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Time for Pope Francis to Bring Back Authentic Catholic Teachings

February 21, 2014

“Pope Francis has an opportunity this week to put real action behind his words by creating a Catholic church that is ‘home for all’ and not a ‘small chapel’ obsessed with sex and political power,” said Jon O’Brien, president of Catholics for Choice. “It’s a chance for renewal and reform within the church.

“As 150 members of the College of Cardinals meet in Rome to plan the agenda for October’s synod of the world’s bishops on issues of sex, sexuality and family life, Pope Francis can lead the hierarchy back to the authentic Catholic teachings that respect conscience as the final arbiter in moral decision making. That is where Catholics are.

“Results of an international survey by Univision, statements from Japanese bishopsGerman bishops and Swiss bishops [not available in English] and commentary the world over show that lay Catholics’ lives do not reflect the conservative agenda pushed by the hierarchy when it comes to social issues.

“Some doubt Pope Francis’ ability to make sweeping reforms in light of conservative power, but he is still the leader of the church,” continued O’Brien. “With a wave of his hand, he could bridge the growing gulf between the laity and the hierarchy when it comes to social issues and work towards ending the hypocrisy within the church.

“Pope Francis has the opportunity to confirm what was already decided in the 1960s and end the ban on birth control. He can end the church’s harsh judgment of divorced and remarried Catholics and allow them to receive Communion. He can bring women into leadership positions in the church and into the curia. Finally, he can bring justice for those living with HIV & AIDS and confirm Pope Benedict’s assessment that good Catholics can use condoms.

“I sincerely hope Pope Francis takes this opportunity to not only talk the talk, but walk the walk when it comes to reform and steer the church towards more authentic Catholic teaching.”