Pope Francis strives to be progressive
During morning Mass at Casa Santa Marta, Pope Francis made a statement which has stirred up some controversy. He said that it is better to be atheist than to be a bad Christian. This has stirred up some angry feelings from many politicians and businesspeople, both groups that the Pope called out specifically in his homily.
Francis’s statements are reflecting Thursday’s Mass regarding scandal. In the past, the Church has had a harsh view on this, but in a more conservative stance. This meant that in church in the past politicians who were pro-choice were denied the eucharist because they were supporting “scandalous” legislation.
Pope Francis hasn’t outright denounced that view, but has shifted the focus to business people who encourage and commit fraud, teachers who misinform their students to promote hate, and those who manipulate others to do evil. In other words, Francis is saying that if you cause others to do wrong, then you are a worse person than if you did not believe in God at all. This is a pretty radical view for the Pope to state when considering statements and past views of the Church. Of course, Pope Francis doesn’t seem to really care what the Church has believed in the past. He has been known to take a more loving New-Testament view than past Pope’s who have been more fire-and-brimstone Old Testament types.
He has been known to issue controversial statements that hold with a more liberal view of the Church. Along the same lines as his latest message, last February he called out Catholics who were not active. He has also said that evolution is not inconsistent with the Church, explaining that God is not a magician and evolution may have been necessary for him. He has also said, “I believe that the Church not only should apologize to the person who is gay whom it has offended, but has to apologize to the poor, to exploited women, to children exploited for labor; it has to ask forgiveness for having blessed many weapons.”
Pope Francis may be accepting and open to new ideas, but the Church is still a little reluctant to go along with him. After his statement regarding atheists and greedy politicians, the Vatican later issued a note clarifying what the Pope meant. They said that he was merely saying that God’s grace is free to all, even atheists. This of course is still along the same lines, but doesn’t have the punch to it that the Pope’s original message did. Pope Francis is a visionary who is not afraid to call out those he sees as being greedy, self-interested, and fake.