As is described in the recent issue of Conscience (Vol. XXXV, No. 4), Pope Francis has many blind spots. I sometimes get the feeling that we are all watching Pope Francis: The Movie, eating our popcorn and falling asleep, waiting for the progress that is not going to come.
I suppose the real change in the Catholic church is that we now feel that something may, in fact, actually change. Pope Francis has not announced any structural changes that will have an impact on the normal lives of ordinary Catholic people. So, when we speak of a blind spot, perhaps this is the blind spot we have in ourselves.
This pope is more of a prophet than his predecessors, and that in and of itself is not a bad thing, but I worry that he will not be able to live up to the public’s hopes for grand progressive changes in the church.
Pope Francis will first have to acknowledge all that is wrong within the church, analyze these failings and then change them. It is highly doubtful that he wants to change the moral teachings about abortion and euthanasia, or the rules regarding celibacy and women in the priesthood. Unless there is real and meaningful movement in these contested matters, these issues will continue to tear the church apart.
So my advice to all of us is not to wait on Pope Francis to initiate change in the church. We should experiment, advocate and do what is necessary to live our lives as Catholics.
Association for Critical Catholics
President, Peace Movement Church and Peace
The Hague, Netherlands