Pope Francis has sparked controversy since his very first day as pope of the Roman Catholic Church. People love him or hate him. There doesn’t seem to be much middle ground. The outspokenness of Pope Francis regarding his liberal opinions on hot topics such as homosexuality, birth control, and Christianity in general have caused waves of shock throughout the world.
According to Bio, Pope Francis is the first pope to hail from the Americas, the first non-European, and first Jesuit priest. That’s a lot of firsts for a religion widely known for its strictly traditional style.
Pope Francis did not stop there. Catholicism has always been based on ritual and tradition from the past. Many of their laws and rules have not changed more than slightly in the last 2000-plus years. Pope Francis embraces a more relaxed view. All of a sudden, this new pope arrives with a tolerant outlook and charismatic style, which has angered and confused those with stricter, old-fashioned views.
And yet, there has been a charismatic movement making its way through the Catholic body. Many people are ready for change; it seems as though Pope Francis will deliver. Jesus is full of love, compassion, and forgiveness. Why should the pope be any different?
“When man thinks only of himself… permits himself to be captivated by the idols of dominion and power… Then the door opens to violence, indifference and conflict. Leave behind the self-interest that hardens your heart, overcome the indifference that makes your heart insensitive towards others, conquer your deadly reasoning, and open yourself to dialogue and reconciliation.”
Due to assassination attempts, previous popes had begun taking high security measures, such as bullet proof windows on the specialized vehicle, “the popemobile.” Pope Francis would have none of that, however. He did not want an enclosed vehicle at all. He much prefers open transportation so he might touch and pray for his followers. Again, this is a quality that Jesus Himself employed.
In fact, earlier this week Pope Francis visited the Philippines, where he traveled in a “jeepney” minibus. The pope reportedly liked the jeepney because it is used by common people, and allowed him the freedom for frequent stops to kiss and bless babies.
We who are Christians, members of God’s family, are called to go out to the needy and to serve them.
— Pope Francis (@Pontifex) January 18, 2015
Issues such as homosexuality and birth control have always been met with criticism in the Catholic church, and are expressly forbidden. Pope Francis shows remarkably compassionate feelings toward gay people. Though it may have been taken out of context, his message seems quite clear.
“If someone is gay and he searches for the Lord and has good will, who am I to judge?”
And what about birth control? “Good Catholic families” were supposed to be fruitful and multiply. Pope Francis implies that having too many children is irresponsible. As CNN reports, the pope does not mean that artificial forms of birth control are acceptable, only natural methods which are allowed by the church.
Although Pope Francis is certainly more liberal than the popes of the past, it is obvious that he embodies the love of Jesus Christ. What are your feelings about Pope Francis and his radical views?
[Image via Kinda Catholic]