Is Pope Francis going to save the Catholic Church?
Last March, the Pontiff was chosen to lead the world’s 1.2 billion Roman Catholics, and his brief reign has generated excitement and interest among Christians and non-Christians alike.
Admirers – and critics – have called the new spiritual leader a revolutionary.
And here are some of the reasons Pope Francis is renewing hope for the church, and was named “Person of the Year” by Time magazine:
He spoke out against frivolous spending of the church.
He embraced and kissed Vinicio Rivo, a man disfigured by neurofibromatosis.
He denounced judgement on the homosexual community.
He snuck out of the vatican to feed the homeless, and even invited some to his birthday dinner. As well, he auctioned his motorcycle to benefit the homeless.
He held a major ceremony at the chapel of a youth prison where he washed and kissed the feet of 12 young offenders.
He urged the protection of the Amazon Rainforest.
He acknowledged that atheists can be good people.
He condemned the capitalist system, and has even been called a Marxist for saying that the rich should give to the poor.
He fought child abuse and amended Vatican law to make sexual abuse of children a crime. He also established a committee to fight abuse.
He took part in a selfie with some youth.
He spoke out against the Church’s “obsession” with abortion, gay marriage and contraception.
Just to give my two bits, as a self-proclaimed “Recovering Catholic,” this guy really gives me hope!
I don’t mean to offend with the word “Recovering” — it’s just that I truly feel that way. Having been raised in the faith since birth, I’ve been privy to my fair share of guilt and shame.
“Lord, I am not worthy to receive you, but only say the word and I shall be healed,” I was taught to say every Sunday morning.
Yes, once a week.
Honestly, the dogma killed it for me. Truth be told, there were just too many rules and discriminatory judgements in the church, and not enough God for me.
Love they neighbor as you love thyself — unless, of course, they are gay? Or a sinner?
Don’t eat meat on Fridays — until a new Pope changes his mind and says it is no longer a sin. Or live your life to get into heaven, not purgatory or hell — until a new Pope says there is no such thing as Purgatory after all?
I could go on and on about the reasons that I left the church, but I am both shocked and humbled to say that Pope Francis brings me hope for equality in the Roman Catholic Church.
A Pontiff who participates in selfies with the youth? Yes, please! A Roman Catholic leader who speaks out on homosexual rights? That’s what I’m talkin’ about!
In a dream world, I would like to see women’s rights addressed as well.
On Monday (January 13), Pope Francis called abortion “horrific,” adding that it is evidence of a pervasive “throwaway culture” that is a threat to world peace.
“Unfortunately, what is thrown away is not only food or disposable objects, but often human beings themselves, who are discarded as if they were unnecessary,” the Pope said. “It is horrific just to think that there are children, victims of abortion, who will never see the light of day.”
Until now, Francis has generally limited his statement about abortion, saying church teaching is well known and that he prefers to speak less about the church’s moralizing rules and more about its positive, welcoming message.
As a strong pro-choice advocate, it’s hard to hear those “horrific” comments. That said, I fully admit that Pope Francis brings me hope for change in the Catholic Church, and I am holding the vision for a religion that puts human dignity, human rights and spiritual freedom at the forefront.