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Wed Apr 27, 2016, 05:54 AM


Pope Francis adapts religious values to a progressive era

by Heather Molzon on April 27, 2016

Since his election in 2013, Pope Francis has been known as one of the most progressive popes the Vatican has ever seen. The Religion News Service explains that he “has said that the church must be more merciful and open, and he has encouraged debate on changing pastoral practices.” His positive influence on the Catholic Church is proving that traditional religious institutions can continue to adapt to modern culture. Whether or not you align with the values of the Catholic religion, Pope Francis’ forward-looking attitude is undeniably commendable.

Francis’ progressive goals for the Church were especially demonstrated by the new apostolic exhortation Amoris Laetita, released on April 8. It was published in multiple languages including English, German, French, Italian, Portuguese and Spanish. Amoris Laetita is Latin for the “Joy of Love” and Francis wrote about marriage and family in context of the Catholic Church. He addressed many controversially charged issues that other popes have been hesitant to confront head on. This document—along with other actions of Francis—are positive steps that illustrate how traditional religious institutions can continue to adapt with the modern culture.

The New York Times reported that some of Francis’ transformative messages in Amoris Laetita included: an appeal for greater empathy, reviving injured marriages, denouncing antigay violence, encouraging single parents, questioning “safe sex” messages and creating a new route back into the Church for divorced Catholics.

These are all widespread issues in both religious and secular societies. Furthermore, the Washington Post predicted that although the Pope cannot make his changes too drastic, the exhortation serves as “symbolic” and will have a strong “media resonance.” This proved to be true, as many Catholic media outlets such as the National Catholic Reporter are encouraging Catholics to “take Amoris Laetitia’s challenge seriously.”


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