As a practicing Roman Catholic, I have had the chance to follow Pope Francis from the day he ascended to Papacy and I embraced his philosophy of: making opportunities available even to those were previously shunned.The Pope says that we should walk together and that we should not exclude anyone (Maike Hickson. 2016). I respected the Pope when he realized that he was not going to make impacting change within the Roman Catholic Church if he himself could not sacrifice or do away with some of the cultures of the Church that are a show off of splendid regalia bedecked with gold but impotent in feeding the hungry or housing the homeless. The Roman Catholic religion played a key role in education, invention, art, architecture and socialism. However, as an institution it is also looked upon, copied as well as vilified by many. The Pope and the way he has dealt with criticism is what fascinates me. His mature approach and readiness to face issues as they present themselves is what I am going to write about. Examples that come to mind include: the hosting of the Syrian refugees who saw themselves as moslems first and humans second. Yet, the Pope saw human beings with needs like any other and provided them opportunities for a shelter at Sant’Egidio (Paula Cocozza. 2016). Having lunch at the Casa Santa Marta, the hotel on Vatican grounds where Francis resides with 21 Syrian refugees (Crux Staff. 2016) is another example. The present crises of displacement, environmental catastrophes, famine, wars and poverty are some of the issues the Pope is tackling. His pronouncements on issues like Climate change have galvanized many to do something. Pope Francis’s in his encyclical on ecology, Laudato Si, says that climate change is real and mainly “a result of human activity” (Pope Francis Encyclical and Climate Change). As far as world views go, the traditional Catholic teaching on marriage and the family has reared its head again with many questions are being raised around it. Can remarried divorcees be married in two valid marriages at the same time? The Amoris Laetitia, is a letter the Pope wrote in which he explained why the Church should let divorced but remarried Roman Catholics play major roles in the Church. It is claimed that the letter leaves open the answer to this crucial question that it itself has provoked. The letter points out Non-sacramental, natural marriage can also be, in the eyes of the Church, a valid marriage, for example in the case of a mixed marriage. This has brought about a rift even far deeper than that caused when the Pope mentioned homosexuality in the same breath with forgiving. Many feel a betrayal and that the pope may be personally virtuous, but he is naive and a wicked antipope carrying on in positions of authority and influence (akaCatholic). Others, have taken a go slow approach that allows the Pope to make decisions as the Spiritual Head of the Roman Catholic Church (Maike Hickson.2016). Pope Francis affirms mercy and love. He said that unity is created on the move because unity is a grace we need to ask for. The Gospel shifts the axis of Christianity away from a certain kind of legalism which can be ideological, towards the Person of God, who became mercy through the incarnation of the Son (Pope Francis). The burning issues that are sure to have impact on a world view are: position of the Pope on his apostolic exhortation on the family, “Amoris Laetitia”; church’s ban on communion for divorced Catholics in new (and adulterous) marriages; and church’s traditional opposition to situation ethics (Ross Douthat. 2016). Religion has influenced the way I position myself and my spirituality. Religion improved on my culture positions and it affirmed my work ethics and relationships with other people. Because I believe relationships are a means of communication, I dare say the synergy of my personal culture and religion influence the way I relate and communicate with other people.
akaCatholic. BREAKING: Francis responds to the dubia. Retrieved from: https://akacatholic.com/breaking-francis-responds-to-the-dubia/. Retrieved on November 29th 2016.
Paula Cocozza. 2016. What happened to the 12 Syrian refugees rescued by the pope? Retrieved from: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/may/25/what-happened-pope-francis-syrian-refugees-rescued-lesbos-vatican-rome. Retrieved on November 29th 2016.
Crux Staff. 2016. Pope has lunch with Syrian refugees he brought to Rome. Retrieved from: https://cruxnow.com/vatican/2016/08/11/pope-lunch-syrian-refugees-brought-rome/. Retrieved on November 29th 2016.
Maike Hickson. 2016. Confusion, Conflict, and Chaos Increase in the Wake of the Dubia. Retrieved from: http://www.onepeterfive.com/confusion-conflict-and-chaos-increase-in-the-wake-of-the-dubia/. Retrieved on November 29th 2016.
Maike Hickson. 2016. Cardinal Hummes: On the Dubia, “The Whole College of Cardinals is With” the Pope. Retrieved from: http://www.onepeterfive.com/cardinal-hummes-on-the-dubia-the-whole-college-of-cardinals-is-with-the-pope/. Retrieved on November 29th 2016.
Pope Francis. La Stampa. Francis:“The Church is not a football team in search of fans”. Retrieved from: http://www.lastampa.it/2016/11/18/vaticaninsider/eng/inquiries-and-interviews/francisthe-church-is-not-a-football-team-in-search-of-fans-lyrmN8s0Uu3zpMsmG730VO/pagina.html. Retrieved on November 29th 2016.
Pope Francis Encyclical and Climate Change.Retrieved from: http://www.catholicclimatecovenant.org/encyclical. Retrieved on November 29th 2016.
Ross Douthat. 2016. His Holiness Declines to Answer. Retrieved from: http://www.nytimes.com/2016/11/26/opinion/sunday/his-holiness-declines-to-answer.html?_r=0. Retrieved on November 29th 2016.