Until the man we know as Pope Francis came more prominently into view, the West could have been characterized (unfairly, it turns out) as hobbled by a taste for certainty, an unduly literal apprehension of the expressions of faith, and a profoundly proscriptive moralism.
As a Catholic, who happens to work in the church, and who writes extensively about the church, and who is also gay, I am fairly desensitized to the veiled bigotry employed by so many Catholic leaders.
Pope Francis continues to radically refocus the Catholic Church and, even as a non-Catholic, I am beginning to view him as a personal pastor.
From its very beginnings Christianity sought separation from Judaism. No small task since Christianity arose from Jewish prophesies and a connection to the Jewish Davidic line, which, according to the Torah, would produce the Messiah.
Brisk, sunny autumn has arrived -- "football weather," my mother calls it -- and my mind turns to the game on September 21 between Michigan State and ...
If we look at what Pope Francis has accomplished these last six months, it has all been a practical living out of the advice he gave his enthusiastic, youthful audience.
You'd think that a bill to give victims of childhood sexual abuse more time to file a lawsuit would be the sort of non-controversial legislation that politicians would rush to champion. Well, you'd be wrong.
If we are to maintain the separation of church and state we must adapt to deal with the problems that arise.
I know I'm not going to go to a gay wedding in a Catholic church anytime soon, and I know I'm not always going to agree with what the leaders of the Catholic Church have to say, but my time at Loyola affirmed for me that people of faith have more things in common than differences.
If you try to talk about religion on stage, people in the audience will immediately question your right to talk about religion rather than listen to the points you try to make.
The "functional facts" of the canonical Gospels and the rest of the New Testament have been misread and misinterpreted. Moreover, the distortions were driven by Christian and Jewish leaders who were intent on imposing wedges to distance the two faiths as separate religions.
As a Catholic nun for seven years I saw the power of the Catholic Church in making and breaking rules, baptizing and excommunicating members, and throwing a heap of guilt on those poor souls that miss their mark of perfection.
The Catholic Church is the kind of institution that changes and reforms in geologic time, and seldom in the time frame of a single generation. And while it evolves -- and I believe that's what it is doing -- it does something amazing.
Until the history of institutional misogyny is addressed, moves of openness toward gay people cannot amount to very much: no institution solves a tangential psycho-sexual malady as it "shuts the door" on its root sexual prejudice.
The primary message, regardless of phrasing, seems to be that although all genders are equal in the eyes of God, cisgender men are simply more equal than the rest.
If we do choose to praise Pope Francis, we shouldn't see this as a divergence from his previous comments, because much of Pope Francis' teachings preach inclusion for those on the margins, whether the poor, or uneducated, and now the sexually marginalized.