Religion

Pope Francis Is The Most Liberal Pope Ever

| by Shani Shahmoon

Pope Francis is turning the Catholic Church right-side-up after decades of upside-down measures and practices.

Before Francis' term began nearly four years ago, the Vatican was stuck in a different century while the surrounding western cultures and religions had progressed.

Since Francis' papacy, Catholics have been challenged by the Church to think progressively -- something they have never been asked to do.

Francis has called for supporting refugees, recognizing climate change, holding priests accountable for sexual abuse, allowing divorcees and remarried couples to have communion, not judging those who partake in homosexuality so long as " they’re seeking the Lord in good faith," reconsidering the celibacy requirement for priests and so much more, according to The Guardian.

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Being in such a high position of power and influence, it has been quite impressive to watch a Catholic Pope openly defy norms and align himself with liberal values and policies.

The Catholic Church was widely condemned and received severe backlash as a result of uncovered patterns of sexual abuse by Catholic priests and cover-ups allowed by the Church, as revealed by The Boston Globe. In response to this outcry, Pope Francis created a committee called Commission for the Protection of Minors, which would hold bishops responsible for failing to deal with such issues.

While this may seem like common sense to many of us, it shows great advancement within the Vatican. Unlike his predecessors, Pope Francis advocates for criticism and reform, and admits in the faults of the Church and aims to repair them.

There is nothing more fear-mongering and isolating than categorizing an entire religion as a breeder of terrorism, as commonly done by conservatives and Republicans, two categories Catholics tend to fall into. But, like many liberals, Francis openly spoke out against such language, reported America Magazine, reportedly the most popular Catholic magazine in existence.

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"Christian terrorism does not exist, Jewish terrorism does not exist, and Muslim terrorism does not exist. They do not exist," Francis wrote.

"There are fundamentalist and violent individuals in all peoples and religions -- and with intolerant generalizations they become stronger because they feed on hate and xenophobia," he added.

According to The Guardian, Francis has spoken in support of Native Americans, in regards to to the Dakota Access Pipeline, citing the 1997 UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples: "In this regard, the right to prior and informed consent [of native peoples] should always prevail."

Sure, there is no denying that Pope Francis would not be "liberal" when referring to the Democratic Party's current guidelines.

He is not up-to-date with many liberal issues. He does not support same-sex marriage, the idea of female Catholic priests, and many other things that us 21st Century American Millennials would consider "liberal."

But there is no denying that Pope Francis is decades ahead of his predecessors, and has done far more for the Church in terms of modernizing and making it appear more welcoming -- something liberalism inherently stands for as a progressive and modernizing movement.

James Carroll from The New Yorker went so far as to title Francis as "the anti-Trump."

There's no denying that the opposite of President Donald Trump would be a progressive and humble clergyman with an outspoken moral compass and a way with words. 

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Sources: The Guardian (23), The New Yorker, America Magazine / Photo credit: CNS

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