Pope revisits Church doctrine in new light

The very issues that plague and divide our Congress are not so unfamiliar to the Catholic Church, either.

After Pope Francis referred to the existence of a “gay lobby” within the Vatican in June, the discussion surrounding homosexuality in the church amplified. Nearly a month later, the pope had only one question to those unclear about the fate of homosexuals who practice the Catholic faith and whom are good willed: “Who am I to judge?”

The pope didn’t condemn homosexuals nor promote them, but rather, he left the issue up for a long-awaited, taboo discussion. Last week, he said those inside the church focus too much on three big issues: abortion, homosexuality, and contraception.

While Pope Francis is more progressive than the two popes before him, he does not endorse the Big Three.

He has reiterated the Bible and church’s stance on abortion, homosexuality and contraception: They are clear and explicit. But the pope emphasized that these are not the only issues facing the church: “The dogmatic and moral teachings of the church are not all equivalent. The church’s pastoral ministry cannot be obsessed with the transmission of a disjointed multitude of doctrines to be imposed insistently.”

Abortion, homosexuality, contraception — they aren’t the only sins. And they aren’t the only sins that can be forgiven, either, according to Catholic teachings.

Love the sinner, hate the sin. Love the person, hate their action.

As the church diverges from “obsessing insistently” over these particular doctrines, it will draw more people into the church.

A 2013 Pew Research survey of LGBT Americans found that nearly 50 percent had religious affiliations. Of that group, one-third expressed conflict over their sexual and gender identities and religious beliefs.

This survey highlights the large population of LGBT individuals who have no religious affiliation at all. It also highlights that those who do have religious affiliations aren’t necessarily comfortable within their religion institution’s views.

The teachings and preachings of the Catholic Church are no different than they have been for millennia; the doctrines remain the same. Same-sex marriage is still unnatural and unholy, and abortion is still sinful, according to the pope. He’s simply calling for a redistribution of attention paid to these sins.

Love the sinner, hate the sin. Or as Pope Francis may suggest: Love the sinner, stop the preoccupation with the sin.