing the church after four conservative cardinals issued a letter calling on Francis to clarify whether the document was designed to change church teaching, which also gave Ross Douthat an opportunity to compare Francis to Trump.

I think the media have to be very clear, very transparent, and not fall into—no offense intended—the sickness of coprophilia, that is, always wanting to cover scandals, covering nasty things, even if they are true. And since people have a tendency towards the sickness of coprophagia, a lot of damage can be done.

In early December, Pope Francis compared the “sin” of spreading disinformation and scandal to coprophilia, or arousal from excrement, and the sin of consuming it to people’s tendency toward coprophagia, or eating excrement. Really. It’s been a weird year.