Didn’t expect myself to be choosing a Pope for Fearless Friday but here we are… As a disclaimer, my knowledge of the Catholic religion and structure of leadership is minimal. All I know is that the Pope is a big deal fella and the things he does impacts the religion worldwide.
Well, let’s talk about the “Amoris Laetitia” I guess it’s Latin for “The Joy of Love.” After two years of self-examination, earlier today the Pope released an important document outlining “family issues.” Catholics around the world filled out lengthy questionnaires to determine whether or not the Catholic church meets their families’ needs.
Pope Francis is a left leaning Catholic which gave religious liberals hope that he might start to shift antiquated beliefs to fit today’s society. One of my biggest criticisms of modern religion is that it never adapts; they’re still following a system of beliefs established in an old society. I would love to see a major religion address issues like birth control, same sex marriage, abortions etc… What precedent might this set? Will other religions be forced to do the same? At least we’re starting a conversation.
Though the document did not go so far as to address birth control or abortions, there are subtle victories within it.
One of the issues addressed in the document was the cessation of the phrase “living in sin” to describe irregular living situations. This is a big win!!! As someone who is currently “living in sin” with a boyfriend with whom I share a bed… Thank you. The Pope says in this document that the church needs to stop applying moral laws as if they were “stones to throw at a person’s life.” HELL YES!! Yet another issue I have with modern religion, addressed. I get that you have moral guidelines to live by, but please don’t force them upon me.
My next favorite part is that the Pope addresses SEX ED!!! He admits that children must be educated on sex and sexuality. Rather than simplifying it and withholding information he says that children need to understand sex “within the broader framework of an education for love and mutual self-giving.” Mutual self-giving. I like that. I mean, granted he doesn’t mention sex for pleasure… Or the fact that you won’t burn alive if you have sex before marriage. But hey, requiring sexual education would be a step in the right direction!!!
Of course, he didn’t go so far as to allow gay marriage within the church but he does call for Catholics to respect the LGBT community. The direct quote is that a homosexual person needs to be “respected in his or her dignity and treated with consideration, and ‘every sign of unjust discrimination’ is to be carefully avoided, particularly any form of aggression or violence.” It pisses me off that they won’t budge on this issue, but it’s only a matter of time. As frustrating as it is, this is a good start.
The major victory in this document is regarding the Catholic policy on disallowing divorced from receiving communion. According to the Catholic church, marriage is indissoluble… HAH! With a divorce rate in the U.S alone of 40-50% the chance of your marriage being “indissoluble” is up to the flip of a coin. The Pope opens the door for Catholics to use their “moral judgment” in specific situations, which isn’t anything EXPLICIT but take the dubble-ya where you can, right?
While the document doesn’t go nearly as far as I wish it had (because my opinion matters), sometimes progress is slow to move. Especially when you’re following a set of beliefs written a comically long time ago. Pope Francis is dealing with extremely touchy subjects that define the religion as it stands. If there is hope for change, it lies with him. It will move slow, but change is starting.
So is he really fearless? Even though the document hides from making controversial statements? Yes. The document’s theme is an important one: Acceptance. Our lives can’t be defined by rules written in black and white. You can never REALLY understand another person’s situation, ruling with rigidity on all issues isn’t realistic.
Fuck yeah Pope Francis, you’re fearless for being a reasonable human being!
“I’m the freakin’ Pope”