I admire Pope Francis, 266th Pope of the Roman Catholic Church. When Jorge Mario Bergoglio of Buenos Aires, Argentina was elected as Pope, he brought to the position a persona of recognizable humility and empathy. Although I may not agree with him on some issues, his thoughts on spiritual renewal, marriage and resurrection bring a breath of fresh air to the stuffy halls of parochial tradition.
The Catholic Church must not go backward. Those who serve are not privileged, should not view themselves as members of a special caste of clerics, and must not forget their attention to humble service. Instead, we look to the Catholic Church for leadership that understands the intellectual and spiritual needs of a 21st century population, and is able to deal with the organizational, social, and political realities of the 21st century. This includes a larger role for women within the Church, and a renaissance of Christian theology.
To those who oppose change I suggest the following thought: Church doctrine was largely created by early Church fathers long after the death of Jesus Christ. Based on 1,800 year old knowledge and social beliefs, much of it is obsolete and does not even reflect the spirit of his message. If we wish to carry on the work of Jesus Christ, we must bring about constructive change based on a thoughtful evaluation of the role of Christian theology in the 21st century.
Focus on two words: renaissance and reformation. We look to the Catholic Church to bring about a renaissance of Christian theology, and a reformation of how the Church approaches its mission.