What relevance does Pope Francis have beyond the Catholic Church?
question by:Bill McKenzie / Editorial Columnist
Pope Francis made quite a splash when he said last week in response to a question about a priest being gay: “If someone is gay and he searches for the Lord and has good will, who am I to judge?”
As you may expect, there has been plenty of discussion about what the pope meant. Was he speaking personally? Was he speaking as head of the Catholic Church? Or was he speaking as both?
Beyond those remarks, the pope has received ample attention for the simplicity of his lifestyle, his attitude toward the poor and his humility in washing the feet of criminal offenders. In fact, those are just some of the areas in which the pope has gained attention, as this Washington Post editorial indicates.
Of course, his remarks, attitude and approach have a special audience among Catholics. But what relevance do they have to non-Catholics? The Catholic Church may be the world’s largest body of Christians, but what about other Christians and the many other faith traditions? What difference do comments from the pope make to them — as well as to non-believers?
AMY MARTIN, Director Emeritus of Earth Rhythms and Writer/editor Moonlady News Newsletter
My mother-in-law is a wonderful woman. She helped start a Methodist church in Richardson and feels her faith deeply. Her example has fostered others in her family to embrace religion as an avocation. And yet her son married me, a rather high-profile leader of the spiritually unaffiliated. Our interfaith occurs across the kitchen table at holiday dinners.
But she worried for us. Even so, over the years she has come to accept, as Pope Francis has, that a God that would condemn someone who lives a good life, full of good deeds, but lacks her affiliation, is not the God she knows in her heart.
May we all stand in humility like her and not pretend to know the mind of God. If there is but one God, it is the same God for us all. Let us be a model to each other.