Pope Francis Urges Catholics to Shift Focus, but What's Really Going to Change?

Abortions, homosexuality, and contraception are _________...


Well, what are they?


Ask anyone to fill in the blank, and answers will likely be teeming with strong opinions.


Recently, Pope Francis sparked a dialogue in the Catholic community about these subjects when he chastised the Catholic Church for being “obsessed” with the aforementioned in an interview last week. He made headlines for shocking the conservative Catholic’s, and he was named a liberal by several news outlets. In his interview, Pope Francis said that the church’s focus should be directed at more pressing issues.



According to Huffington Post, Pope Francis said:


“The church sometimes has locked itself up in small things, in small-minded rules.”


Although Pope Francis has made these seemingly progressive remarks, William Donohue points out in his piece on CNN that the church’s doctrine will always remain.


“The pope is right that single-issue Catholics need to rise above their immediate concerns. He did not say we should avoid addressing abortion or homosexuality; he simply said we couldn’t be absorbed by these issues. Or any others,” wrote Donohue. 


Despite Pope Francis’ straying away from focusing solely on these issues, according to catholic doctrine:


Abortion is wrong.


Homosexuality is wrong.


And contraception is wrong.


See, I grew up catholic and received all the sacraments up to Confirmation. And although my mom and I would say our prayers every night together, she never tried to shape my ideas on abortion, sexuality, or birth control. Instead she taught me to take care of myself the best I can; she taught me the difference between a “bad touch” and a “good touch”; she taught me to be selective with whom I chose to spend my time with. She taught me to share, to love others, and to forgive, but she didn't impose her beliefs on me (whatever they were)—there's a difference.


I still remember speaking to my elementary school friend about never having an abortion because that’s what I was taught in school. It was before I believed that being forced to give birth regardless of reason goes against autonomy of one’s own body, independence, and free will. It was before I knew that experience can and will make you eat your words.


The community in which I was immersed in was always less accepting of homosexuality. Insinuating someone was gay in the schoolyard was among some of the worst insults imaginable. I was indifferent until I realized that marginalizing someone based on sexual orientation is just as ignorant as marginalizing them based on something like race.  


When I was ready, I was urged to use condoms as well if I also wanted to use the pill. It’s not news that some politicians on the right aim to make birth control or plan b more difficult to obtain under the guise that it’s unnatural or immoral. The logic behind condemning someone for wanting to have sex but not wanting to have children or catching an STI as a result escapes me.


Catholic doctrine contradicts my views on these things, but the bible also says to love thy neighbor and that no one but God can judge. If this is taken seriously, I don’t see how people can criticize others for who they are and what they want to do with their bodies.


For me, abortions, homosexuality, and contraception aren’t matters that dictate morality—they shouldn’t be so politicized and made into public issues.



What are they for you?