Opinion: Pope Francis brings hope to Catholic Church reputation

Bruce Walton is a senior columnist for the Daily Kent Stater. Contact him at bwalton4@kent.edu.

Bruce Walton is a senior columnist for the Daily Kent Stater. Contact him at [email protected].

Bruce Walton

There is no doubt that the Catholic Church hasn’t had the best reputation recently. Maybe it’s because mos traditions, methods of worship and ideals, which, haven’t changed much in centuries. Some outside of the religion would think the Catholic Church hasn’t left the 16th century, even though it has (in some respects).

According to Italian journalist Gianluigi Nuzzi’s book, Vaticano Spa (“Vatican Ltd”), there have been various incidents including money laundering, bribery and ties with the mafia. To top it off, let’s not forget their scandal of priests molesting children. It has even shown that some higher clergymen and even previous popes knew about some incidents and doing next to nothing about it for the past several decades.

However, negative thoughts about the Vatican are changing because of Pope Francis, whom everyone is talking about this year. Just this week, he was named the Internet’s top name of 2013 by the Global Language Monitor Survey. The Argentinian Cardinal, who was only elected this year, has been giving the Church a complete PR makeover, making bold and radical statements and promises to reform the Catholic Church.

Francis has made history with his new philosophies, statements and actions. Where many members of the clergy have either shunned or condemned atheists, Francis has said all can be redeemed through Jesus, even atheists.

Francis also chimed in on the gay rights debate, saying he supports gay rights. And in a recent story, Francis embraced a disfigured man and prayed with him, kissing him on the forehead as if he was one of his children. Because of this and many other instances of goodwill and liberal views, people around the world have expressed their love for the pope, Catholic or not.

However, the clergy has went back to the public to try to retract Pope Francis’ statements like an embarrassing parent.

Francis has been making strides in the Catholic Church and, even more so, what it means to be a Christian. He has touched so many people and has taken the Catholic Church to a better place: the 21st century.