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article imageThe end of the Year of Faith, gays, and the new Pope

By Justin King     Nov 24, 2013 in World
Rome - Today marks the end of the Year of Faith, a Roman Catholic initiative to refocus on the core teachings of Christ. Pope Francis has been visibly leading a quiet reformation attempt within the Church.
Pope Francis’s repeated attempts to bring the Church into the modern era and to refocus on missionary work extends beyond speeches. An early action of the Pope was to replace the traditional ornate throne with a simple white chair. His seat is no longer elevated, and in recent meetings his seat was of the same type as those of the guests. His wardrobe is of a plain appearance, and he reportedly wears simple black pants under his robe to “remind him he is just another priest.”
These small aesthetic changes are indicative of the massive shift being attempted by the Pope to open the Church up to more parishioners. He has publicly stated that the Church is obsessed with gay marriage, abortion, and birth control. He has openly criticized the Church for putting dogma above love and doctrine over service. The statements might have been cast aside as off the cuff remarks taken out of context were it not for the fact that Pope Francis personally reviewed the Italian transcript prior to publication.
Another comment by the Pope was clarified to make certain the public was aware that he was referring to all homosexuals, not just priests when he said
If someone is gay, who searches for the Lord and has goodwill, who am I to judge?
This new direction, while popular among churchgoers, has raised eyebrows and questions from within the church hierarchy. Even Bishops are having a hard time adjusting to the new approach of love and the Pope’s attitude of “Who am I to judge?” A Bishop in Rhode Island, being quoted in a church newspaper, said he was “a little bit disappointed in Pope Francis.”
Pope Francis kisses feet
Pope Francis kisses feet
In a recent interview, the Pope was asked directly “Who is Jorge Mario Bergoglio (His name prior to taking a name for the Papal office)?” He caught the attention of religious leaders worldwide with his response
I do not know what might be the most fitting description.... I am a sinner. This is the most accurate definition. It is not a figure of speech, a literary genre. I am a sinner.
Rather than focusing on sexual orientation or other doctrinal matters, Pope Francis has engaged world problems head on. This month, he hosted a conference attended by more than 100 experts who were tasked with developing actionable proposals to combat human trafficking. More than 30 million people currently live in slavery around the globe.
Not all in the hierarchy of the Church are opposed to this new direction. Archbishop Jose Octavio Ruiz Arenas spoke highly of the new Pope when he said
The personality of Pope Francis, his closeness, his use of language that is simple and profound, his desire to go out and meet people, has captivated people's hearts.
The Holy Spirit knew what he was doing, He wanted to be sure that in the Year of Faith many people who had been far from the church would hear an invitation to respond to the Lord,
Not even a year in to his Papacy, Pope Francis has already assured that his legacy as a reformer is secure.
More about pope francis, Catholic, Gay rights, Birth control, Abortion
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