March 19, 2013 at 6:30 AM
Choice of Pope Francis may mean shift for Catholic Church
Growth out of orthodoxy
The article regarding Seattle Catholics and the election of Pope Francis begins with the repeatedly mistaken assumption among the progressive Catholic community that our new pope should conform to their thinking, with strong hopes that the city-culture will emerge triumphant [“Seattle Catholics toast new pope,” page one, March 14].
As laymen we take no vow of obedience, but we should have a solid understanding of what and why the church teaches. As a convert who grew up in the Seattle area, I have seen very little evidence of this, hence a bafflement of orthodoxy. Vitality and growth springs from this orthodoxy; others disperse.
–Michael Acheson, Port Angeles
De-emphasis on misogyny, homophobia?
Do progressive Catholics (the large majority of the laity in North America) find a ray of hope that Pope Francis will finally address the myriad serious problems that afflict the church [“Pope of many firsts,” page one, March 14]?
I find it refreshing that the new pope will continue to prioritize service to the poor as he has done in Argentina. I hope that means a marked de-emphasis on the church’s obsession with the “pelvic issues” of gender and sexuality. Perhaps that de-emphasis will create space for respectful, faith-informed dialogue on women priests, married priests, contraception, sexual abuse and the full participation of gay, lesbian and transgender persons in the church.
At the heart of the church’s dysfunction is its outdated, discredited misogyny — the fear of the feminine and disrespect for women. Were women and married clergy to comprise the majority of the clergy and hierarchy, does anyone think that the sexual-abuse crisis and cover-up could have occurred? Misogyny and homophobia are two sides of the same coin; without resolving the former, the latter cannot be addressed.
It will take time, but Pope Francis’ Jesuit values of academic rigor and service to the poor do give me some hope for much-needed church reform and revitalization.
–Leo N. Egashira, Seattle
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