A Prophetic Penitent Pope

“God seems to have disappeared from the horizon, and his word no longer seems a compass guiding our lives, our basic decisions, our human and social relationships,” he added.

Instead of trying to impose religion on the state or lamenting the bygone times when clergy swayed political power, the pope said, “secularization demands we reflect on the changes in society that have influenced the way in which people think about and organize their lives.”

It’s not the faith that is suffering a crisis, he continued, “but some of the forms and ways in which we present it.”

Pope Francis – Religious News Service 7/29/2022

Pope Francis trip to Canada for the purpose of offering a humble, sincere apology for the Roman Catholic Church’s involvement in the cultural genocide of Native America children in “boarding schools” I believe is to be applauded. The Pope did not have to do this. This action will likely not get the church more members. This action will bring the Pope criticism. So why should the Pope be applauded?

Pope Francis understands he cannot undue what has been done. The Pope grasps how horrible this and other moral outrages committed by the church are. The Pope knows he needs to set the example and do what is right. Accepting responsibility and desiring to make amends is a primary expectation of those who would follow Jesus. Hopefully such an apology and begging for forgiveness is a start to undoing so of the damage done.

The reality is that people do bad, unspeakable things whether they are religious people or not. Religion is a powerful tool evil uses to damage people. Sadly, in my case, I have met more evil people in church than any place else. The rise of Christian Nationalism is giving many of these people a desire for political power. I believe the Pope understands just how dangerous and coercive the merger of church and state can be. The above statement the Pope makes could have come from a Virginia Baptist. I am grateful that the Pope made this statement.

I do not believe God ever wanted religion to be a social control device. God wants us to develop faith, faith that comes through trust. God wants us to understand our need for God and wants to help us understand that our need is not political laws but with divine love. The path to such love is paved with the willingness to reflect on our collective behavior, a desire to obtain forgiveness if possible, and seeking the best for all, whether an individual is part of our “tribe” or not, religious or not. Maturing in our faith means we trust God to be faithful. It means understanding fight is not against flesh and blood. It means we grasp the truism that love cannot be forced, legislated, or codified in law. It means we look for the log in our own eye before looking for the splinter in someone else’s.

Thank you Pope Francis