Saturday, September 21, 2013
Breathing Fresh Air
I like Pope Francis. I probably shouldn't be surprised, because he's chosen his papal name from my second-favourite saint, he's learned, and he has consistantly, right from the get-go, been about as humble as you can when you're the leader of a billion people and nominal inheritor of one of the richest organizations on the planet.
Yeah, yeah, I know, most of the wealth of the Church is balanced in liabilities, but the opulence remains, which is the key idea here in my mind. The world views the church as having incredible wealth because it has what is essentially the largest collection of objects d'art in the western world. And so far from what I have seen, His Holiness forgoes all but what is mandatory. The day of or after his election he walked to the hotel where the cardinals had been staying during the selection process and personally collected his bags before taking them to the papal residence.
He also seems, generally, as much as I can say this about any figure so distantly removed from my actual life, to be a genuinely good guy. I almost find it telling that the Catholic Blogging World (which makes up a solid 80% of my 5-author-long blogroll) seems to have left his various pronouncements and declarations well enough alone.
He's the first pope in a long time I've seen appear in CBC articles without attachment to scandal but with such frequency, and I'm speaking out of a place and a time where a once very-catholic locality is being riven by scandal. I think that's because he reflects a lot more closely what the younger crowd, myself included, think that catholic Christianity should be. "The church has sometimes locked itself up in small-minded rules," the Pope says, "But the most important thing is the proclamation that Jesus Christ has saved you. And the ministers of the church must be ministers of mercy above all."
I've drawn the quote from an article that discusses a very long, very broad-based interview that the Holy Father recently gave the print media. He's done everything I think the progressive movement within the Church has wanted. He reaffirmed church teaching on homosexuality and abortion, while at the same time more-or-less lambasting us all for focusing too much attention on too small of issues.
"It is useless to ask an injured person about his cholesterol and his blood sugars. We have to heal his wounds first, before we move on to the other matters."
So, yeah, there's still a fundamental denial of science in that everyone who is gay is born gay. Still, when asked about the prevalence of homosexuals in the priesthood his response was succinct. "Who am I to judge?"
Rumours fly around of the possibility of doctrinal changes regarding the priesthood - the possibility of allowing a married priesthood has come up now twice in my circles. This is a very controversial pope, and secretly, I couldn't be happier about that.