Pope Francis has been the head of the Catholic Church for more than one hundred days. The pontiff arrived to Rome with a positive image and a sense of refreshment in the Catholic world for being the first pope from the Americas and the first Jesuit. He hasn’t been in his seat long and until recently he was only an observant of the world, however, Francis new encyclical hints at the future of the Catholic Church.
The Argentinean Jorge Mario Bergoglio was elected pontiff last March after Pope Benedict XVI resigned; Francis chose the papal name Francis in honor of Saint Francis of Assisi. Through his life Bergoglio has been noted for being humble and showing concern for the poor. He likes dialogue and he sees it as a way to build bridges between people.
Before, Francis has commented about international topics; however, this is the first time that he publishes his thoughts as pope about concerning issues for the Catholic community. The encyclical is called “Lumen Fidei,”, Latin for “The light of Faith.” The book is 82 pages long and was started by emeritus Pope Benedict XVI, and finished by Pope Francis whom, as the Vatican explained, “added further contributions to the existing first draft.”
The encyclical´s premise is faith, which helps man “distinguish from good and evil” and Vatican Radio said that the encyclical makes a trilogy began by Benedict, “Deus Caritas Est” and “Spe Salvi”. The trilogy talks about faith, hope and charity.
The encyclical hints at the future of the Catholic Church because it addresses some issues that people have been waiting to hear about; for instance; same-sex-marriage, “I think the first and foremost of the stable union of man and woman in marriage.” So, Francis will carry on where the legacy that Benedict XVI left off, with the so-called war against same-sex-marriage.
Also, the encyclical explains how humanity put all its trust on science and technology and forget about faith and love, “massive amnesia in our contemporary world;” and “When faith is weakened, the foundations of humanity also risk being weakened.” The encyclical, additionally, stresses that Catholics, believers of other faiths, non-believers and scientists can establish peaceful dialogue between each other.
Pope Francis has shown that he is a conservative and that he will not change his convictions relating to same-sex-marriage or abortion, however, his actions are also saying a lot about the path he will take as pontiff, for example, he decided not to wear the red Prada shoes that all his predecessors have worn in the past, then he chose the guesthouse instead of the Vatican Palace and he upset some employees of the Vatican when he gave the special bonus – traditionally given to Vatican employees when a new pope is elected – to works of charity.
The new encyclical hints at the future of the Catholic Church and it might disappoint some of us who were expecting a more open church ready to accept same-sex-marriage, but, at the same time, it is a good reminder of the meaning of having faith in a world that lost it a while ago.
Elton John, who is openly gay, told Vanity Fair that he embraces the actions of Pope Francis and said, “Francis is a miracle of humility in an era of vanity.”
By: Oskar Guzman.