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Conservative Catholics Raise Concerns About 'Radical Drift' Of The Papacy


Elizabeth Yore is among the Catholics in this country who have reservations about Pope Francis. Many of these conservative Catholics criticize the pope for his views on the environment and capitalism, even international relations. But what concerns them the most is the positions the pope takes on issues such as abortion, sexuality and divorce. Yore is a Chicago-based attorney who has met with the pope in her role as an international child-protection advocate, and she joins us now on the program. Thanks for being with us.

ELIZABETH YORE: My pleasure, Kelly.

MCEVERS: And this is a - I mean, this is a pretty big moment for the Pope. You see these huge crowds, people coming out, people who aren't even Catholic coming out to see him. He's a hero-like figure to some. What are you thinking as you watch all of this?

YORE: Well, I too was a big fan in the beginning of this papacy. I was, frankly, thrilled that he was embracing an issue that was very close to my heart, which was human trafficking. So it was with a great deal of consternation that I have grown to really have a great amount of reservations about this pope and his stances because I really saw firsthand at the Vatican what was going on in this papacy.

MCEVERS: And that was at a conference about human trafficking. Can you tell us a little bit about that?

YORE: Sure. In November of 2013, just about six months after he became pope, he had his first human trafficking conference at the Vatican. And I listened to the experts that the Vatican brought in. Quite frankly, Kelly, they were talking about climate change and global minimum wage when I was expecting to hear about how to deal with the real causes of human trafficking.

MCEVERS: And you're a Catholic. Is it uncomfortable for you or was it uncomfortable for you to sort of realize you disagreed so strongly with the leader of the Church and to then speak out?

YORE: Yes. I mean, this was the first time in my adult life that I was really feeling very uncomfortable at leftward, radical drift of the papacy. Conservative Catholics love the Pope. The papacy believed in the magisterium of the Church. I'm a cradle Catholic, been borne and raised in the Church, but I do feel that it's up to the laity to speak truth to power and with respect and to do it until we are heard and to keep on, no matter how difficult it is, is to - and how popular a pope is. I mean, this is the pope that's been on People magazine. It's the pope that's been on Rolling Stone. But because a pope is a celebrity is not a reason to remain silent or because he seems to be very popular with the majority of people. In my mind, as a child advocate, as the voice of children, I'm not going to remain silent.

MCEVERS: Are you're going to be watching the coverage of the pope? There's a lot of it.

YORE: Oh, I am, yes. As soon as I get off...

MCEVERS: (Laughter).

YORE: Yes, I will be (laughter). Yes. In fact, I was in Philadelphia and saw them sprucing up the streets and cutting down the trees and planting flowers and putting up the banners. So I was there last week and saw all the preparations, so I will be watching very closely.

MCEVERS: Elizabeth Yore, Chicago-based attorney and international child protection advocate, thank you very much.

YORE: Thank you, Kelly. I appreciate you having me on. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Corrected: September 21, 2015 at 11:00 PM CDT
A previous version of this story incorrectly stated that Pope Francis was the first pope to appear on the cover of People magazine. Pope John Paul II also appeared on the cover of People twice.