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Friday, June 21
The Indiana Daily Student


A long-term vision

For the past several weeks, Pope Francis and many international bishops have been engaged in a synod regarding the handling of family matters by the Catholic church.

Pope Francis called the synod to discuss a multitude of topics, including the acceptance of same-sex marriage and the issuing of communion to individuals who have been divorced.

In a statement Saturday, Francis, along with many bishops, declared that “gays have many gifts to offer the church” and asked if the church was ready to adopt an attitude of “accepting and valuing their sexual orientation without compromising Catholic doctrine on family and matrimony.”

Almost immediately, the Associated Press reported that the bishops stand in firm opposition to Francis’s open-armed ideal and have decided to “scrap welcome to gays.”

“People with homosexual tendencies must be welcomed with respect and delicacy,” began the second draft, but the bishops maintained that church teachings were meant to uphold the doctrine that marriage is only between a man and a woman. The paragraph failed to reach the necessary two-thirds approval.

It has now become obvious that Pope Francis is entirely alone in his efforts to guide the Catholic church into the twenty-first century and maintain its relevance among members of the millennial generation.

Of course, he is only alone among other clergy. Huffington Post reporter Carol Kuruvilla wrote Thursday of the Pew Research Center’s findings that an overwhelming 85 percent of young American Catholics support equal treatment under both national and church law for gay and lesbian individuals.

Such unanimity where equality is concerned is hardly surprising among our ?generation.

Kuruvilla also reported that 70 percent of all American Catholics side with the youth. Homosexuality should be accepted rather than discouraged, and the church should support same-sex marriage.

Pope Francis has already been a breath of fresh air coming straight from the heart of an institution that has not been known for its understanding or lenience.

He supports women, believes in radial charity and has a vision for the Catholic church that includes all of God’s children.

But how much good can one man do without the ?support of his administration?

In February 2010, the Pew Research Center conducted a major survey of young Americans aged 18 to 29 regarding their religious practices and found that the millennial generation is significantly less devout than ?previous generations.

The book “ You Lost Me: Why Young Christians are Leaving Church and Rethinking Faith ,” published in October 2011, found that 59 percent of young Americans have ceased attending church by age 15.

“Young people view churches as judgmental, overprotective, exclusive and unfriendly toward doubters,” wrote the authors.

When our churches refuse to love and accept everyone around us unconditionally, we leave.

Pope Francis has clearly seen the statistics and knows that a central goal of his papacy should be to ensure his church’s survival by including everyone, regardless of sexuality, gender identification or marital status.

I sincerely hope the bishops can adopt his long-term vision as well.

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