Friday, March 15, 2013

Pope Francis

Even a Legal Skills blog can’t ignore the election of a new Pope. The personality and commitments of a new pope influence not just the church, but the rest of the world. Here, we have a pope with proven compassion for the poor.

As a liberal practicing Catholic, I knew it was too much to hope for a pope that would revise the church’s official stand on certain doctrinal issues, including gender issues and sexual morality, and my opinion was confirmed. However, a compassionate person may begin to understand the views of others and the pain that others feel. In any case, day-to-day Catholics tend to follow their own hearts on these issues anyway.

Let me recommend a column by the liberal evangelist Jim Wallis, also a prominent religious author and editor-in-chief of Sojourners magazine. His column contains two quotations of the Pope, then Cardinal:

"We live in the most unequal part of the world, which has grown the most yet reduced misery the least," said Bergoglio at a 2007 Latin American bishops meeting, according to National Catholic Reporter. "The unjust distribution of goods persists, creating a situation of social sin that cries out to Heaven and limits the possibilities of a fuller life for so many of our brothers."

The second was about clerical privilege and insular church hierarchy. That ecclesial isolation has set the terms of the Catholic Church’s reputation and behavior for far too long.

The new pope said:

"We have to avoid the spiritual sickness of a self-referential church. It's true that when you get out into the street, as happens to every man and woman, there can be accidents. However, if the church remains closed in on itself, self-referential, it gets old. Between a church that suffers accidents in the street, and a church that's sick because it's self-referential, I have no doubts about preferring the former."

Here is a link to the column.


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