Earlier this month, Pope Francis criticized priests who seem to fixate exclusively on sexual sins:
One dimension of clericalism is the exclusive moral fixation on the sixth commandment. Once a Jesuit, a great Jesuit, told me to be careful in giving absolution, because the most serious sins are those that are more angelical: pride, arrogance, dominion… And the least serious are those that are less angelical, such as greed and lust. We focus on sex and then we do not give weight to social injustice, slander, gossip and lies. The Church today needs a profound conversion in this area.
A lot of Catholics, especially priests who are trying their hardest, were offended by the pope’s comments – particularly a comment right before this in which he seemed to mock “young priests all stiff in black cassocks and hats in the shape of the planet Saturn on their heads,” accusing them (apparently on the basis of their clerical attire) of rigidity, and saying “Behind all the rigid clericalism there are serious problems.”
But on his particular point about the place of sexuality morality, I think Pope Francis is right, and that he’s been misunderstood. The Catholics I’ve seen criticize him online for the comments seem to read him as (a) objecting to priests who preach the truth about human sexuality, (b) treating the Church’s sexual morality as no big deal, or (c) being tone-deaf on the sexual abuse crisis (which was caused in no small part by bishops and priests shrugging off sexual abuse as no big deal). But the pope is right: there are Catholics who seem to treat the worst sins one can commit as the sins of the flesh, and that’s just not something orthodox Christianity has ever taught.
C.S. Lewis made almost the exact same point in Mere Christianity, although I think Lewis’ explanation may be clearer.