Editor’s Note: The following piece was printed in the Seattle Times on September 24, 2013
Editor, Seattle Times:
I find it extraordinarily refreshing that Pope Francis has articulated and emphasized the core values of the Catholic faith: service to the poor and marginalized that acknowledges the divinity in all individuals by de-emphasizing the rigid dogma that has put Catholics on opposite ends of the religious spectrum for the past several decades. Dogma has been used by the hierarchy as a litmus test to ascertain how “Catholic” one’s convictions are. Just six months into his papacy, Francis displaced judgment from its high perch when he humbled himself (and thus the entire hierarchy) as one flawed human being among an entire race of imperfect human beings.
He has changed the paradigm of what it means to be a faithful Christian. One is faithful, not by blindly and unthinkingly adhering to rigid rules, but by engaging in selfless actions that embrace the humanity and divine in all of us. As the perfect example of that faithfulness, Pope Francis may have saved the Catholic Church from itself. When lapsed Catholics are thinking of re-engaging with a new, more open, and compassionate Church, that speaks volumes for the important and constructive role the Catholic Church will play in our future social discourse.
Leo N Egashira