Pope pushes for more outreach, mercy

The Catholic Church is often faulted for its insensitive and deep-rooted criticism of those who do not abide by its laws and codes of the Bible.

This past July, Pope Francis made comments essentially criticizing the Catholic Church’s pre-occupation with controversial issues such as abortion, homosexuality and contraception. During the interview with the Jesuit-based journal, La Civilta Cattolica, the Pope frankly stated “(God) doesn’t want us to just harp on birth control and gay marriage, he wants us to bring back compassion, mercy, outreach to the poor and inclusion of the marginalized.” Boston College professor Thomas Groome told the Wall Street Journal that the comments were a shift away from his predecessors.

It is obvious that the Catholic Church has chosen to stick to its old ways and has made no clear effort to modernize its outlook on others who do not fit the mold of what it believes to be “virtuous.”

It is odd that of all people to criticize the Catholic Church, it is the Pope himself. This may be a precursor to where religion as we know it may be headed. Who knows, we might eventually have – dare I say it – a gay Pope.

Although, the question “why should it matter?” comes into play. Religion preaches basic principles such as “love thy neighbor,” “treat others as you would like to be treated,” and “diversity,” but when the Church comes out with comments calling gay marriage an “abomination,” it forces one to think how hypocritical its ideals really are. It is just like the kid in class who always told the teacher what everyone else did wrong, but when he did something wrong he had nothing to say.

If you want to really get technical – we are all sinners. I never got the memo that God hated gays more than he hated murderers. This leads me to assume that the Church has selective forgiveness, because unless you are “healed” and rid yourself of your homosexuality, you are a force of evil in the eyes of the Lord.

“In Buenos Aires I used to receive letters from homosexual persons who are ‘socially wounded’ because they tell me they feel like the Church has always condemned them,” the Pope said. It is actually gratifying to know that the leader of the religious world essentially agrees that it is nonsensical to still be pre-occupied with what others are doing with their personal lives. People are being ostracized for simply wanting to be happy. I am positive that someone would not choose to be spurned by society, teased, disrespected and have their dignity, quite often, taken away    from them.

While it is good that the followers of the Catholic Church may be rethinking their outlooks on these matters, it is also our responsibility to look inward and reevaluate how we treat others based on their sexual orientation, race or personal decisions. In order to peacefully coexist with others, it requires basic respect for one another.