Pope Francis’ visit to America is a memorable one no doubt. Both Catholics and non Catholics gathered en masse in the shadow of Washington Monument cheering and joyfully calling out at the man whose humility and love for the poor has electrified the global Catholic Church. While the pope show severe love to Americans, speaking directly to thousands of Americans for the first time, he challenges us in 10 amazing ways. So it’s not just about having a glimpse of the Pope, there are 10 moral challenges the Holy Father who stirs love and respect in the hearts of many Christians presents us.
1. Humility is Virtue
Francis symbolizes humility and simplicity. He is noted for his humility and he represents a typical replica of the man he took on his name known as St. Francis of Assisi, a steward of the poor whose love of the natural world was legendary. His concern for the poor, and his humble approach to the papacy stirs love in the heart of the world. A master of symbolism, Francis swiftly did away with the fancy red slippers that popes wore. He relocated into a small guest house in the Vatican rather than the papal apartments of the Apostolic Palace and put the papal Mercedes in the garage, favoring a 20-year-old Renault with 190,000 miles on it. He turns down extravagance and waste in his leadership. Pope Francis’ actions challenge us to live a life of humility and not be driven by ostentation. How many of us are willing to sacrifice the beautiful and expensive things we have to live with less in a smaller house, drive an older car or resole a pair of shoes to make the poor as comfortable as they need to be? Well, it will do the world good if everybody would take the step of pope’s humility.
2. Climate Change is Real
Pope Francis always maintains that the church should be open and welcoming and he places the church at the forefront of his subjects, issuing crucial encyclical on environmental problems. He is against global warming, urging all Christians to regard it as their duty to become faithful servants of their planet. He recently queried “Isn’t nature humanity committing suicide with this indiscriminate and tyrannical use of nature?
3. Commitment to the Poor
Commitment to the poor goes hand in hand with humility, after all humility is being poor in spirit. When one is poor in spirit, they put humans of any class into consideration. It is rare for a day to pass without the Pope reminding his followers to take care of those at the margins of society. He has actively participated in caring for the poor. He has visited impoverished countries, bringing attention to poor people. Courageously he says, the poor around the world are being sacrificed at the “altar of money. This begs the questions; are we truly Christians or are we only offering lip service to the plight of the poor? Do we have a place in our soul (pocket) for the needy who lack food, shelter, clothing etc? Pope Francis never misses the golden chance of mingling with everybody and anybody no matter their status. He even popped in one time unannounced at the Vatican workers’ cafeteria on an afternoon, lined up, tray in hand, along with stunned workers and had lunch with them… If you hated this concept in the past, you can start now to emulate the Pope’s footprint.
4. He is Against Capitalism
The Pope has greatly condemned “a new colonialism” that design policies with serious consequences for the poverty-stricken individuals, and once described a fourth-century bishop who characterized the unbridled capitalism as “the dung of the devil.” He insists that poor nations must not play the subservient role of making the raw materials available or becoming cheap employees taken for cheap salaries earners to rich countries. Are we now too avaricious for our own selfish reasons? With increase in income inequality, we should not play the role of onlookers while the rich keeps getting richer, the middle class getting poorer and the poor getting even poorer? The pope’s attitude toward the world economic order might be seen as controversial, but in real sense, it embodies equality which is the way forward.
5. Homosexuality in the Church
Though the Pope maintains the traditional views of the Church regarding homosexuality, one of this pope’s first surprising actions was what he said concerning the gays in the church. He recently questioned “If someone is gay and he searches for the Lord and has good will, who am I to judge?” This statement is less strict than the ones his predecessor in the Vatican, who called homosexuality “an intrinsic moral evil” had said in the past.
Well this Pope understands too well the part of the bible that says “Judge not so you wouldn’t be judged”. Jesus said it, and yes it’s nearly an everyday problem for most Christians today. We are not given power to judge fellow Christians and human beings even in our hearts with any standard whatsoever. The good Lord condemns this act, therefore refrain from being too quick to judge others. Start now to open your life to gay men and women, treat them nicely, respectfully and equally for you are not God. It won’t change who you are and I think the Pope knows this better.
6. Sex Equality
Francis hasn’t spoken up that women should be allowed into the priesthood. But he has shown readiness to listen, backing “the work of strengthening and of improving” the role of women in the church. He is the first Pope to wash the feet of a woman. And that in fact, it wasn’t just any woman’s feet, but a Muslim woman’s feet who was an inmate at a nearby prison.
7. Extends Hands Of Friendship to Muslims
Francis spoke to muslims in a surprising style. He hugely believes we are all created in the image and likeness of God and as such are God’s children, and there are no exceptions. Irrespective of the diverse religious faith in which we believe in we don’t have to talk about Islam or any religion, or other religions, in ways that reflect badly on us and them or let people around us speak in anti-Muslim ways without correcting their misconceptions. Even on Holy Thursday in 2013, the Pope shocked the world when he bent to wash the feet of two Muslims. He has also allied himself with the Palestinians numerous times, telling President Mahmoud Abbas to visit the Vatican, where he called him “an angel of peace.”
8. Considers Science as Logical
During the time of Galileo, the church has always been in conflict with science. However, Francis has extended a hand of peacemaking between science and theology. According to his statement “God is not a magician with a magic wand,” standing against his predecessor, Benedict XVI, who supported creationism and intelligent design. Francis explains that God “created human beings and let them develop according to the internal laws that he gave to each one so they would reach their fulfillment.”
9. A Global Vision
Among the first actions of Pope Francis’ was a call on the Israelis and the Palestinians to the Vatican to “pray for peace.” He has also visited many countries trying to relieve the plight of many by always listening to the complaints of the residents of any society around the world. The Pope’s gestures that we should open a wider arm to the world, its needs and emergency demands. We shouldn’t show concerns when it’s happening just in our country or around, but to act the same way we would to other countries if happened around us……that’s simply ‘Golden Rule’
10. Pope For All
Pope Francis is urging us to be agents of peace and reconciliation, of action and betterment (the great attributes he is known for). He is man of the people and call at everybody to be embodiment of peace and mercy and to forgive any ill anybody must have or will do to us.
Are we going to act according to these many urgent challenges the Pope has put before us?