Yesterday, as I was conversing with friends on Facebook, I was seeing a variety of different posts about the new pope, Pope Francis. Many were encouraged. More were unhappy and disappointed with the lack of progress that is being made by the Catholic church.
I suppose it is much easier for me to look at this with an objective outlook, he is not my Pope. For some reason, ever since I was a young girl, I have questioned the “rules and laws” espoused by any church that smacked of injustice, inequality, judgment, and a lack of inclusion. I am not surprised that the new pope follows the doctrines of the Catholic church without question. He would never have made it to Cardinal status if he did not, and would never have been viewed as a viable candidate for Pope if he did not.
This outlook, of course, has helped my spirit resonate with the First Agreement of Toltec Wisdom as written about by don Miguel Ruiz in his book, The Four Agreements. The First Agreement states “Be Impeccable With Your Word”. Underneath that agreement is the concept of looking at the agreements you have made with your tribe (family, friends, church community, teachers) and your culture, both ancient and current. These are agreements you have made without reservation, without thought as to whether they are true for you. Without asking the question, “does my spirit resonate with this agreement”, and listening for the truth from deep inside.
As I think about the views held by Pope Francis with an intention of standing in non-judgment and staying assumption free, taking him at his word – I see that he strongly believes in helping the world’s poor, protecting women and children from abuse and exploitation, he opposes abortion and views choice as a “death movement” and he opposes same-sex marriage stating, as reported by L’Osservatore Romano:
“In the coming weeks, the Argentine people will face a situation whose outcome can seriously harm the family…At stake is the identity and survival of the family: father, mother and children. At stake are the lives of many children who will be discriminated against in advance, and deprived of their human development given by a father and a mother and willed by God. At stake is the total rejection of God’s law engraved in our hearts.
Let’s not be naive: This is not a simple political fight; it is a destructive proposal to God’s plan. This is not a mere legislative proposal (that’s just its form), but a move by the father of lies that seeks to confuse and deceive the children of God… Let’s look to St. Joseph, Mary, and the Child to ask fervently that they defend the Argentine family in this moment… May they support, defend, and accompany us in this war of God. “
I can only bless Pope Francis, and know that these are his truths – that they may have come from his culture and/or his tribe. I cannot judge him, but my truths are not his in all cases. I recognize that I cannot change him, or his church. And, I am not responsible for him.
So, let me be impeccable with my word:
- I agree with helping our fellow (wo)man. None should be abused or exploited. The ill deserve our love, compassion, and to be cared for. Humanity, not just women and children deserve our love, compassion, and to be cherished and not be abused. The elderly deserve our love, compassion, and our monetary support so that they might be able to share their wisdom without fear of destitution.
- I believe a woman must be given the right to choose abortion under certain relatively narrow circumstances. This is my truth – based on my experiences in life and my belief in responsible choice.
- And, as I watch the very elderly, and very sick people around me, I also believe they should be allowed the right to remove themselves from pain. This does not “make them disposable and worthless”, it honors them. This is my truth, and is based on my life experiences, and the stated desire of my parents.
- I also honor the hundreds of LGBT people in my life. It has been a strong part of my life’s journey to embrace this wonderful community, and to be accepted by them as an ally and advocate. This is my truth, and I cannot believe that this is “a war of God” or that this is not “God’s plan”. Perhaps it is because I believe that being gay is part of God’s plan, to teach us that we are all unique, treasured and loved. And, that we should treat everyone with compassion and more than just tolerance or acceptance – but embrace them for who they are. My Grandma Violet used to say “God doesn’t make junk!” And those are words to live by.
I am grateful he is not my Pope, and I honor him for living his truth. I am free to listen to my heart, to act on my truth, and to love and support without passing judgment, without taking away freedom and the right to choice, and to extend the hand of compassion and peace. I am free to change my world, one person at a time.