by CAROLINE GAVURA Section Editor
Only six months into his papacy, Pope Francis has already taken the Roman Catholic Church by storm, claiming that the church is “obsessed” with abortion, gay marriage, and contraception.
He has shamed the church for focusing on issues such as gay marriage instead of helping the poor and starving, for whom he often sympathizes.
“If someone is gay and he searches for the Lord and has good will, who am I to judge?” said Francis when reporters asked for his opinion on homosexuality.
Known for his acts of humility, such as washing and kissing the feet of his followers and taking pictures with fans, Francis is said to be merciful in comparison to his predecessor, Pope Benedict XVI.
While Benedict had hoped for a smaller, more pure church, Francis has repeatedly said he wants the church to be a “home for all” that is all inclusive.
“We have to find a new balance,” the pope said, “otherwise even the moral edifice of the church is likely to fall like a house of cards, losing the freshness and fragrance of the gospel.”
Pope Francis’s words have inspired many liberal Catholics to return to the church after having lost interest during the 35 years Pope Benedict XVI and his predecessor Pope John Paul II were in charge.
Traditionalist Catholics, who have been fighting against artificial conception, same-sex marriage, and abortion for years, have been extremely defensive.
Some Catholic advocacy groups and even some bishops have openly discussed their displeasure with Pope Francis’s silence on matters such as abortion.
“Nobody should try to use the words of the pope to minimize the urgent need to preach and teach about abortion,” said the Rev. Frank Parone, the national director of Priests for life, who spoke on “the priority of the abortion issue” at a Vatican conference.
Whether all Catholics like it or not, Francis is bringing monumental change to the Roman Catholic Church.
“I used to go to church a lot, but because of the controversy and scandals relating to Pope Benedict XVI, I was confused as to what morals the church really had. Now that Pope Francis is in charge, he is keeping the church current and available to all people, which I personally really like,” said an anonymous student.
Many people agree with that statement, and feel that change is good. Catholicism is known for being traditional when it comes to values, and now Pope Francis is trying to use a new refreshing approach to call forth liberal Catholics and young people.
“Although I am not a Catholic, I appreciate Pope Francis’s words on homosexuality and contraception. People who are apart of the Roman Catholic church have felt a certain way about these issues for a long time. Maybe what Francis is saying will help them change their perspective and become more open minded,” said junior Cori Haider.
What is your opinion on the new pope?