I've said it before but sometimes it bears repeating: Pope Francis is his own man and does not easily fight into the left/right or liberal/conservative mold.
Yes, he's Argentinian so he has a congenital blind spot regarding economics. At the same time, he's also seen grinding poverty and despair that would make most "compassionate liberals" crap themselves before retreating into their hip, affluent, monochromatic enclaves.
Unlike most commentators on matters religions, I like to actually read the documents in question. Amoris Laetitia is long, chatty and not particularly focused. It has a very conversational flow, which enhances its readability but can cause some confusion. If you want a short version, this is pretty good summary.
The current Big News That Isn't News is that the Pope allegedly discussed ways for divorced and remarried Catholics to receive the Eucharist. Except that he didn't. He did however do three things that the New York Times and its readers will find woefully retrograde and disappointing:
1. He reaffirmed that marriage is between a man and a woman,
2. He reaffirmed that abortion is evil, and
3. He said that people should learn to be comfortable in their bodies as God made them, not try to mutilate themselves.
The left has long been obsessed with crushing dissent but one of the interesting features of liberal psychology is the underlying demand for acceptance and even endorsement from its cultural and ideological enemies. The left inhabits a Manichean world and is constantly issuing calls to arms against the alleged evils that surround it. Whether dealing with racism, sexism or whatever else they come up with, the left is always in an uproar about something. This is because (as Hayek noted more than 70 years ago) socialism can't function without an enemy.
It is against human nature to sacrifice one's own interest out of pure altruism; the only way this happens is for a great cause. This is why the left is perpetually declaring war on abstractions.
At this point I'm sure those readers who haven't quit are nodding irritably because they know all this, but it is worth pointing out because in the midst of this imaginary warfare there is a secret desire for the left to be accepted.
Consider 'gay marriage.' Marriage is of course an ancient and venerable institution and not that long ago it was a form of bondage no right-thinking liberal would ever participate in. There were songs about how marriage was a cage, and one didn't need to "own" someone to have a lifelong loving relationship.
Indeed, while "domestic partnership" benefits may have been concocted to appeal to homosexuals, the only people I ever knew who took advantage of them were straight couples with an aversion to marriage as an institution.
Cohabitation was the norm and marriage was old-fashioned and patriarchal. Consider the number of Hollywood types that never tied the knot - or did so only after years of living together.
Then, all at once, marriage was Important, a Vital Civil Right. Was it? Or was it about acceptance?
I think it interesting that 'gay marriage' didn't really get going until mainline churches started performing ceremonies. The progressive wings of the Methodists, Anglicans and Presbyterians were right out front, offering religious legitimacy (and completely disregarding their own teachings to do so).
And then it became the issue of the moment, and anxious eyes all over the world looked at the new, inclusive Pope to get with the program and endorse it as well.
My four decades on this earth have convinced me that a great many of our current cultural and political issues stem from unresolved psychological problems the Baby Boomers had with their parents. Despite the fact that their parents have largely died off, they are still rebelling and yet at the same time seeking their approval.
By virtue of their numbers the liberal Boomers gained control of the culture and much of the country, but it is the parts they don't have that obsesses them. They wanted no-fault divorce and they got it; they wanted open relationships without marriage and they got, that, too. They wanted marriage pretty much trashed so that anyone could do it and now they have that as well, and yet there's the Church still frowning at them in disapproval, reminding them that they weren't raised to be that way and know better.
This is a big part of why so many liberals who otherwise wouldn't be caught dead at mass want the Catholic Church to embrace the progressive agenda and become like the Anglicans. As we've noted here many times, the Anglicans themselves are voting with their hearts (and feet) against the decision of their leadership to abandon church traditions, but no matter. Despite the fact that every denomination that has gone all-in on progressive theology has watched its membership collapse and its finances disintegrate, still the well-wishers keep reciting the mantra that Catholic participation will exponentially increase if they do likewise.
This isn't about the health of the Church, though, it's about liberals wanting the Church to endorse their behavior.
Remember, the opposite of love isn't hate, it's indifference. Liberals hate the Church only because they want to be accepted by it and can't so long as it stays true to its mission.