Steering clear of discussions about religion and politics if you want to avoid confrontation is age-old, sage advice, but keeping the peace may have just gotten easier. That's because Pope Francis' most recent statement is one many of us can agree on ...
Six months into his papacy, Francis has laid out his vision for the church and his priorities in an interview with La Civilta Cattolica, the Italian Jesuit magazine. The lengthy, in-depth discussion was published today in Jesuit journals in 16 countries, including America magazine in the U.S., and the biggest takeaway by far is the Pope's warning that the Catholic Church's moral structure might "fall like a house of cards" if it doesn't dial down the stringent rules on abortion, homosexuality, and contraception. Whoa! And that's not all.
Pope Francis also emphasized what he believes is the need to make the church a more merciful, welcoming place for all. And he lamented his belief that "the church sometimes has locked itself up in small things, in small-minded rules." He also addressed homosexuality specifically by saying:
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? We must always consider the person. Here we enter into the mystery of the human being.
Wow! It's pretty groundbreaking that he's going there. Especially in light of the fact that some bishops in the U.S. have been voicing dismay that Francis hasn't been outspoken about abortion, contraception, and homosexuality. But while Francis acknowledged he had been "reprimanded" for not speaking out on those subject, he asserted that he doesn't have to and "we cannot insist only on" these controversial issues.
Sounds good to me! While it's sure to have some tongues wagging and tsk-ing, the messages Francis is sending sound reflective of more inclusion and compassion. Hopefully it's indicative of him looking to take the church a big humanitarian step forward.
What do you think about the Pope's controversial statement?
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