The debate continues. NCR has a helpful analysis of the continuity between Benedict and Francis. I thought this quote from John Thavis was particularly insightful:
Benedict tended to view [social issues] in culture war terms, as part of a political effort to keep the church’s voice out of public affairs. Francis, so far at least, is framing it more in terms of the human conscience battling the powerful pull of selfishness.
The article effectively shows that while the beliefs and policies of Benedict and Francis are not necessarily dissimilar, the way in which they contextualize hot-button issues is. Francis’ crossover appeal, which I discussed in my last post, is abetted by packaging these questions and issues in a different paradigm. Even if it’s not substantively different from previous papal stances, it’s enough of a shift to attract attention from across the spectrum.