As a Roman Catholic and a member of the Knights of Columbus, I have always been conflicted about the churches decrees on abortion, birth control, homosexuality and divorce.
Beyond the question of right or wrong, I have always felt that judgement is really between the individual and their God. That a caring God is going to embrace everyone. Who are we to make moral judgements? The Church needs to be more merciful and more welcoming place for all.
Pope Francis's statement last year that “If someone is gay and seeks the Lord with good will,
who am I to judge" was welcome news to me. I was also pleased that he said the Church is too obsessed with gays, abortion and birth control.
"The church sometimes has locked itself up in small things, in small-minded rules," he lamented.
So far, Francis has been doing much more than talking, he has been adjusting the Church's moral edifice to be more in tune with the needs of the flock.
The Vatican sent out questionnaires to parishes worldwide in November, before a synod on the family this October. The results are now in. The level of transparency is astounding compared to past practices of the Vatican.Just doing a survey was proof of Francis's commitment to listen to the concerns of the faithful, releasing the results is refreshing and open.
The results of that questionnaire and another survey have been released. They show that Roman Catholics are divided on many of the bedrock issues like birth control. The results indicate that Catholics want change. The Pope is right to challenge Catholic Progressives that put out of touch doctrines ahead of social justice and caring.
It is too early to tell what will happen in November, but this Pope has shown that he realizes something needs to change. How far he will be able to take his reforms is yet to be determined. I have faith that he can end the hypocrisy that many Catholics are forced to endure and find a new balance.