Regarding complex moral problems, the role of a religious leader is to help the faithful render moral judgments. Too often, including during his recent visit to the United States, when Pope Francis touches on certain matters of high controversy – such as same-sex marriage or war – he leaves many listeners uncertain as to precisely how he judges the issue. When the faithful seek moral clarity, if the pope, as any religious leader, cannot, or will not, clearly articulate his tradition’s perspective on the case, I confess to not really seeing a purpose for a pope.

While the pontiff is precisely that – a bridge to help us cross the chasm to the Divine – he surely is also a shepherd with the responsibility to guide his flock through history. Pope Francis has the world’s ear – many are straining to hear him clearly…

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Marc LiVecche is the managing editor of Providence and Scholar of Christian Ethics, War, & Peace at the Institute on Religion and Democracy.

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