Part 5: 2013-MAR: Pope Francis I's beliefs/teachings.
Laity sends messages to the pope from Toronto, Canada.
Pope Francis I's beliefs and teachings:
As Archbishop of Buenos Aires, he followed the Church's teaching closely, condemning abortions, physician assisted suicide, free distribution of contraceptives, etc. He has followed the Catechism of the Catholic Church by promoting its teachings that persons with a homosexual orientation are intrinsically disordered who should be subject to some forms of discrimination. He is opposed to marriage equality, describing same-sex marriage as "a real and dire anthropological throwback." During 2010, he said in a letter at the time that the government of Argentina was implementing marriage equality:
"Let's not be naïve, we're not talking about a simple political battle; it is a destructive pretension against the plan of God. We are not talking about a mere bill, but rather a machination of the Father of Lies that seeks to confuse and deceive the children of God." 1
The "Father of Lies" is a reference to Satan found in John 8:44.
Argentina's President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner responded that his statements:
"... send us back to medieval times and the Inquisition." 2
In 2010, Argentina became the first country in South America to legalize same-sex marriage. The government also allowed same-sex couples to adopt children. Bergoglio referred to the latter as a form of child abuse.
However, he did support the use of contraception to prevent the spread of STIs.
At the same time he was a defender of the weak and vulnerable. He once told his priests:
"In our ecclesiastical region there are priests who don’t baptize the children of single mothers because they weren’t conceived in the sanctity of marriage. These [priests] are today’s hypocrites. Those who clericalize the Church. Those who separate the people of God from salvation. And this poor girl who, rather than returning the child to sender, had the courage to carry it into the world, must wander from parish to parish so that it’s baptized!" 3
The Roman Catholic Church's problems related to human sexuality are probably going to continue under Pope Francis I's reign. Topics like the ordination of women, making celibacy optional for priests, allowing married persons to be ordained, supporting same-sex marriage, allowing the use of contracepives, allowing abortions in cases of rape, incest, or the imminent death of the mother, allowing masturbation, etc. The gap between the hierarchy and laity in the Americas and Europe will probably continue to widen, even as the population of Catholics in Asia and Africa continues its rapid growth.
Parishioners send messages to Pope Francis I:
The Toronto Star newspaper made a special request to the parishioners at St. Francis of Assisi Church in Toronto at the 10:30 mass. They were to write a one-word message to the Pope of their own creation. The pastor, Rev. Jimmy Zammit described the exercise as:
"... a form of prayer, ... A lot of the time, prayer starts in our hearts. It's not only conscious but sometims we have to dig deeper, to the depths of our being."
Many of the laity wrote words like: "blessings," "peace," "love," "strength," "empathy," "wisdom." But others wrote more challenging words, like "unity," "gender equality," "acceptance," and "change,"
One parishioner wrote "renewal and reformation." She said:
"There has to be a restructuring because of the scandals. To me [Pope Francis] has a striking resemblance to Pope John XXIII and we need something as magnificent as what Pope John did to take us back to our roots, to simplicty and love.
Another wrote "Courage," and said:
"He has a lot to overcome. It’s going to be hard with all the media attention and decline in Catholic attendance around the world. It’s disheartening sometimes."
Another wrote: "Gender Equality." She said:
"I understand why they don’t want priests to marry. That’s fine, devote your life to God. But why not nuns? Why can’t they be priests if they want?"
Another also wrote "courage." In opposition to those of her fellow parishioners who strongly advocate change, she seems to regard the Church's lack of change to be a positive factor. She said:
"He needs courage to help him reassure people and engage people and remind people our values are not societal values ... Societal values are weak and uncertain. Our values, based on Christian virtues are everlasting."
A female high school teacher wrote: "Integrity." and said:
"I see the lack of pride with the Catholic faith. With all the scandals, there’s embarrassment and that leads to nay saying."
Still another woman recalled that in the Catholic Church, some subjects — such as women’s ordination — are not allowed to be discussed. She asked: "What’s safe to say?" 4
Amazon.com, the world's biggest online bookstore, has the following books available on the topic of papal elections that you can safely order:
If a generic Amazon.com ad appears, clicking on your browser's refresh button will usually display a book selection
The following information sources were used to prepare and update the above
essay. The hyperlinks are not necessarily still active today.
- Don Avery, "Pope Francis I: Same-Sex Marriage Is 'A Machination Of The Father Of Lies'," Queerty, 2013-MAR-13, at: http://www.queerty.com/
- Daniel Schwartz, ""Latin American pope brings joy, debate to Argentina. Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio's past during country's 'dirty war' raises questions," CBC News, 2013-MAR-14, at: http://www.cbc.ca/
- Brian Murphy And Michael Warren, "Pope Francis: First pope from Americas austere Jesuit," Associated Press, 2013-MAR-13, at: http://www.thestar.com/
- Leslie Scrivener, "Toronto Catholics express their hopes for Pope Francis — one word at a time," The Toronto Star, 2013-MAR-17, at: http://www.thestar.com/
Copyright © 2013 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Originally posted: 2013-MAR-13
Latest update: 2013-MAR-18
Author: B.A. Robinson