Topic: Pope Francis
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March 19, 2013 at 4:00 PM
Francis provides hope for humanity
Although I’m not a Roman Catholic, I am a believer and I was deeply offended that the editorial in The Times not only denigrated and disparaged the entire process of Pope Francis’ election but seemed written to play to a supposed gallery of nonbelievers (chuckle, chuckle) [“Pople Francis and the House of Cardinals,” Opinion, March 18].
I believe the Roman Catholic Church, having existed for more than 2,000 years despite some incredible scandals — not excluding the horrific ones of the last 30 years or so — deserves a little more acknowledgment, especially for its choice of Francis, whose election created several firsts for a pope, and who has seemed to stir many, including non-churchgoers and nonbelievers to a new hope for humanity.
Moreover, I think your cleverness may have unwittingly revealed how enslaved we are to our present cutthroat economic and political systems, in both our language and in reality. For instance, the use of such language as “The House of Cardinals” (Congress?), “pre-emptive strike” (referring to the 2012 Republican primaries, or corporate raider tactics?), “awareness of market share” (referring to Latin America’s large Catholic population), “branding” (product promotion strategy), “vested bureaucracy” (the federal government?) and “new CEOs.”
Perhaps Pope Francis’ election may in fact shake up all our religious institutions a little, so that we might once again espouse and aspire to a global human community of mutual respect and compassion.
–Rev. Dick Gillett, Seattle
March 19, 2013 at 6:30 AM
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
March 18, 2013 at 6:00 AM
Name should encourage respect for animals
I was delighted to learn that the newly elected pope named himself after St. Francis of Assisi, generally known as patron saint of the animals [“Papal name honors saint who served the poor,” News, March 14]. Indeed, Catholic and Anglican churches hold ceremonies blessing animals on his feast day of Oct. 4.
On one of his nature walks, St. Francis reportedly preached to the birds and is often portrayed with a bird in his hand. On another occasion, St. Francis concluded a pact with a ferocious wolf that was terrorizing local townsfolk, whereby the wolf would quit preying on the town’s sheep in exchange for being fed regularly. He even persuaded local dogs to stop harassing the wolf. He freed a rabbit from a trap, returned caught fish to their stream, and fed half-frozen bees in wintertime.
I hope that Pope Francis will inspire Catholics and all persons of goodwill to show nonhuman animals the respect and compassion they so richly deserve, particularly when it comes to subsidizing their abuse and slaughter for food at the checkout counter. Joining the Meatless Mondays trend may be a good start.
–Sal Sucher, Seattle
March 15, 2013 at 4:30 PM
Compassionate act and stance on prophylactics show hypocritical conflict
Before we all lapse into a lovefest about the new pope let us remember that as compassionate as washing the feet of HIV and AIDS patients might be [“Seattle Catholics toast new pope,” page one, March 14], this is the man (and church) that believes that the use of prophylactics, which reduce the transmission of HIV, is against God’s law.
This stance is hypocritical, because by decrying the use of prophylactics, the church helps ensure increasing transmission of HIV and other STDs. Does the church want additional victims merely in order to perform more “good works” for?
–Carl Bloom, Seattle
Pope Francis is a staunch defender of Catholic morals
The election of Argentine Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio to the papacy is great news.
Pope Francis is a genuinely spiritual soul and a man of deep prayer who tends to accent growth in personal holiness over efforts for structural reform.
An accomplished theologian he is especially well known for his great personal humility. Despite his status as a prince of the church, he chose to live in a simple apartment rather than in the archbishop’s palace. He also cooked his own meals and gave up his chauffeured limousine in favor of taking the bus to work.
Pope Francis is also a staunch defender of Catholic moral teaching. He has especially opposed the intrinsic immorality of divorce, homosexual practices, abortion, euthanasia, same-sex marriage and contraception. In 2010, he was one of the first to propose that gay adoption is a form of discrimination against children. His doctrinal orthodoxy has always emphasized Christ’s mandate to love: He is well remembered for his 2001 visit to a hospice, in which he washed and kissed the feet of twelve AIDS patients.
The new Vicar of Christ, Pope Francis, is a rare example of a humble intellectual. With him guiding the Barque of Peter the horizon looks bright not only for Catholics but for all men of good faith.
–Rick Arlen, Seattle
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