Last Thursday, an interview conducted with Pope Francis was released in various Jesuit publications around the globe producing quite a stir within the Roman Catholic Church. In it, Pope Francis criticized the church for becoming excessively engrossed in matters of sexual morality, specifically in concern to same-sex marriage.
After reading the interview I have one thing to say to Pope Francis: Thank you.
Thank you for putting the focus of the church on love instead of dogmatic teachings. Thank you for once again inducing hope in those with more liberal beliefs. Thank you for not ostracizing a group of people based on who they love much like previous papacies have.
I find that I am not alone in these feelings of gratitude. In the days following the publication of the interview, various social media networks were filled with statuses containing similar sentiments of appreciation. The pope speaking of an institution that wants to see the inherent good in people of all lifestyles and that desires morality over doctrine is a church people are jubilant to be a part of.
Pope Francis stated in his interview, “it is not possible to interfere spiritually in the life of a person.” This is a sentiment I hope to see carried over to the U.S. government.
Discussions between politicians over the validity of same-sex marriage have been going on for decades and it is time for it to come to an end. If the pope does not find it necessary to concern himself with the private, sexual relations between consenting adults, then there is no need for anyone else to. I have never been able to comprehend why certain members in the government, or regular citizens for that matter, feel they have the authority to deny homosexual couples the right to marry and enjoy other basic rights that are unquestionably given to heterosexual couples.
However, the pope’s recent remarks and his wild popularity among American Catholics have me optimistic that an even greater step towards equality can be achieved.
Another reason for buoyancy is that these remarks have been released soon after the landmark Supreme Court decisions of Hollingsworth vs. Perry and United States vs. Windsor. Following these decisions in June, polls on major news outlets such as CBS and USA Today report over 50 percent of the American population is in support of gay marriage, and the number continues to rise.
According to the Senate’s demographic report for this current session, “Roman Catholics account for the largest single religious denomination” in the 113th Congress. If Pope Francis continues to maintain the same level of influence he currently has, then having this many lawmakers of Catholic faith may turn out to be beneficial for same-sex couples.
After only six months in his papacy, Pope Francis has already begun to challenge the status quo set by his predecessors and the Curia, the Vatican governing hierarchy.
The tide is already rapidly turning in America in concern to same-sex couples and the Pope’s statement will only fuel the changes to come.