Staff Editorial: Pope Francis serves as new, revolutionary religious leader for 21st century

In recent years, Pope Francis has been at the forefront of progressive change within the Catholic community. While his support of controversial issues within the church is unorthodox, his views align with those of a changing society and allow for a looser interpretation of the Christian faith.

With his position on many “hot button” issues, Pope Francis encourages a more general interpretation of Christianity, offering those who were once persecuted by the Church a welcome place in the community. With increasing diversification within our society, the Pope’s modernization of the Catholic Church is a step in the right direction for reforming an organization that is too often based on discriminatory beliefs.

In an announcement released by the Vatican in April 2016, the Pope urged the acceptance of gay and lesbian individuals by priests of the Catholic Church worldwide.

“By thinking that everything is black and white, we sometimes close off the way of grace and growth,” wrote the Pope in a paper giving his views on family matters.

In an era of progressive change, the Pope’s stance reflects acceptance and compassion for those within the community he leads, as well as the world he influences. In spite of backlash from traditionalists of the Church, Pope Francis’s actions are necessary in making the religion and its followers more receptive to those outside of their own communities.

His willingness to break down barriers between the Christian and gay community should be recognized as a step towards unifying people from all walks of life, regardless of sexuality. In an increasingly divisive society, Pope Francis uses his platform as a diplomat and religious leader to promote peace.

In a religious community that so heavily values tradition and doctrine, the Pope encouraged the acceptance of not just members of the LGBTQ community, but anyone who lives beyond the rules of Christianity, including even divorced individuals.

His support for reformed thinking in an age old institution places focus on equal treatment for all. In August, the Pope created the Commission for the Study of Diaconate of Women in hopes of allowing women to be ordained as deacons, which are ministers that are appointed under a priest.

However, the largest and most controversial step Pope Francis has taken for the Catholic Church is his denouncement of Creationism, the belief that God created the world and everything on it. This ideology has been held by the Christian community essentially since its origins.

In his speech to the Pontifical Academy of Science, the Pope explained that God gave humanity all the necessary tools to create successful lives, so the idea of evolution aligns perfectly with Catholic ideals. This interpretation allows for science and religion to share a common ground.

He has rationalized religion in a revolutionary manner that allows for discussion rather than argument between scientists and religious peoples.

While not everyone finds themselves a part of the Catholic community, the Pope, as an influential figurehead, should garner the support of people of all demographics.

His practice of both progressive and traditional Christian values highlights his ability to preserve and embrace archaic views in an ever changing society.

The Pope’s efforts to establish a compromise between the ideas of the past and present should be commended and respected by all.

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