New Pope, Same Church

The following is a Letter to the Editor written by Hannah Lazarz ’13.

Contrary to statements made in a recent Opinions article titled Does new Pope mean new church? by Abby Bien, the Catholic Church does not consider an individual a sinner based on their sexual orientation.   The Church upholds the dignity of every human person. Period.

The article also referenced an individual who “was asked to leave the priesthood after coming out as a homosexual.”  If Church officials asked him to leave only because of his sexual orientation, they were not acting in accordance with Catholic beliefs and it saddens me that this would ever happen.  The article goes on to say that this man was later shunned from multiple churches.  This was almost 30 years ago, when the public acceptance of homosexuals was not a social norm.   I am in no way agreeing with the way that this man was treated, and I am fairly confident that this would not happen today.  The premise of Catholicism is that we are a universal, meaning all-embracing, church based on Christ’s greatest commandment of love of neighbor.

The article also asks why a married man with children would not make a good priest.  I agree with the author that a married man may make a good priest.  Furthermore, the ability for a priest to marry is a Church discipline as opposed to doctrine, meaning that this practice could change in the future if necessary.  However, the Church, at this time, recognizes that the priesthood is a demanding vocation, requiring sacrifices that would make it extremely difficult to also fulfill the role of husband and father.  There are many roles for married men as deacons and lay ministers in the church that don’t require the same level of sacrifice as a priest.

Does the new Pope mean a new church?  Fortunately, no.  The Catholic Church holds the same truths it has held for 2000 years.  Does the new Pope mean that there may be change?  Fortunately, yes.  But not in Church doctrine that defines who we are as Catholics.  These truths define those who struggle to live as Catholics, rather than those who misunderstand or misrepresent what Catholics believe.  Let us recognize the difference.


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