When we first received our new pope, I was pleasantly surprised to see the priority he placed on the poor and less fortunate of society, even going so far as to demonstrate (at least recently) unprecedented refusal of the normal papal accommodations. Of course, I didn’t set my hopes too high, considering the things he’s said in the past about atheism, homosexuality, and abortion, but I wasn’t about to get outraged over his maintaining the status quo in that regard.
Looks like that might even be changing too. First were his comments about atheists a few months ago that sounded downright tolerant and inclusive (at least we’re not necessarily responsible for all of the problems in the world anymore), and now this latest nonsense about the priorities of the church being somewhat misplaced …
In one of the first lengthy interviews he has given since ascending to the papacy in March, Pope Francis said he believes the Catholic Church has grown too “obsessed” with social issues like abortion, birth control, and gay marriage. The pope’s statement is a sharp departure from many of the other leaders in the Church, who have recently been pressuring him to take a stronger stance on those issues.
This is something that not only the leadership within the Catholic Church needs to hear, but the entirety of the conservative / evangelical Christian population as well. The Christian faith, over the last 20 years, has gotten far worse about those parts of the bible it really wants to think about … so much so that I’m firmly convinced that if a new version were to come out, there would be only two books: Gays and Girls. Everything else can clearly go to pot, since the only topics they rant about these days have to do with the terrible holocaust of abortion, the “science” behind the Pill’s abortifacient properties, and the crumbling of our First Amendment rights at the hands of the Homosexual Agenda. You’d think with all of these true, moral Christians in positions of power paying for the re-election campaigns of so many in the GOP, a few of them would talk about why the greatest nation in the world is allowing so many people to go hungry and homeless.
Given some of my aforementioned issues with Pope Francis, it’s not likely I’ll ever really warm up to the guy … but I do give him credit in that I think he’s moving in the right direction. His increasingly inclusive attitude (again, involving the poor, women, Muslims, and non-believers) provides an example of where the Catholic Church needs to be in terms of the way it interacts with the rest of the world as well as the priorities it needs to have if it’s to survive to the end of this century. Whether they choose to follow or ignore him remains to be seen, but given the degree to which most American Catholics align with the pope’s perspective on the church’s priorities, I think the chances are pretty good that things will change.