Meet the Press | March 17, 2013
>> there is the issue i think for a lot of american catholics of the impact that pope francis can have on cultural and political debates in america. gary bauer , the evangelical leader in the united states , wrote something for " usa today " this week that caught my attention and i'll share with our audience. "a as an evangelical i was delighted that the last two popes were moral and theological giants. john paul ii and benedict xvi . introduced a new evangelical era for the catholic church in which the catholic church offered a confident rebuttal to the false promises of the secular world." how would you like to see pope francis influence american political debates? and we have so many of them now, whether it's abortion or gay marriage . how would you like to see that impact?
>> i think he simply has to preach the gospel and then do it in a way that is accessible and the holy spirit makes the impact, we believe. conversion of heart and mind is not something any pope or preacher can do. it depends on god's grace. but you have to keep preaching the gospel and do it with integrity and he'll certainly do that. you're preaching it now in a context where in a sense you could say there is no god and freud is his profit. so for the sake of sexual liberation , we're willing to let a lot of other liberties go. and i'm not sure we realize what's going on. i think he'll help us to realize it better, and we'll see what happens. we can only trust that the lord is still with his people and loves the world that his son died to save.
>> but your eminence, isn't that part of the struggle? what you're speaking act, preaching from the gospel so, many catholics in this country see that tension between church doctrine and their own life experience, their own consciences that are leading them in a different direction. whether there's a majority of catholics in america who support gay marriage , those who call for a greater role for women in the church, who are less opposed to abortion or even contraception. how does he resolve that tension?
>> well, i'm not sure you can resolve it. it's a matter of principle. all those issues weren't around 50 years ago. what has happened to our culture, these have become cultural imperatives. in history, when you look at societies that come and go and countries come and go, when the chips are down, people will always go with their society, usually, not always, and those that don't are the minority very often. what we want to do is create a society through dialogue that isn't quite as much at odds with the gospel of jesus christ as it seems ours has become at times at least. so the phenomenon you're talking about is not new. again, however, the church is universal so, you know, we have to stay with the entire church, and we have to stay with categories that aren't cultural. conservatives and liberals are the categories you use. you'll be using them today. our categories are what is true and what is false and then what's the evidence for that.
>> i have to ask you in kroez close, if you could describe the sense of spiritual renewal you feel with pope francis . i'm not catholic but i was caught up in that sense of renewal that catholics and non- catholics have alike when you have such an important transition like this.
>> well, all i can say is that during the conclave i felt personally a deep sense of the presence of the lord, even as you vote, and you write that name, you have to be sure that you're free, that you're not doing it for self-interest. and you have to be sure the man you're electing is free to do the ministry. so in that freedom, there will be renewal, i believe.
>> your eminence, we appreciate your time very much this morning.
>> thank you, david. good being with you. god bless you.