Excellent article in the National Catholic Reporter by Catholic theologian Hans Kung on Pope Francis’ opportunity to take action on long delayed reforms, including inviting divorced Catholics or women who have had an abortion, use birth control, or have had artificial insemination back into the sacraments, and voluntary celibacy for the priesthood. Read Kung’s full essay:
“Pope Francis shows courage: not only in his brave appearance in the favelas of Rio de Janeiro, but also by entering into an open dialogue with critical nonbelievers. He has written an open letter to leading Italian intellectual Eugenio Scalfari, founder and longtime editor in chief of the major liberal Roman daily newspaper La Repubblica. These are not papal instructions, but a friendly exchange of arguments on equal levels.
Among the 12 questions from Scalfari printed in La Repubblica Sept. 11, the fourth seems to me of particular importance for a church leadership ready for reforms: Jesus perceived his kingdom not to be of this world — “Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s” — but the Catholic church especially, writes Scalfari, all too often submits to the temptations of worldly power and represses the spiritual dimension of the church in favor of worldliness. Scalfari’s question: “Does Pope Francis represent after all the priority of a poor and pastoral church over an institutional and worldly church? …”