I saw a demographic assessment of Catholicism worldwide recently and from the looks of the gaps in membership, he is trying to reach out to young people who are the most disengaged segment of the demographic. They are joining in lower numbers and are not attending church. Given that, he has to have a more open philosophy.
I'm glad that your efforts at dialogue have remained cordial. It sounds like an interesting conversation - worthy of 3D. It's too bad you can't get together face-to-face with your group of friends and discuss it. over...not coffee. (We do lemonade at family gatherings.)