For years, the Catholic Church has focused on issues such as gay marriage and contraceptive use. However, Pope Francis wants everyone to know that this is not what Catholics should always be concerned with because it is taking away the meaning of Jesus’ real message, which is love and acceptance.
Over the summer, the pope made a comment regarding homosexuality saying, “If someone is gay and he searches for the Lord and has goodwill, who am I to judge?” Since the beginning of Catholicism, never has a pope made a comment about being OK with homosexuality.
Pope Francis is trying to get Catholics out of their comfort zone and to stop obsessing over issues that have been argued against for years. In a recent interview with “America,” a Catholic weekly magazine, he explains that “the church’s pastoral ministry cannot be obsessed with the transmission of a disjointed multitude of doctrines to be imposed insistently. We have to find a new balance.”
Pope Francis has also addressed abortion and confession in the church. He tells the story of a woman whose marriage fails and who has an abortion. She eventually remarries and has five children, but still feels bad about her past. The woman goes to the church to confess and move past her guilt. The confessor cannot just condemn her, but instead he comforts her and helps her find a way to keep going.
Pope Francis goes on to say, “We cannot insist only on issues related to abortion, gay marriage and the use of contraceptive methods. This is not possible. I have not spoken much about these things, and I was reprimanded for that. But when we speak about these issues, we have to talk about them in a context.”
The pope is not at all trying to change the Catholic Church nor is he saying we should never speak of these issues. Rather, he does not want the church to continue being caught up with them. While many Catholics might not agree, but this could be a huge step forward for the Church.
Our society has continued to evolve in regards to these issues as more states are legalizing gay marriage. Yet the Catholic Church still maintains the same stance it has always had: against gay rights.
An article in The New York Times made a good point concerning liberal Catholics who might have begun to feel they did not have a place in the Church anymore.
It read, “His words evoked gratitude and hope from many liberal Catholics who had felt left out in the cold during the papacies of Benedict and his predecessor, John Paul II, which together lasted 35 years.”
But, many conservative Catholics are not fond of the way the pope is addressing these topics. Pope Francis claimed he found it “amazing” to read complaint letters on the “lack of orthodoxy.”
The question is, how will the pope find the perfect balance between each party? It’s hard to say right now. But, he does seem to be doing a great job trying to reach out to the entire Catholic community as a whole, rather than just accepting a handful of people.
This editorial board believes that Pope Francis is doing a fine job respecting all who join the Catholic Church and having them feel as if they are part of the community. His attitude is refreshing and something the church has needed for a long time.