Francis is the leading bishop of the Roman Catholic Church worldwide. For me, and after such a long time of conservative leadership, his approach is refreshing. He and his Church are in my prayers.
I have heard derisive comments from people outside the Roman Catholic fold who are doubtful of the ability of Francis to bring about significant changes to some of the hot button issues. Issues of science, inclusion and sexuality often make the headlines. However, from what I’ve read by people who listen to the whole of the discussion, the supposed divide in the Roman Catholic Church is not as great as reported.
Either way, it’s not like our house is not also made of glass. People predicted that the death knell of Anglican Church was the ordination of women to the priesthood. Yet, all these decades later we not only have priests but bishops who are female. We are richer as a community because of it.
It seems inevitable that, as these issues proceed within the Roman Catholic Church, debate will intensify and might even turn bitter from time to time. Our role is not to be scornful of their behavior but perhaps to recall that we went through much the same thing. In fact, in a very real way, we are hardly through it yet. There are still significant portions of the Anglican Church that would exclude women from the priesthood and gays and lesbians from membership.
Having respectful and open conversations about things people care deeply about, and when there is not a common mind, is difficult. Rather than being pessimistic let’s assume that the Holy Spirit continues to lead all parts of the Church universal. Rather than mocking others let’s remember that we have lots of stuff that we still find problematic. Rather than point out the splinter in our neighbour’s eye, let’s deal with the 2x4 in our own. And for now, let’s pray from one another.