I was born and raised into a Roman Catholic family. Over the years I’ve found myself at odds with many of the church’s practices, procedures and dogma. As the years have rolled by my disenchantment with the church has lead me to investigate many different spiritual paths. Apparently many of my contemporaries have felt the same way as attendance in many of the world’s organized religions has steadily declined.
In an article on THE HUFFINGTON POST by Author, speaker and Spiritual Teacher, Steve McSwain, dated Feb 29, 2013, points out 6 Questions Christians Should Start Asking Themselves. McSwain raises many intelligent questions about the interpretations of the Scriptures…questions about faith and belief…questions about the many different opinions between Christians themselves about what is correct, what is right. I recommend you read this article and the subsequent follow ups he did also on THE HUFFINGTON POST. Why? It takes me to a place I never thought I’d see in my lifetime and it quite possibly could lead you there as well. I find it an excellent prequel to my thoughts on the new Pope…his holiness Francis.
The new Pope, the father of the Church on Earth, the leader of millions of the faithful has made statements since his arrival, and particularly this past week, that truly opened my eyes and given me hope that the Roman Catholic Church can still be a productive positive influence…can still be part of a better world.
Pope Francis has made it clear that mercy, inclusion and understanding have as great a place in the church’s teachings as do exclusion and judgement. Speaking from the Vatican this week Il Papa said, “Tell me when God looks at a gay person does he endorse the existence of this person with love, or reject and condemn this person? It is necessary to accompany them with mercy”. I was relieved and happy to hear that the Pontiff is moving away from the dogma of intolerance that has pervaded the church’s teachings for to many years. If God, and Jesus, and all the Saints, truly love ALL of their earthly children, how can the Church single out people born with a different orientation than the majority as objects of scorn? Doesn’t it follow that God, who created these children, loves these children as well? Did he create them to reject and abuse them? I think not. Thank you Pope Francis for attempting to nudge the Church along into the 21st Century.
One the issues of gay marriage, abortion and birth control, the Pope made another set of surprising remarks. “We cannot insist on issues related to abortion, gay marriage and the use of contraceptive methods…the teaching of the Church is clear, but its not necessary to talk about these issues all the time.” I am interpreting this to mean that the Pope does not feel that these issues should not be constantly paraded and used as divisive tactics amongst the faithful. Maybe the Church is thinking it is time for a more open approach to these matters and not rely on the heavy handed decrees of years gone by?
On the place of women in the church he said, “Women are asking deep questions that must be addressed”. He added,” The feminine genius is needed wherever we make important decisions.” I cannot remember a Pope making such a clear and progressive pronouncement about the role of women in the present day Church. An excellent and most necessary step forward.
Lastly Pope Francis discussed enforcing Catholic doctrine a key and hotly debated issue over the last 20 years. “Those who always look for disciplinarian solutions…those who long for an exaggerated doctrinal security, those who stubbornly try to recover a past that no longer exists-they have a static and inward directed view of things.” This Pope is a forward thinking man. This Pope in my humble opinion has the necessary mindset to move the Church forward in this century. This Pope has the spiritual tools to do great things.
I wish him every success. May he have the strength and fortitude to carry this heavy burden forward. The Roman Catholic Church has been wracked by scandal and dissent. It has been pulled apart by an unwillingness to move forward into a complicated and sometimes confusing future. Maybe this simple man with the huge heart can heal some of the wounds and create a new atmosphere of welcome..and hopefully a new era for the Church.
- The Philosophy Of Pope Francis – OpEd (eurasiareview.com)
- Pope Francis focuses on the bigger picture in his new interview (ncregister.com)
- Catholics react to pope remarks on gays, abortion (miamiherald.com)