Tuesday, September 29, 2015

The Pope

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As I said in the last post, there's been a lot of freaking out about the Pope in our household.  Solely by me.  I mean, don't get me wrong, Mike likes the guy, but he definitely wasn't glued to the television like I was.  I was raised half Catholic (my dad is Catholic and my mom is Episcopalian), but I hadn't really paid that much attention to the Pope's schedule since, well, I wasn't going to be anywhere near him.  In fact, I'm closer to him when he's at the Vatican than when he was in the United States.  Add in a 7 hour time difference and I figured I'd be asleep for most of the fanfare.


Karen texted me on the day of his arrival and said to turn on the news because the Pope was almost in America.  It was around 11:00pm our time, but we were still a little jetlagged from Germany, so we were still wide awake. Thanks to AFN, the one news channel we get was CNN at the moment and was showing the Pope's trip to America live.

And so we watched....

Waiting anxiously for him to get off the plane!!
There he is! In the United States!!
And chanted "Francisco! Francisco!" (okay, that was just me)

Two of my faves!

And over the next few days we watched some more....

I just love them all so much!

Address the crowd (including Karen!!) on the lawn

And I fell in love with the little old man with the big hat even more than I already did....

He put on his hat for Mass shortly afterwards

I think it's fair to say that this pope is different from the last. I think there is a perception that the Catholic Church is outdated in it's rulings and teachings.  It doesn't let women be priests, doesn't recognize marriage besides those between a woman and a man, and doesn't promote the use of birth control except that of Natural Family Planning.   Even I have been turned off by many of those aspects, but in the end, I think those are just small parts of the Catholic faith.

I think one of the greatest things that Pope Francis has done is help change that perception of Catholicism.  While he has not changed any of those rules of the faith, he has been more open and accepting.  While he has not allowed gay marriage in the Church, he has said "Who am I to judge?" what people do outside of the Church. He has been more open to what a family looks like, has interacted directly with the poor and the imprisoned, and has been more accepting of people who had previously been outcast from the church.  He has shown that mercy and inclusion is more important than the actual rules of the church, which I believe is the true example of what it means to be Catholic.

I don't think the Catholic Church is perfect, nor do I agree with everything Pope Francis has said.  There are still a lot of things that need to be changed (their view on women would be a good start!), but I think this pope is helping people see that Catholicism can be welcoming and inclusive and that all types of people can be and should be welcome in the church.

So, after he leaves and the fan fair around his visit has subsided, I hope that people remember the words that he spoke and the way that he made them feel. I hope that people, even non-Catholics, feel encouraged by him to just love a little more and a little deeper. And maybe, just maybe, I'll let Mike watch something other than Pope....

Some good vibes and quotes from my buddy Frank (are we friends? can I call him that? I wish!)

"God bless America."

"Teaching is a beautiful job; as it allows you to see the growth day by day of the people entrusted in your care.  It is a little like being parents, at least spiritually.  It is a great responsibility."

"We need to avoid a common temptation nowadays: to discard whatever proves troublesome. Let us remember the Golden Rule: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you” (Mt 7:12)