Mar 22, 2013

The Catholic Church Needs a Pope that Promotes Change

Photo by Christus Vincit from Flickr
Last week, the Roman Catholic church has elected a new pope, Pope Francis. He was elected because the pope before him resigned and was the very first one to do so for the past 600 years, as said by all news organizations in the entire world.

But if you do not know, I am an atheist -- and having a new pope actually do not affect me in anyway, or maybe a little bit, as when the white smoke appeared on TV, I was as excited as finding out who won a reality singing show. But after all of that, a whole week later, it seems like everybody has continued their lives as if nothing happened and everything's back to normal.

And I think that should not be the case. Catholics consider the Pope as a leader. And even if I am not a Catholic, I still see this position to be a powerful and a very influential person that can affect his followers. That's why I think it's time to have a new pope that has fresh new ideas, and can influence people to change their perspectives in this modern world.

The most important issue that the Catholic Church is facing right now is same-sex marriage. It has never approved such union and I think it's about time that we change that. Yes, the bible says that same-sex marriage is a sin, but the bible has a lot of things that we no longer follow today. Several examples include: anyone who works on Sunday must be put to death, promoting slavery, and the earth being flat. All of these are disregarded today because of our modern, naturally evolving minds.

I want to go back to slavery for a second. Everyone who are in their right mind today understands that having a slave is morally wrong, but centuries ago, it was a legal business. And I would assume that living in a world that having a slave was normal that time, the authors of the bible must think that there are no moral consequences for owning someone for your personal needs.

But human beings changed. I do not know how we did it, but we realized that slaves are people just like us. People that should be treated with respect, people that should have the same rights that we have, and people that should have freedom. I tried to remember my US history class, where Americans fought about this freedom, changed some policies, and we successfully abolished slavery.


I think we're on the same situation right now with same-sex marriage. We are progressing, a new poll suggests that supporters for it is on its all-time high, but the same thing with slavery, we are struggling. That's why I think it is so important for a pope to influence change about the minds of its supporters about this matter.

And if you are a supporter against same-sex marriage, ask yourself why you are being one. Why is the idea of two people who love each other who just happen to have the same sex affect you? Why should it affect you? Being gay doesn't hurt anyone, and being against it maybe the one that is hurting people. The Catholic Church should promote love, equality, and openness, not discrimination and hate against homosexuals.

The next thing I want to talk about is RH bill. This is an issue specifically for us in the Philippines. The bill has already been enacted last year, but it has been a long and a passionate fight for our government against the Catholic Church. The way I see RH bill, is that it is empowering families, specially women with choices and education about their sex lives and planning ahead for their parenthood.

It is not how the Catholic Church says it to be about mass murder of innocent souls and people to become sex addicts.

But let's admit it, sex is good. It is beneficial to our health, and there's really no reason for anyone to stop doing so (with your appropriate partner of course). But partners may not be ready for the consequence of having a baby, and not to forget about the sexually transmitted deceases they may get. That's why the RH bill promotes the use of birth control methods that will benefit couples.

And again, we live in a modern world, and the church's suggestion to just avoid temptation and follow abstinence simply ain't working anymore. Proper education about the matter and family planning is essential for every one of us. There is also the problem of overpopulation, and a lot of families are poor who cannot provide for their children. We all have watched the news on people having too many kids but only earn a little for a living. This should not be the case if their religion do not frighten them into using birth control methods every time they have the urge to have sex.


That's why having a pope that can encourage people to have proper sex education, and promotes safe sex would be what the modern day Christians could follow. Lacking education and birth control methods may lead to STD's, teen pregnancy, and parents being unable to sustain their child.

And the last thing I want to talk about today is science. Again, it seems like science and religion had a historic disagreement with one another. Each day, science gives us new things to learn, discover, and develop further, and it sometimes contradicts with religious beliefs.

Evolution, dinosaurs, the creation of our universe, gravity(!) are all examples in which old teachings of a traditional religion contradicts with our modern discoveries and technological advances.

But, if you think about it, having a disagreement on things shouldn't really matter if only a religious teaching was not introduced in the first place. For example, all of us accept that the sun is made up of a hot giant ball of plasma. No one contradicts this fact as we are all given scientific evidence, but more importantly, it does not contradict any religious teachings.

I remember my stay in Thailand a few years back, where my sister got home one day saying that she was surprised that her students are widely accepting evolution. Thailand's population is mainly Buddhist, and it seems like their teachings do not contradict this scientific fact, and that is the reason why they are able to accept it freely.

A pope can do the same thing for the Catholic church. Science has made us progress in the past, and it will continue in doing so. And to progress us even faster, I think a union between religion and science should be made.

But I might have been wishing too much for what I would love to see a pope do in his church. We still have a long way to go, but I am optimistic. I think what we can all do for now is to live happy, make others happy, and avoid hurting anyone.

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