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Saturday, June 15
The Indiana Daily Student


Modern Catholics

Since Pope Francis’ innaguration in March 2013 , the Holy Father has unflinchingly addressed controversial topics that have historically been indisputable within the Catholic Church.

His groundbreaking, “Who am I to judge?” remark regarding gay individuals who seek a relationship with Jesus set the tone for a revolutionary reign.

A newly modern stance on issues such as charity, service, money, divorce and gay marriage has given Pope Francis universal, inter-denominational appeal.

The Extraordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops, often referred to as a “synod,” began in Rome this weekend. A synod is a gathering of more than 200 Catholic bishops, priests and laypeople from around the world

The topic of this particular synod is, according to a statement released by the Vatican, “the pastoral challenges of the family,” which includes items such as contraception, same-sex unions, polygamy and communion for divorced and remarried Catholics.

A survey conducted by Georgetown University’s Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate revealed that of the 30 million married Catholics in America, 4.5 million are divorced and remarried without an annulment. This means they cannot receive communion.

Even for a non-Catholic such as myself, this turn of events is exciting and refreshing. The Pope has frequently noted his concern for the waning relevance of the Catholic Church in modern society, and I couldn’t agree more.

Christians as a whole have been branded as generally backward and intolerant, two traits that cannot carry into the next ?generation.

Pope Francis has already encountered some public backlash against his recommendations for the synod’s discussion from cardinals and other church leaders.

Pope Francis has an uphill battle ahead of him, but his eagerness to fight it gives me great hope for an institution with a long history of violence and ?discrimination.

One in 10 American adults is a former Catholic , according to a study by the Pew Research Center.

My father is included in that population. He didn’t agree with the church’s intolerance and refusal to accept new ideas.

When he and my Protestant mother became engaged, my father’s priest refused to marry them. 

Another study in March 2013 by U.S. News found that Americans are currently the least religious they’ve ever been .

No matter what your spiritual beliefs or opinions may be, it is nearly impossible to argue the world would benefit from the eradication of organized religion. I don’t want the Catholic Church to fade away, I want it to adapt.

I appreciate the enormous amount of people who are religious and open-minded, willing to bring their faiths into the 21st century.

Pope Francis has made it clear he feels the same, and I look forward to the tremendous conversations and adaptions his papacy undoubtably holds for Catholics — and others — all around the globe.

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