by M. J. Joachim
I spent some time reading a few articles about Pope Francis in our Catholic newspaper yesterday; I have to admit, I’m very encouraged by what I learned. By all accounts, Pope Francis is a humble man, a man of the people, someone who sees and addresses real situations, without being lofty in his position.
People of faith should be service oriented, regardless of status or position, in my opinion. I’ve always felt this way. Leaders of ministries and church staff should be service oriented. This is nothing new, it’s based on the model Christ set before us when He walked the earth and served the people.
It is with great hope that I pray for the ministry of Pope Francis, believing it might change directions for our faith. Staunch hierarchy has an opportunity to earn back some of the respect and dignity it lost, in a power play that should never have happened.
When the Church uses its position of authority to overpower its people, people leave. No one wants to feel condemned and unloved, judged and reprimanded, oppressed and enslaved for any length of time – not if they have a choice anyway.
Pope Francis speaks often and openly about the love and mercy of Christ, the hope in a love so great, we will never be able to fully comprehend it. From what I can tell, he’s calling his priests to get back to their roots of ministry and service for all people in the world, not just Catholics. He’s standing firm in Catholic beliefs, while rooting our church in true Catholic tradition and dignity, the tradition and dignity Jesus determined was our true calling as a universal faith.
I love my faith and Catholic Church very much. However, I’m not blind to her faults – faults developed from human power plays, greed and pride, faults that made many a fervent and loving catholic turn away from a church that no longer represented what they knew to be true, causing them to seek Christ in other places.
These are not bad people who left the Church because they couldn’t abide by her teachings. They are people who believe in what the Church is truly about and weren’t finding the message represented in their local parishes.
Misrepresentation of the faith is found everywhere, you see. True Catholics understand this. They pray often and continue to practice the Catholic faith to the best of their ability. I believe Pope Francis and his ministry may be one of the reasons they come home. At least, I certainly hope so.
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