October 23, 2013

Now THIS Is A Pope!

A criticism of the Bishop of Rome, Vicar of Jesus Christ, Successor of the Prince of the Apostles, Supreme Pontiff of the Universal Church, Primate of Italy, Archbishop and Metropolitan of the Roman Province, Sovereign of the Vatican City State, Servant of the servants of God (aka The Pope) in recent years was that the focus of the Roman Catholic Church was on things like decrying condoms, chastising homosexuals and turning a blind eye to the sexual abuse of young boys. That criticism was accurate and deserved.

But with the arrival of Pope Francis, there is a sense of reform in the Church that really hasn't been seen since the short, short reign of Pope John Paul I. Francis has turned the focus of the Church to ministering to the sick and poor. While the Church still opposes same-sex marriage and abortion, Francis has de-emphasized that as a focus of the Church

“We have to find a new balance, otherwise even the moral edifice of the church is likely to fall like a house of cards, losing the freshness and fragrance of the Gospel," Francis said in the interview.

"The church has sometimes locked itself up in small things, in small-minded rules,' Francis said. "The people of God want pastors, not clergy acting like bureaucrats or government officials."

He also has attacked the dogmatic, ideologue approach to faith:
"If one has the answers to all the questions - that is the proof that God is not with him. It means that he is a false prophet using religion for himself. The great leaders of the people of God, like Moses, have always left room for doubt. You must leave room for the Lord, not for our certainties; we must be humble."

And now he is going after Wealth in the Church. There has always been a stark contrast between the son of a carpenter and the opulence of the Church that claims to speak for him. But it appears that Pope Francis isn't going to stand for that.

The Vatican has suspended a senior German Church leader dubbed the "bishop of bling" by the media over his alleged lavish spending.

Bishop of Limburg Franz-Peter Tebartz-van Elst is accused of spending more than 31m euros (£26m; $42m) on renovating his official residence.

The Vatican said it deemed "appropriate... a period of leave from the diocese" for the bishop.

The suspension comes two days after he met the Pope to discuss the matter.

I am an Episcopalian, so I have fundamental differences with the Catholic Church in issues of theology. I don't believe one man speaks for God, for example. But the Pope's influence is unquestionable. If he is preaching a message of humbleness and service, if he is going after ostentatious displays of wealth...then that is a good thing regardless of whether you believe he is the Vicar of Christ or not.


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