Today Marks the 5 Year Anniversary of Pope Francis’ Papacy—Where Does He Stand?
After replacing actual Sith Lord Pope Benedict XVI, Pope Francis, first of his name, has enjoyed being seen as “The People’s Pope.” Some within the Catholic faith have seen him as a progressive force in the church, while others say he hasn’t done enough. Today is the five-year anniversary of Pope Francis taking on the seat of St. Peter. What has he stood for, what has he stood against. and what hasn’t he done at all?
- While the church has maintained its stance being inherently anti-abortion, Francis has been much more progressive on the issue that previous Popes removing some of the dark stigmas behind it. He did make a statement saying that the church has the policy to protect life “even when its presence is uncomfortable and creates difficulties?” However, he also encouraged priests to “to absolve of the sin of abortion those who have procured it and who, with contrite heart, seek forgiveness for it.” For the non-Catholic and non-religious this might be seen as small potatoes, but if you believe in God and this has been something you have religious conflict over, it is a peace of mind that is important. As someone who is pro-choice, I want to make abortion easier for women and if this makes it easier for some women then it’s a win for me.
- Unsurprising considering the Saint he took his name from, Pope Francis is very pro-environment and protecting our natural resources. “Society, through non-governmental organizations and intermediate groups, must put pressure on governments to develop more rigorous regulations, procedures and controls.”
- Thoughts on imaginary economic fantasies: “…[S]ome people continue to defend trickle-down theories which assume that economic growth, encouraged by a free market, will inevitably succeed in bringing about greater justice and inclusiveness in the world. This opinion, which has never been confirmed by the facts, expresses a crude and naïve trust in the goodness of those wielding economic power and in the sacralized workings of the prevailing economic system.” The only things that trickle down are God’s grace and manana.
- Pope Francis also doesn’t have time for your fear mongering anti-immigration rhetoric. “Not infrequently, the arrival of migrants, displaced persons, asylum-seekers and refugees gives rise to suspicion and hostility. There is a fear that society will become less secure, that identity and culture will be lost, that competition for jobs will become stiffer and even that criminal activity will increase … A change of attitude towards migrants and refugees is needed on the part of everyone, moving away from attitudes of defensiveness and fear.”
- He also is a fan of the Iran deal: “The agreement on the Iranian nuclear program is viewed in a positive light by the Holy See. It constitutes an important outcome of the negotiations carried out so far, although continued efforts and commitment on the part of all involved will be necessary in order for it to bear fruit.”
- “If someone is gay and is searching for the Lord and has good will, then who am I to judge him?” At least in this moment.
The Mixed Messages:
- Francis made comments about the fact that Catholics do not need to “breed” which might sound like pro-birth control (plus most Catholics are on birth control), but it turns into going to your local pastor for help. Close…Francis. So close. “Sorry, some people think that in order to be good Catholics we have to breed like rabbits, right? Responsible parenthood: this is why there are marriage support groups in the Church with people who are experts on such issues; and there are pastors and I know that there are many licit ways out that have helped this.”
- I’m putting Pope Frances’ comments on gay marriage in both areas because while he does say that he believes marriage is between a man and a woman, his comment: “We have to look at different cases and evaluate them in their variety” made some believe he was pro-civil union.
- “Today, in schools they are teaching this to children — to children! — that everyone can choose their gender,” Pope Francis said during his American world tour, walking back from the whole “who am I to judge thing.”
- Pope Francis has been relatively silent on the issue of dealing with the church’s sex abuse scandals. Despite saying there is zero tolerance means nothing in the only consequence is being required to live a “life of prayer and penance.”
What do you think of “The People’s Pope”?
(via NPR, image: ANDREAS SOLARO/AFP/Getty Images)
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