One of the main reasons I reject Catholicism is the simple fact that God doesn't change and I will always put what the Bible says above any other man, religious or otherwise. Yet, the Pope is supposed to be His vassal on Earth who speaks on His behalf. Francis has been hailed as the Pope of change, the one who will "reform" the church. People respect consistency, no matter what you believe, and the Facebook comments are showing not everyone believes him to be sincere. Comments like, "He's just saying that because church membership and donations have dropped," or, "Isn't this like a cop being forced to apologize to a speeder he ticketed even though it's still against the Highway Code?" and my favorite, "His apologies are in vogue. The internet is turning his flock into a generation of rational thinkers."
Let's all stop and laugh at that one for a second.
Alexis de Tocqueville once wrote, "...there can be no literary genius without freedom of opinion, and freedom of opinion does not exist in America." He goes on to say in the same book that even those who vote against measures in the legislature will abandon their position and join the majority if they are defeated. (Further reading here).
Since the Supreme Court decision and the Orlando shooting, I've read a lot of comments maligning Christianity. A lot. Religion in general is, it seems, viewed as a great evil. The bishop of the diocese in Florida said that religion was responsible for the climate of hate that gays have suffered (and the ACLU posted its ridiculous opinion blaming Christians for the shooting itself). He's right...and wrong. Ill-practiced religion has contributed to discrimination and hate, but there are also millions of Christians who have never waved picket signs or spat in people's faces, just like there are gays who've never berated me for "living in the Bronze Age."
So, why are these men who supposedly believe in the Bible as the literal word of God taking the initiative and saying, "It's all our fault"?
What I fear (and it may prove to be unfounded) is that they are establishing a mindset for their fellow believers: "In order to talk about this, you must first abandon any pretext that your faith is just and correct, as well as abandon your right to it. Apologize, because a bunch of people who came before you did some bad things."
Debates shouldn't have an initiation rite, and the only person you should have to defend before scrutiny is yourself.
Wouldn't it be a better use of energy if we just, I don't know, stuck to our beliefs and at the same time treated everyone as we wanted to be treated, living in peace with all men? (Matt. 7:12, Romans 12:18, Hebrews 12:14). Can we believe the other person is wrong on an issue without letting it polarize us so much?
Or is that possible in today's world of the accept-at-all-costs dogma?
I don't pretend to know.