Wednesday, May 28, 2014
Pope Francis: One Year Later
It's now been a little over a year since the world was introduced to Pope Francis. While it is still too early to draw any definitive conclusions about his papacy, I wanted to share some tentative thoughts.
1) The importance of evangelization. Pope Francis, as indicated by his apostolic exhortation, is making evangelization the hallmark of his papacy. Included in this emphasis is a stress on the person of Jesus Christ, love of neighbor, and the preferential option for the poor. Additionally, there should be less emphasis on abortion, birth control, and homosexuality. These are moral issues that are of secondary importance in the Gospel message.
2) Abortion and women priests are where he draws the line. His exhortation made clear that there will be no change on these two issues. Rumors have indicated that the pope is open to married priests in the Roman rite, that he is open to the reception of eucharist by remarried Catholics, and that he has considered civil unions as an option for gay and lesbians, but abortion and women priests are off the table. Even in the Milwaukee area, we have had a priest that was recently censured for concelebrating mass with a woman priest.
3) He might actually do something about the clergy sexual abuse scandal. While Pope Francis has not done much about the clergy sexual abuse scandal so far, he had indicated that in the coming months, a zero-tolerance rule may be implemented world wide against clergy with credible allegations of abuse. He also plans on meeting with some victims of sexual abuse. Which victims he will meet with and how they are selected should (and will) fall under public scrutiny. Pope Francis has thus far created a positive image for himself and the direction of the Catholic Church, but his actions on sexual abuse will define his papacy for years to come.
A Faithful Catholic