Lack of spiritual faith harms relationship with church

Abigail Kruse and Abigail Kruse

This pope does not give me hope. At least not beyond hope for more cute pictures with sheep.

I will say that his outreach to those spurned by society is refreshingly noble.

But I will also say with certainty that there will be no great change to church doctrine.

Pope Francis advocates respect and understanding for our gay and lesbian brothers and sisters— but not their rights to marry and raise a family,as the Vatican was quick to confirm.

He calls for greater recognition of the role of women in the church, but not as equally viable ordained leaders. The boys in lace at the Vatican are petrified of change and losing power.

The longer they can keep women subdued, the more easily they can drag the church backward in time. Back to the days before the congregation-friendly changes implemented by the Second Vatican Council in the 1960s, like the option of translating the language of Mass from Latin into the local language of the congregation.

Recently, Pope Francis extended a message to estranged Catholics, telling them he has respect for them, but God is waiting for them to come back and be part of his people.

The statement is presumptuous, suggesting God can only be found in the Catholic Church.

At home for break I went to Christmas Eve Mass with my siblings. Last year, the new priest invited the little ones up to sit around the altar for the homily. I thought it was going to be a beautiful new tradition.

It was beautiful all right, but conspicuously absent this year. Someone must have told him we don’t do family-friendly things like that around there. I was reminded how much I dislike the new translation of the Mass, enforced in 2011 to make the English translation more closely reflect the original Latin.

It seems a grudging compromise.

I had a discussion with my mother about the changes I was seeing, ones that dissuade her because they remind her of the church of her childhood: more distancing formality, more incense and fewer female altar servers.

Neither of us find spiritual fulfillment there anymore, and neither of us are pleased with the direction taken by the place my whole family once went to worship.

I have been to other parishes, and mine is just one of many taking a turn.

News outlets have painted Pope Francis as a radical, the freshest breath of air to come along since John Paul II.

All I can smell is the stale odor of sameness, oppression and backward thinking and I won’t hold my breath for much else.

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