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Pope Francis made two big announcements in the last week that could ruffle some of the Catholic Church’s more conservative feathers.Photo: Getty Images
Pope Francis made two big announcements in the last week that could ruffle some of the Catholic Church’s more conservative feathers. Photo: Getty Images

Is the Pope going progressive?

Pope Francis endorsed same-sex civil unions and appointed the first African-American cardinal last week.

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What a week last week was for Pope Francis. 

In an upcoming documentary titled Francesco, he stated that same-sex unions should be permitted and added what needs to be created is a ‘civil union law.’ But that is not all as over the weekend, he also appointed Wilton Gregory, the Archbishop of Washington D.C., to be the first-ever African-American cardinal.

Throughout its thousands of years of existence, Roman Catholicism has always been associated with more conservative elements and its progress moves slowly. Part of that slow process is how the Catholic Church has covered up bad situations, such as the sexual abuse cases that plague its recent history.

However, in December of 2019, the current Pope ended the ‘top secret’ status for sexual abuse cases and promised to have transparency with the people. 

With these efforts, does it mean the Pope is progressive? Not necessarily, but in the grand scope of things, it shows his efforts to reform the church. 

In Francesco, which was released on Oct. 21, the Argentinian clergyman defends LGBTQ+ individuals and their rights to love and a happy life. 

“They’re children of God and have a right to family. Nobody should be thrown out or be made miserable because of it,” Pope Francis said.

It is a huge win for the LGBTQ+ community that has been long outcast by the Catholic Church, but as stated earlier, progress moves slowly at the Vatican.

The official church teaching on the Vatican’s website continues to say homosexual tendencies are “acts of grave depavity,” adding homosexuality is not approved under any circumstances. 

The first Latin American to hold the title as a Pope is no stranger to progression. Before his 2013 rise to papacy, he fought for the legalization of gay marriage in Argentina. 

2020 is the year of revolutionizing in the United States, and a powerful message was sent on inclusivity and diversity in the country from the Vatican on Oct. 25, naming Wilton Gregory as the first Black cardinal in America.

Seven years into Pope Francis’ reign, he continues to show the Catholic community his beliefs on diversity and inclusion. Instead of just stating them, he’s proving them.

Archbishop Gregory is also a big advocate of improving race relations in the U.S. In a commemoration of the March on Washington in August, he pointed to the times as another turning point in the struggle for equality.

“We are at a pivotal juncture in our country’s struggle for racial justice and national harmony,” he said.

The Pope has recognized the leadership on that front and awarded Gregory for his work.

So what else can come of the 266th Pope? Who knows. But one thing is for certain: he is creating the change people in the Catholic Church have wanted to see for decades.

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