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Pope Francis, changing Christianity?

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Pope Francis, changing Christianity?

Post by Pyperkub » Mon Sep 30, 2013 12:06 am

The election of Francis after Benedict seems to have made for a dramatic change at the top of the Catholic Church. From the outside, it seems as if Pope Francis is actually embracing what I was taught that being a Christian meant and it feels revolutionary to me. Rather than focusing on a message which (it seemed to me) bordered on hate, he seems to be preaching compassion and love.

Not only does he say something like this:
he continued: "A person once asked me, in a provocative manner, if I approved of homosexuality. I replied with another question: 'Tell me: when God looks at a gay person, does he endorse the existence of this person with love, or reject and condemn this person?'

"We must always consider the person. In life, God accompanies persons, and we must accompany them, starting from their situation. It is necessary to accompany them with mercy. When that happens, the Holy Spirit inspires the priest to say the right thing."

The key, he said, is for the church to welcome, not exclude and show mercy, not condemnation.
But he also speaks like this:
The pope, who later celebrated Mass for some 300,000 people outside the city's cathedral, told them: "We don't want this globalised economic system which does us so much harm. Men and women have to be at the centre (of an economic system) as God wants, not money."

"The world has become an idolator of this god called money," he said.
Of course, not everyone is happy about the Pope who drives an '84 Renault rather than riding in Limousines, but IMHO he has almost made Catholicism relevant again.
Francis said the dogmatic and the moral teachings of the church were not all equivalent.

"The church's pastoral ministry cannot be obsessed with the transmission of a disjointed multitude of doctrines to be imposed insistently," Francis said. "We have to find a new balance;...

...he said, the Catholic Church must be like a "field hospital after battle," healing the wounds of its faithful and going out to find those who have been hurt, excluded or have fallen away.

"It is useless to ask a seriously injured person if he has high cholesterol and about the level of his blood sugars!" Francis said. "You have to heal his wounds. Then we can talk about everything else."

"The church sometimes has locked itself up in small things, in small-minded rules," he lamented. "The most important thing is the first proclamation: Jesus Christ has saved you. And the ministers of the church must be ministers of mercy above all."
It's enough to make the religious cynic in me pay attention.
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Re: Pope Francis, changing Christianity?

Post by AWS260 » Mon Sep 30, 2013 12:50 am

He's certainly taking a different tack than his immediate predecessor, but I don't know about "changing Christianity." His pastoral approach is pretty much the Catholic Church that I grew up with. From my personal perspective, he's just bringing it back to Church that provided my moral and ethical foundation.

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Re: Pope Francis, changing Christianity?

Post by Pyperkub » Mon Sep 30, 2013 1:35 am

AWS260 wrote:He's certainly taking a different tack than his immediate predecessor, but I don't know about "changing Christianity." His pastoral approach is pretty much the Catholic Church that I grew up with. From my personal perspective, he's just bringing it back to Church that provided my moral and ethical foundation.
Right, but it's refreshing to me. The Church's public stances have seemed to be so much about what I consider preaching hate for most of my life that this is an incredibly welcome (and long overdue) change.
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Re: Pope Francis, changing Christianity?

Post by Zarathud » Mon Sep 30, 2013 10:01 am

He's a big change from the reactionary Pope Benedict who was once in charge of enforcing all those small minded dogmas. A Pope who preached it would be ok to have fewer but better Catholics. I understand from someone who is a former priest and reports on the Catholic Church that Francis is really causing friction within the central heirarchy.a
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Re: Pope Francis, changing Christianity?

Post by $iljanus » Mon Sep 30, 2013 10:26 am

Here's a link to the full interview with Pope Francis: http://www.americamagazine.org/pope-interview" target="_blank

As a former Catholic now Presbyterian I was deeply moved by his candidness and his stress on God's gift of grace. A worthwhile read, even for those who aren't Christian or particularly religious to get a sense of a very compassionate and humble person.
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Re: Pope Francis, changing Christianity?

Post by YellowKing » Mon Sep 30, 2013 10:44 am

I don't think "hate" is the right word, even though it's thrown around a lot in regards to being against gay marriage, etc. I think the more apt word is "intolerance."

However, Christianity has never been about intolerance, and Pope Francis is reminding us of that. Having never been Catholic, I've rarely ever paid any attention at all to any Popes. But I'll admit he's been pretty impressive in terms of his style.

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Re: Pope Francis, changing Christianity?

Post by El Guapo » Mon Sep 30, 2013 11:11 am

YellowKing wrote: However, Christianity has never been about intolerance
Yeah...this is kind of a tough statement. I mean, it's not *supposed* to be about intolerance, exactly, but whether it actually is depends on whether you're talking about theory vs. reality, and whose vision of christianity you are talking about. For example, obviously the Catholic Church of the Inquisition was about intolerance, and since that was official catholicism (you know, the Church and all) you can't exactly say that it doesn't count.

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Re: Pope Francis, changing Christianity?

Post by $iljanus » Mon Sep 30, 2013 11:25 am

El Guapo wrote:
YellowKing wrote: However, Christianity has never been about intolerance
Yeah...this is kind of a tough statement. I mean, it's not *supposed* to be about intolerance, exactly, but whether it actually is depends on whether you're talking about theory vs. reality, and whose vision of christianity you are talking about. For example, obviously the Catholic Church of the Inquisition was about intolerance, and since that was official catholicism (you know, the Church and all) you can't exactly say that it doesn't count.
If there is to be intolerance, Pope Francis is calling people to be intolerant of poverty, of oppression, of greed. Challenging the status quo.
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Re: Pope Francis, changing Christianity?

Post by El Guapo » Mon Sep 30, 2013 11:26 am

$iljanus wrote:
El Guapo wrote:
YellowKing wrote: However, Christianity has never been about intolerance
Yeah...this is kind of a tough statement. I mean, it's not *supposed* to be about intolerance, exactly, but whether it actually is depends on whether you're talking about theory vs. reality, and whose vision of christianity you are talking about. For example, obviously the Catholic Church of the Inquisition was about intolerance, and since that was official catholicism (you know, the Church and all) you can't exactly say that it doesn't count.
If there is to be intolerance, Pope Francis is calling people to be intolerant of poverty, of oppression, of greed. Challenging the status quo.
I wasn't really talking about Pope Francis here, rather talking about YK's general statement about christinaity "never" being about intolerance, which is hard to support.

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Re: Pope Francis, changing Christianity?

Post by $iljanus » Mon Sep 30, 2013 11:29 am

El Guapo wrote:
$iljanus wrote:
El Guapo wrote:
YellowKing wrote: However, Christianity has never been about intolerance
Yeah...this is kind of a tough statement. I mean, it's not *supposed* to be about intolerance, exactly, but whether it actually is depends on whether you're talking about theory vs. reality, and whose vision of christianity you are talking about. For example, obviously the Catholic Church of the Inquisition was about intolerance, and since that was official catholicism (you know, the Church and all) you can't exactly say that it doesn't count.
If there is to be intolerance, Pope Francis is calling people to be intolerant of poverty, of oppression, of greed. Challenging the status quo.
I wasn't really talking about Pope Francis here, rather talking about YK's general statement about christinaity "never" being about intolerance, which is hard to support.
I figured so. Just going off on a tangent using "intolerance" as a springboard. :)
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Re: Pope Francis, changing Christianity?

Post by Fireball » Mon Sep 30, 2013 11:45 am

Awesome Pope is awesome.

I'm staying Episcopalian, but I am very impressed by Pope Francis.
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Re: Pope Francis, changing Christianity?

Post by Holman » Mon Sep 30, 2013 1:21 pm

I don't believe Francis is changing doctrine, just attitudes. That's a big thing, particularly as doctrine is paradoxically the more flexible of the two.

Some popes in the 19th and 20th century all but declared war on modernity. This pope seems dedicated to the idea that the church must live in the word as it is, critiquing it with love rather than rage and denial.
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Re: Pope Francis, changing Christianity?

Post by Apollo » Mon Sep 30, 2013 1:25 pm

Pyperkub wrote:...Right, but it's refreshing to me. The Church's public stances have seemed to be so much about what I consider preaching hate for most of my life that this is an incredibly welcome (and long overdue) change.
No kidding! I am incredibly impressed and amazed that we now have a Pope who understands what Christianity is supposed to be all about. When I saw a photo of him on his knees washing the feet of a poor woman I was absolutely floored.

If his approach to Christianity had been practiced here in the South when I was growing up I might have become a Christian instead of an Atheist.

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Re: Pope Francis, changing Christianity?

Post by msduncan » Mon Sep 30, 2013 8:24 pm

My wife is Catholic. She likes the new approach.

A bunch of my friends are Protestant, and they are livid, pulling their hair out, and accusing the Pope and Catholics of not being Christian at all. That amuses me and I remind them that without the Catholics, their denominations would not exist.

So yeah, he must be doing something right. I don't pretend to know what God would think... but I would guess that He approves of this new spirit in the Church.
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Re: Pope Francis, changing Christianity?

Post by YellowKing » Mon Sep 30, 2013 10:38 pm

For example, obviously the Catholic Church of the Inquisition was about intolerance, and since that was official catholicism (you know, the Church and all) you can't exactly say that it doesn't count.
Christianity predates Catholicism.

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Re: Pope Francis, changing Christianity?

Post by El Guapo » Mon Sep 30, 2013 11:42 pm

YellowKing wrote:
For example, obviously the Catholic Church of the Inquisition was about intolerance, and since that was official catholicism (you know, the Church and all) you can't exactly say that it doesn't count.
Christianity predates Catholicism.
Sure, but it is clearly a form of christanity - the Inquisition was just one example. The protestantism of Luther wasn't terribly inclusive or welcoming either, and certainly the protestantism of the Reformation Wars wasn't exactly a rainbow coalition.

Point is - there are plenty of examples of christanity, at least in practice, being about intolerance. Now that's true of pretty much any religion, but it still makes it difficult to say that christanity is never about intolerance.

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Re: Pope Francis, changing Christianity?

Post by noxiousdog » Mon Sep 30, 2013 11:44 pm

YellowKing wrote:
For example, obviously the Catholic Church of the Inquisition was about intolerance, and since that was official catholicism (you know, the Church and all) you can't exactly say that it doesn't count.
Christianity predates Catholicism.
eh? Which modern version of Christianity (non-Catholic) predates Martin Luther?
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Re: Pope Francis, changing Christianity?

Post by Isgrimnur » Mon Sep 30, 2013 11:53 pm

The term is younger than the church, but seeing as the Catholic Church is supposed to extend from Saint (Simon) Peter, one of the 12 apostles, saying that there's Christianity prior to Catholicism strikes me as odd as well.
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Re: Pope Francis, changing Christianity?

Post by Zarathud » Tue Oct 01, 2013 1:03 am

Religion is rife with intolerance, so it's not unique to Christianity.
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Re: Pope Francis, changing Christianity?

Post by Holman » Tue Oct 01, 2013 7:32 am

Saying "Christianity predates Catholicism" is really a way of saying that the medieval Catholic church was not identical in form, doctrine, etc. to the earliest Christian churches.

I grew up Evangelical and was taught that Catholicism (all the way back) was a perversion of true Christianity. The pretension of my church was that it restored the first-century model and swept away centuries of unnecessary and misleading false teaching. When I was 10, I would have told you that Catholics were no more Christian than Jews or Buddhists.

Obviously this is bunk, but it was before the internet, so I didn't have access to the rolly-eyes that would have saved me.
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Re: Pope Francis, changing Christianity?

Post by Isgrimnur » Tue Oct 01, 2013 9:24 am

As little use as I have for religion in my daily life or in the determination of public policy today, I find the history of religion, especially as it applies to historical pressures in either direction to be a fascinating subject.
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Re: Pope Francis, changing Christianity?

Post by LordMortis » Tue Oct 01, 2013 9:37 am

Isgrimnur wrote:As little use as I have for religion in my daily life or in the determination of public policy today, I find the history of religion, especially as it applies to historical pressures in either direction to be a fascinating subject.
I'm not smart enough to get history but I find the now fascinating. "We" get a Pope is all about the teachings of Jesus and he gets metaphorically crucified by some Christians. And at the same time the backlash against his "liberalism" isn't nearly as loud as I would have expected, which gives an even warmer place in my heart for humanity (Western Civilization?) than the Pope himself symbolizes.

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Re: Pope Francis, changing Christianity?

Post by stessier » Tue Oct 01, 2013 9:46 am

LordMortis wrote:And at the same time the backlash against his "liberalism" isn't nearly as loud as I would have expected,
Probably because he hasn't really changed anything. :) All of the teachings remain the same. Abortion, homosexual sex, contraception, divorce, etc. are all still wrong. What he's changed is how the bigger Church is supposed to approach the people who do those things (I think the "little Church" - ie, the individuals at the parish level - have done a this already in many places). I guess that helps, but I suspect people may be disappointed the more they learn.

Don't get me wrong, I like what he's doing. I'm just not sure people outside the Church fully understand it.
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Re: Pope Francis, changing Christianity?

Post by em2nought » Sat Oct 05, 2013 1:51 am

The Catholic Church seems like the only entity moving in a positive direction all of a sudden.
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Re: Pope Francis, changing Christianity?

Post by Mormech » Tue Oct 08, 2013 10:42 pm

El Guapo wrote:
YellowKing wrote: However, Christianity has never been about intolerance
Yeah...this is kind of a tough statement. I mean, it's not *supposed* to be about intolerance, exactly, but whether it actually is depends on whether you're talking about theory vs. reality, and whose vision of christianity you are talking about. For example, obviously the Catholic Church of the Inquisition was about intolerance, and since that was official catholicism (you know, the Church and all) you can't exactly say that it doesn't count.
From my perspective, intolerance is an inescapable part of Christianity. All that talk about how one can't get into heaven without obeying certain rules or believing certain things, about how one should repent and beg forgiveness everytime they sin, about how there is only one god and only one way into heaven...all of that is intolerance. Even the Jesus who supposedly loved everyone still talked about how people should "sin no more", and that not everyone would make it into heaven. That's not exactly all-encompassing, unconditional love, in my book.

With regard to the Pope, I'm impressed by his attempts to steer the church in a less hateful direction, but I'm skeptical about how he can be successful as long as the church remains tied to the contents of the Bible. The Bible contains hateful teachings, so it's a poor foundation for any religious organization.

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Re: Pope Francis, changing Christianity?

Post by stessier » Wed Oct 09, 2013 3:36 am

Mormech wrote:
El Guapo wrote:
YellowKing wrote: However, Christianity has never been about intolerance
Yeah...this is kind of a tough statement. I mean, it's not *supposed* to be about intolerance, exactly, but whether it actually is depends on whether you're talking about theory vs. reality, and whose vision of christianity you are talking about. For example, obviously the Catholic Church of the Inquisition was about intolerance, and since that was official catholicism (you know, the Church and all) you can't exactly say that it doesn't count.
From my perspective, intolerance is an inescapable part of Christianity. All that talk about how one can't get into heaven without obeying certain rules or believing certain things, about how one should repent and beg forgiveness everytime they sin, about how there is only one god and only one way into heaven...all of that is intolerance. Even the Jesus who supposedly loved everyone still talked about how people should "sin no more", and that not everyone would make it into heaven. That's not exactly all-encompassing, unconditional love, in my book.

With regard to the Pope, I'm impressed by his attempts to steer the church in a less hateful direction, but I'm skeptical about how he can be successful as long as the church remains tied to the contents of the Bible. The Bible contains hateful teachings, so it's a poor foundation for any religious organization.
I can only speak from the Catholic perspective, but I would suggest a little more studying of the religions if that is the impression you have.

Yes, the religion is based on one God, but that's kind of it's definition. I don't see how asking for forgiveness and asking people not to sin can be seen as a sign of intolerance. Sin is a willful separation from God. To sin, you have to have an informed conscience that tells you something is wrong, you have to actually do that wrong thing, and you have to have had the free will not to commit the act (so doing something wrong under duress doesn't count).

As for not everyone making it into heaven, that's a rather long discussion, but I think the shortest answer is the only ones who don't make it are those who don't want to make it - that is, those who have chosen to be separated from God are allowed to have that separation continue in death. How is that intolerant?

I'm not aware of any hateful teachings from the Bible that have carried over into Catholicism today.
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Re: Pope Francis, changing Christianity?

Post by Fireball » Wed Oct 09, 2013 8:34 am

Mormech wrote:From my perspective, intolerance is an inescapable part of Christianity. All that talk about how one can't get into heaven without obeying certain rules or believing certain things,
Different Christian denominations have different positions on this. The Catholic Church, as the topic here, is one that doesn't believe that you have to be a Christian, or necessarily even a theist, to go to Heaven.
about how one should repent and beg forgiveness everytime they sin,
How is that intolerance?
about how there is only one god
How is that intolerance?
and only one way into heaven...
Don't confuse the notion that the saving grace of Jesus Christ is the only way to Heaven with the notion that one must be a Christian to be saved. While everyone who goes to Heaven does so because of Jesus's sacrifice, one need not recognize that fact to get to Heaven, according to many Christian denominations, including Catholicism.
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Re: Pope Francis, changing Christianity?

Post by Fireball » Wed Oct 09, 2013 8:37 am

stessier wrote:I'm not aware of any hateful teachings from the Bible that have carried over into Catholicism today.
Really? As a gay man, I could list a litany of them.
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Re: Pope Francis, changing Christianity?

Post by El Guapo » Thu Oct 10, 2013 10:45 am

Fireball1244 wrote: Don't confuse the notion that the saving grace of Jesus Christ is the only way to Heaven with the notion that one must be a Christian to be saved. While everyone who goes to Heaven does so because of Jesus's sacrifice, one need not recognize that fact to get to Heaven, according to many Christian denominations, including Catholicism.
Isn't that awkward when non-Christians get to Heaven? Oh hey Jesus, I'm Jewish. Yeah, no, didn't worship you on Earth...was pretty sure that you weren't the messiah, but... no biggie, right? Forgiving's kind of your thing, I hear?

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Re: Pope Francis, changing Christianity?

Post by Rip » Thu Oct 10, 2013 10:52 am

El Guapo wrote:
Fireball1244 wrote: Don't confuse the notion that the saving grace of Jesus Christ is the only way to Heaven with the notion that one must be a Christian to be saved. While everyone who goes to Heaven does so because of Jesus's sacrifice, one need not recognize that fact to get to Heaven, according to many Christian denominations, including Catholicism.
Isn't that awkward when non-Christians get to Heaven? Oh hey Jesus, I'm Jewish. Yeah, no, didn't worship you on Earth...was pretty sure that you weren't the messiah, but... no biggie, right? Forgiving's kind of your thing, I hear?
I find it ridiculus to think that is there is a heaven getting there depends on what religion you are or what diety you believe in. It would it seems depend on what your "actions" were while living. I would hope that even if you have no idea of what religion is making the right choices and taking the proper actions during your lifetime would still get you there.

If it is just about rooting for the right team and has nothing to do with how you play the game color me disappointed.

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Re: Pope Francis, changing Christianity?

Post by coopasonic » Thu Oct 10, 2013 11:00 am

Rip wrote:I would hope that even if you have no idea of what religion is making the right choices and taking the proper actions during your lifetime would still get you there.
How would know what the right choices are without religion???
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Re: Pope Francis, changing Christianity?

Post by LawBeefaroni » Thu Oct 10, 2013 11:01 am

Fireball1244 wrote:
stessier wrote:I'm not aware of any hateful teachings from the Bible that have carried over into Catholicism today.
Really? As a gay man, I could list a litany of them.
Given the topic, I find the choice of the word "litany" perfect. :lol:
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Re: Pope Francis, changing Christianity?

Post by Holman » Thu Oct 10, 2013 11:02 am

Theology is about teaching an old God new tricks. He's a slow learner.
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Re: Pope Francis, changing Christianity?

Post by Rip » Thu Oct 10, 2013 11:08 am

coopasonic wrote:
Rip wrote:I would hope that even if you have no idea of what religion is making the right choices and taking the proper actions during your lifetime would still get you there.
How would know what the right choices are without religion???
So you think without religion would would all be running around raping, killing, adn stealing from each other? I don't think a sense of what and wrong comes from religion. It is the other way around.

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Re: Pope Francis, changing Christianity?

Post by Fireball » Thu Oct 10, 2013 11:29 am

coopasonic wrote:
Rip wrote:I would hope that even if you have no idea of what religion is making the right choices and taking the proper actions during your lifetime would still get you there.
How would know what the right choices are without religion???
The Catholic answer is that every human is born with a connection to God, and that when we listen to our conscience and seek to do right, we can be led by God to proper actions.
Wed Oct 20, 2004 1:17 am
Zarathud: The sad thing is that Barak Obama is a very intelligent and articulate person, even when you disagree with his views it's clear that he's very thoughtful. I would have loved to see Obama in a real debate.
Me: Wait 12 years, when he runs for president. :-)

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Isgrimnur
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Re: Pope Francis, changing Christianity?

Post by Isgrimnur » Thu Oct 10, 2013 1:15 pm

Rip wrote:
coopasonic wrote:
Rip wrote:I would hope that even if you have no idea of what religion is making the right choices and taking the proper actions during your lifetime would still get you there.
How would know what the right choices are without religion???
So you think without religion would would all be running around raping, killing, adn stealing from each other? I don't think a sense of what and wrong comes from religion. It is the other way around.
I agree with Rip.

And now I feel dirty. :P
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Re: Pope Francis, changing Christianity?

Post by Holman » Thu Oct 10, 2013 3:55 pm

Rip wrote:
coopasonic wrote:
Rip wrote:I would hope that even if you have no idea of what religion is making the right choices and taking the proper actions during your lifetime would still get you there.
How would know what the right choices are without religion???
So you think without religion would would all be running around raping, killing, adn stealing from each other? I don't think a sense of what and wrong comes from religion. It is the other way around.
I'm thinking the "???" is facetious.
Much prefer my Nazis Nuremberged.

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Re: Pope Francis, changing Christianity?

Post by coopasonic » Thu Oct 10, 2013 5:42 pm

:handgestures-thumbupleft:
-Coop

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Re: Pope Francis, changing Christianity?

Post by Moliere » Mon Oct 14, 2013 1:39 pm

The new pope has gone too far. Now he's changed the name of Jesus to Lesus! Where's the outrage?

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Re: Pope Francis, changing Christianity?

Post by Holman » Mon Oct 14, 2013 1:45 pm

It's a correction to earlier Popes, who had changed it to "Lexus."
Much prefer my Nazis Nuremberged.

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