The distinctive personality of Pope Francis helps to open the church, say people from the church

The distinctive personality of Pope Francis helps to open the church, say people from the church

The distinct personality of Pope Francis helped open the church , I mean people from the church

Pope Francis in a picture from March 8, 2023.

Prague – The outstanding personality that is Pope Francis has contributed to greater openness of the Catholic Church and its understanding from the side of the unbelievers. The General Secretary of the Czech Bishops' Conference, Stanislav Přibyl, told ČTK on the occasion of the tenth anniversary of the election of Jorge Maria Bergoglia as head of the church. According to him, in the case of Francis, the first pope from the American continent, it was already clear upon his election that his pontificate would also be different from the previous ones.

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“Pope Francis mainly brought a change in public behavior to the leadership of the church. It can be seen that he behaves informally, openly, not too pompously and sometimes goes beyond established habits and conventions. This is also connected to his openness to various problematic topics,” the chairman of the Ecumenical Council told ČTK church and bishop of the Silesian Church of the Evangelical Augsburg Confession Tomáš Tyrlík.

But he reminds that the church, even the Catholic one, is not made by the Pope alone, so only history will evaluate the extent of the changes that Francis will leave behind. “However, the synod process initiated by him was important for ecumenical relations, where we, like other churches, were invited to participate in finding questions and answers about the preaching of the Gospel today. I am grateful to him for this openness,” he said.

“I think that Pope Francis proved that he is a very distinctive personality, very extroverted and communicative, which certainly contributed to a greater opening of the church and its understanding even by non-believers. However, the significance of the pontificate is evaluated only after its end,” said Přibyl.< /p>

When asked whether the attitude of the Catholic Church towards the most vulnerable groups of people changed or improved during Francis' pontificate, Přibyl said that it certainly did not. “Because the Church has always been there for over 2,000 years, it is and will be for the most vulnerable. Its essential mission is to help these people, for example through the charity it has established worldwide, and to protect them,” he said. According to him, it is even worse and more painful if there are also failures in the church, such as the abuse of minors. “Pope Francis developed many good activities in this regard, he met with the victims several times and repeatedly, apologized to them, issued important documents according to which these crimes are solved,” said Přibyl.

According to some, cases of sexual abuse by priests, which the public has learned about in recent years, should also lead to a debate on the abolition of celibacy. There are voices that if the clergy were allowed to live sexually in a partnership union, it could reduce the number of cases of abuse. In an interview published by the Argentinian news portal Infobae on the occasion of the tenth anniversary of the Pope's election, Francis said that lifelong celibacy is a rule that can be changed, and therefore married clergy can be imagined in the Church.

He stated that also pointing to the practice of Eastern Catholic churches, where celibacy is not mandatory for priests. He mentioned that celibacy is a temporary prescription, not eternal like priestly ordination. He admitted that it could be abolished, but noted that, according to him, the abolition of celibacy for priests will not make their role easier.

Even as Cardinal Bergoglio criticized the intention to legalize gay marriage as a destructive intention against God's plan. Recently, however, he has repeatedly criticized laws that consider homosexuality a crime. He says that homosexuality is not a crime, but a sin, and that a distinction should be made between the two. In 2020, Pope Francis for the first time publicly supported laws that allow homosexuals to enter into registered partnerships. The Pope does not consider the Catholic Church's refusal to bless homosexual couples to be discriminatory.

Since the beginning of his pontificate, Francis has appointed several women to Vatican and church institutions, but still has not allowed their ordination to the priesthood. “Regarding women in the Church, it is one thing to differentiate priestly ordination, which is reserved exclusively for men in the Catholic Church, which Pope Francis has repeatedly confirmed. However, recently, some important positions in Vatican institutions have also been occupied by women, which according to a good trend for me,” reminded Přibyl.