04.08.2016 01:50 PM

Catholic church becoming more, well, catholic

“Catholic,” as I am sure you know, means “universal.” That is, it is supposed to embrace everyone, everywhere – in every circumstance. Universal.

My Pope – I feel safe, for the first time in my life, using a possessive in that way – apparently agrees:

ROME — In a broad proclamation on family life, Pope Francis on Friday called for the Roman Catholic Church to be more welcoming and less judgmental, and he seemingly signaled a pastoral path for divorced and remarried Catholics to receive holy communion.

The 256-page document — known as an apostolic exhortation and titled “Amoris Laetitia,” Latin for “The Joy of Love” — calls for priests to welcome single parents, gay people and unmarried straight couples who are living together.

“A pastor cannot feel that it is enough to simply apply moral laws to those living in ‘irregular’ situations, as if they were stones to throw at people’s lives,” he wrote.

I don’t think the document is as positive as the Times report suggests it is, in respect of LGBT people – but give this Pope some more time, he will get there.  After all: he has moved the Church further in the three years of his papcy than it had moved in the 300 years that preceded his arrival.

As a divorced Catholic, I’m happy to see a Pope who finally gets it.  In effect, he is encouraging some creative priest-shopping: find one who will listen to you, and who will act.  (Can such priests be found? Well, yes: I was married by a gay priest who assisted young women with unwanted pregnancies.  And he later died of AIDS. So, yes.)

The Church, as noted, is supposed to be universal.  Pope Francis is making that word finally mean something to those of us who have been waiting.  Thank God, as they say.




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    terence quinn says:

    The next step should be the ability of priests to marry. Every other religion allows their ministers to marry and the Catholic church should be no different.

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    Maps Onburt says:

    Anyone arguing that the church can’t change to reflect changes in society is making the same argument as radical (or frankly even normal) Islam and we’ve seen what happens when you take ancient words from “holy books” into modern context. I’m an orthodox atheist but I applaud the Pope for doing more to bring the Catholic Church into the 21st century than anyone before him. He has a reasoned position that won’t hurt the church in grabbing new members from growing countries such as in Africa while accommodating Europe and North America – and even South America. Bravo.

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