Tonawanda News


September 25, 2013

For the Vatican, pope and change


Tonawanda News — He’s the kind of pope you’d want to have a beer with.

Like Obama, Francis personifies the kind of moral change his followers were craving.

He’s a break from the longstanding image of a pope as doctrinaire-in-chief, sitting on a throne somewhere silently — and sometimes not so silently — judging us as sinners. People are rarely evil and we know that. Rather, most of us doing what we have to do to get through the day and if that guy in the funny hat doesn’t like it, well, who died and made him pope?

I’m not a Catholic but it’s heartening nonetheless to view our world’s single most visible messenger of a higher power as something other than, to borrow Francis’ term, small-minded.

As with Obama, for Francis, the devil is in the details. Rhetoric can only take you so far. Actions are what count.

I don’t expect some granola-eating liberal revision of centuries of church doctrine. I realize I’m still going to be on the other side of social issues — all of them, I think — than Francis.  I highly doubt Francis — or any pope in my lifetime, for that matter — will be a force for change on abortion rights, gay rights or access to contraception.

Differences aside, I greatly respect someone forsaking all the trappings of wealth and power. It’s an impressive and humble commitment to God.

For too long, the Roman Catholic Church, as an institution, has presented itself as nearly the opposite of everything I find holy. Religion and faith aren’t about messianic golden statues in towering cathedrals or a brow-beating, guilt-driven dogma. It was impossible for me to respect an institution whose self-proclaimed mission is preaching a gospel of morality and justice while simultaneously raping little children and covering it up.

Text Only
  • ADAMCZYK: The greatest luxury: peace, quiet It is not difficult, for anyone with the intent, to know more about you than you think they should. Every step of yours involving interactive technology can be molded into a picture of how you spend your time, money and thought.

    August 1, 2014

  • duvall, eric.jpg DUVALL: On lines blurred, crossed and nonexistent It strikes me more and more how blurry the lines have gotten in all facets of our world, large and small.

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • Tucker, Barbara.jpg TUCKER: Oh, the joys of Sound Off Never thought the words "Thank goodness for Sound Off" would ever be printed here.

    July 26, 2014 1 Photo

  • adamczyk, ed.jpg ADAMCZYK: And now for something completely different... Last weekend I attended a local movie theater (a plushy, posh experience; they design these places now to get you out of your living room and away from your home electronics) to watch the sun set on the British Empire.

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • OUR VIEW: Arson suspect never deserved bail Two of the 11 fires reported on Fifth Avenue could have been prevented with some jurisprudence in evaluating whether the suspect, Michelle Johnston, deserved to be offered bail. Given the obvious nature of a repeat offender who was charged with nine felony arson counts, bail never should have been offered in this case.

    July 25, 2014

  • wallace, amy.jpg WALLACE: Too much information? Is there such a thing as TMI or too much information anymore? Some might say yes.

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • duvall, eric.jpg DUVALL: On reading and the lack thereof It was surprising to me a few weeks ago when a friend asked a group of us to estimate how many books we have each read over the last five years. The English teacher said 200 and he far and away led the pack. I was probably the median and my number was 20-25.

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • confer, bob.jpg CONFER: A Con-Con would be a con game

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • duvall, eric.jpg DUVALL: Conflict in Ukraine now a concern of global proportions It seems increasingly clear Ukrainian separatists, with the help from the Russian military, are responsible for the tragedy. They, of course, have denied it. They've also denied access to the crash site to international investigators seeking to recover the dead and determine what happened. That's not something the innocent party does.

    July 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • ADAMCZYK: Personal development, rendered in steel Accepting the premise that everyone needs to fill the same amount of time every day (24 hours, every day), some people use theirs rebuilding things, tangible things, and thus fulfill a few intangible goals.

    July 18, 2014