For hundreds of years, the Catholic church has only allowed men to be priests. That may soon change with the help of Pope Francis, who is considering a move that could someday lead to female priests. The Pope recently said he will look into the possibility of appointing female deacons.
Yes, deacons are a level below priests, but it’s a huge move when you realize it’s been a men’s club for CENTURIES. Don’t get too excited, though, because the operative word here is “considering.” Pope Francis is only in the initial stages of setting up a commission that will study the possibility of women joining the ranks of the church.
“Constitute an official commission that might study the question?” the Pope asked aloud, according to Italian news agencies. “I believe yes. It would do good for the church to clarify this point. I am in agreement. I will speak (in favor of doing) something like this.” He continued: “It seems useful to me to have a commission that would clarify this.”
As deacons, women would be able to perform a lot of the same tasks as a priests like baptisms, prayer services or other type of management work for the church. They cannot, however, celebrate mass. Interestingly enough, church historians say women held this role centuries ago, but the practice died over time. In 1994, Pope John Paul II denied a call for women to become priests.
The possibility of this change goes hand in hand with all the other changes the Pontiff has made since 2013.
Hooray for joining us in the 21st century, Catholic Church!
Jorge Mario Bergoglio, best known as Pope Francis, has sometimes surprised both the Catholic world and non-religious people worldwide with his views. Even though he remains a conservative at heart in issues such as the pro-life/pro-choice debate, he has been certainly more open than other successors of Peter when it comes to same-sex relationships.
Even though the Catholic Church has turned a blind eye to the struggle of the LGBTQ community, or even publicly denounced it as contrary to their beliefs, Pope Francis has been very open in his condemnation of hate speech and discrimination. His words are often controversial and have stirred discussion among conservatives who see him as perhaps too progressive for the Church, particularly following the iron fist rule of Joseph Ratzinger, the German Pope who was the right arm of another very conservative Pope in John Paul II.
Pope Francis compared homophobic politicians to Adolf Hitler, perhaps the worldwide symbol of hate.
The Pope said about anti-gay comments made by people in a position of power who are influential not only when it comes to public opinion, but potentially also in the drawing up and execution of exclusionary and discriminatory policies: “These are actions that are typical of Nazism, that with its persecution of Jews, gypsies, people with homosexual orientation, represent an excellent model of the throwaway culture and culture of hatred.”
This is actually a pretty direct comment coming from a Catholic leader, particularly considering the policy of no-intervention (a.k.a turn a blind eye) that the Vatican held during World War II, and for which Rome has been deeply criticized.
He didn’t hold back: “When I hear a speech (by) someone responsible for order or for a government, I think of speeches by Hitler in 1934, 1936…”
So comparing anti-LGBTQ politicians is a BFD in a day and age when far-right policies are making a comeback and some elected officials have an anti-gay agenda is actually quite something. We can think, for example, of current Vice President and former Indiana governor Mike Pence, who has made a career of getting the ultraconservative Evangelical right vote. And yes, Pence might very well become the US President if impeachment proceedings against Donald Trump reach a damning conclusion.
In Brazil, Jair Bolsonaro has said that a court ruling criminalizing homophobia is wrong, even if his country is one of the most dangerous for the LGBTQ community, particularly for intersex individuals.
It is important to note, however, that Francis is not being totally progressive: he is not approving diverse sexualities, but condemning discrimination. There is a big difference.
The Pope also said that any form of discrimination went against Christian values.
This might seem like a logical thing to say about a religion that predicates loving each other like one loves oneself. However, orthodox interpretations of the scriptures are contradictory to this spirit, as they make same-sex relationships a sin. So Pope Francis is facing a theological dilemma by choosing human dignity over dated and sometimes discriminatory Vatican policies.
He also expressed his condemnation of the recent wave of anti-Semitic attacks, particularly in Western Europe. He said: “The Jews are our brothers and sisters and should not be persecuted, understand?”
As CBS News reports: “A report by Tel Aviv University’s Kantor Center for the Study of Contemporary European Jewry showed that anti-semitic attacks rose 13% from 2017 to 2018. The highest number of incidents were reported in major Western democracies such as the United States, France, Britain and Germany.” These are very troublesome figures that echo a generalized sense of political and social crisis in which diversity is sometimes being crushed by hate speech.
And remember the Church has been in the spotlight for all the wrong reasons.
Sexual politics in the Vatican have always been controversial, and even more so when cases of sexual abuse in the clergy hace resurfaced and lay authorities have made unprecedented moves, such as convicting George Pell, the third most powerful man in the Vatican, to jail in Australia. Pope Francis’ stance against sexual discrimination is a move in the right direction in terms of realigning the Vatican’s moral and ethical compass when it comes to sexual politics.
He went further and denounced what is basically the ultraconservative agenda…yes, he mentioned climate change.
Francis can be a bit conservative on some issues, he is at times ruthless in his political commentary. As Business Insider reports: “In the speech, Francis also denounced police brutality, the world’s failure to punish environmental crimes, and the arbitrary use of preventative detention.” Wow.
He basically blasted the anti-immigration policies of Western countries and the lack of accountability that governments and corporations have when it comes to irreparable damage to the planet, such as the Amazonian fires that devastated an ancient ecosystem. Yes, he basically told politicians, “thoughts and prayers” are not enough if there is no action behind all the talk.
Pope Francis was in Mexico recently and spoke about everything from abortion and femicide to the border wall and standing up to Trump.
But it’s his comments about Mexico’s struggle with violence and conflict that have everybody talking.
In a recent interview with Noticieros Televisa, Pope Francis blamed the country’s rising violence on the devil taking out its anger on the country.
The Pope offered an explanation for the violence and conflict that Mexico faces, saying that “the devil has beef” with Mexico. He says it’s because of the frequent persecution that Catholics faced in the country over the years.
He added that “Christian persecutions weren’t as virulent in other countries in America,” he told Noticieros Televisa, according to El Universal. “Why in Mexico? Something happened there… Otherwise, you can’t explain it.”
According to the Pope, the devil’s problem with Mexico also stems from the country’s immense admiration for la Virgen de Guadalupe.
Translation: @Pontifex_es still things that the devil has beef with Mexico because in Mexico, there is la Virgen de Guadalupe.
This actually goes back to a 2015 interview where the Pope again blamed Mexicans for worshipping la Virgen. He went on to say this is why the devil punishes Mexico.
Obviously, his remarks have caused quite a bit of drama in one of the world’s most Catholic countries.
Translation: He has to blame our bullshit on something.
People across Twitter are either offended and annoyed that the Pope would simplify something that is so complicated, while others are upset that their religious leader suggests they face an issue with the devil.
Like I don’t think anyone wants to hear that their country is being punished by the devil – especially not from the church’s number 1 leader.
Though many heard the news and couldn’t help but laugh.
The majority of people across social media just couldn’t beleive that their county’s struggles were being reduced to such a simple explanation.
Many wanted to hear detailed plans or suggestions from Pope Francis on how best to combat the issues the country faces but, instead, were left disappointed.
And some suggested the devil himself was probably having a good laugh at all of this.
Translation: Now we understand everything. The devil has beef with Mexico, says the Pope.
And one Twitter user admitted he agrees with Pope Francis.
Translation: “I also think that ‘the devil has beef with Mexico.’ Well, at least with my Chivas.”
Or at least that the devil has beef with his futbol team, Las Chivas. And with a season like they had last year, we would probably have to agree.
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