It’s been six months since Pope Francis was anointed and the man is making waves. For starters, you can follow him on twitter here, which is pretty cool. Apart from being the first pope with a twitter account, he recently came out and said the church is obsessed with abortion, gay marriage, and contraception and that he will avoid delving further into those divisive issues. His comments shocked the world. Some were excited that one of the foremost world leaders is going to refrain from conversations promoting the restricting human rights. Others were dismayed by this iconoclastic viewpoint. The progressive pope articulated the church should be a home for all and criticized it for putting orthodox views before love and focusing on controversial issues when the larger goal of serving others was being neglected.
To put his remarks in the proper context he also said, “I see the church as a field hospital in battle, it is useless to ask a seriously injured person if he has high cholesterol, and about the level of his blood sugars. You have to heal his wounds. Then we can talk about everything else.” Here the Pope indicates those controversial topics are still troubling issues the church needs to address, but that they aren’t the current priority since there are more pressing issues that need to be resolved.
This is progress to be clear, but the Pope has not yet changed his view on the topics of abortion, contraception, and gay marriage. He is merely reminding people that the church should be a place of love and requested that they tone down the hate and stop alienating others who want to be members, which is the larger issue for the Church right now. To be clear, a complete turnaround on what has been a steadfast church view would be shocking to the masses and would do more harm than good, so I like this approach as a first step. I bet Pope Francis would have been a great politician and I mean that as a compliment. The real test of his personal views and the direction he will lead the church will be what his next step in this matter will be.
I thought his line, “Who am I to judge?” was extremely powerful. I read that as, if I don’t have the power to judge people on these issues, none of you do. I hope that message resonates throughout the masses and the church. Be depriving himself of this ability, he deprives all those below him of the same ability at the same time. This was a very powerful and impressive move. Unfortunately, many of his priests in the United States and across the world disagreed with him and took umbrage at his statements. For a first step in a long process, this was brilliant.