For years and years, in fact as long as we can remember the Catholic church has bitched about abortion, contraceptives, and homosexuals. Buzz and I sorta agree with the late, great, former Nixon Secretary of Agriculture Earl Butz. When asked about Pope Paul VI's position (no pun intended) on various sexual matters such as birth control and pre-marital sex, Butz responded in a mock Italian accent, "He no playa the game, he no maka the rules."
Now, our new Pope, Francis says the church should back off on beating up the flock over abortion, contraceptives, and gay marriage. It's no longer kool in the Pope Francis' eyes to damn people to hell if they vote for an elected official who supports a woman's right to choose or believes in marriage equality for gays and lesbians. Whether it will work its way down to your local parish remains to be seen.
Francis said, "The church sometimes has locked itself up in small things, in small-minded rules, The most important thing is the first proclamation: Jesus Christ has saved you. And the ministers of the church must be ministers of mercy above all."
One of the problems with Francis' change in direction is the fact that almost all the Cardinals and Bishops in the Catholic Church throughout the world is the fact that they were appointed to their positions by either John Paul II or Benedict XVI. Both of these guys believed in a non-bending and very conservative Catholic church. Their position was "love it or leave it." If you don't tow the line, don't let the door hit you in the ass on the way out of Saint Paul's Cathedral.
We really hope and pray that the 76 year old pontiff lives 'til 100 and is healthy in mind and body. That way, Francis will be able to appoint like minded individuals as the new bishops and new cardinals. These men, and hopefully in a short time, women, will be able to enthusiastically institute the changes in attitude and policy set forth by Francis.
Francis has emphasized that the church should focus on helping those who are less fortune --- the poor, the uneducated, the disabled, etc. in a sense, believing the only reason to look down on anyone is to offer them a helping hand to get up. This is the type of church of which Buzz and I would be proud to be members.
Gotta get to mass.... more in the future.