Tuesday, September 15, 2015



It is refreshing that the legalism Christ decried in synagogue officials that seemed to have reappeared in the church hierarchy and almost made the pope a captive of the Curia may be lifted due to the efforts of Pope Francis.  His call for fresh input from clergy and laity for consideration in an upcoming Synod of Bishops will no doubt be answered with abundant contributions representing many viewpoints.  I appreciate his willingness to consider topics with wide input beyond the tunnel vision of others such as the view of Cardinal Schonborn noted in the post at http://evolutioninsights.blogspot.com/2014/10/god-evolution-and-pope.html .

The problem of whether or not to ordain women was dealt with in the post - http://evolutioninsights.blogspot.com/2014/11/god-women-priests.html - , but the implementation of bringing women in to the priesthood might be easier if the church was not so world encompassing, not only geographically, but culturally.

The environment

A post - http://evolutioninsights.blogspot.com/2015/06/pope-francis-and-global-warming.html - dealt with climatic aspects of his recent encyclical..

In remarks related to environmentalism, and our role as caretakers of our world, he made a comment involving reproduction and rabbits that was not too well received.  But it is refreshing that he does not look at human reproduction as demanding large families.  The command in Genesis to "increase and multiply and fill the earth" has already been fulfilled.  In fact it is more than filled if a sustainable world is desired.  When the coffee cup is full, you don't need to keep pouring and overflow it.

In spite of such considerations, families should be the ones that determine their own family sizes.  Realistic knowledge of appropriate numbers could go a long way toward providing societal norms as a guide.  We don't need to have starvation, disease, and war as implements of population control.

Marriage and family

A post [ http://evolutioninsights.blogspot.com/2014/04/evolution-and-marriage.html ] included comments suggesting the rights of those with alternative life-styles could be better served with legislation and/or judicial decisions providing contractual rights without calling it marriage and impinging on religious freedom.  In Matthew 10, Jesus talks about marriage and notes some are born, others develop, into states presumably incompatible with participating in a traditional marriage of bisexuals.

Christ made clear statements forbidding divorce.  But he also was generous in forgiving those failing in doing what was the ideal way.  It seems a reasonable approach would be to recognize that and extend forgiveness if a wrong has been done.  Blame would not have to be established.  Let all parties move on and act according to their consciences.

Birth control normally involves two people.  When they have conflicting view of what is acceptable, it would seem that a loving relationship could lead to compromise in some instances.  I don't see how abortion could be an acceptable compromise, although forgiveness is up to God.  But other forms may be of different degrees of errors in moral behavior.

A spectrum of behavior from virtual to sinful, or vice versa

The degrees of good or bad are not easily defined by clergy accustomed to thinking in terms of theological truth.  The previous pope railed against relativism.  But the circumstances may be part of the definition of an act.  Yes, there is an objective ideal that could be determined for an act involving morality.  But it would be much worse if it was done with relish, whereas there might be no moral fault if it was done to accommodate their families need in some way.  To sever your relationship with God, you need to know that what you are doing is a serious violation of God's law, and it must be done with full consent of the will.  It seems like that would take a very evil person to do such a thing.

A positive view of God

If you have a hard time realizing God made us and loves us, I encourage you to read a brief post - http://evolutioninsights.blogspot.com/2013/06/god-and-people.html - and especially concentrate on the last two paragraphs.  It is worth reading even if you don't know the implications of John 3:16.  If you have an interest in how to find God, you might get an idea of how simple it is from reading the post - http://evolutioninsights.blogspot.com/2014/05/finding-god.html

I don't expect Pope Francis will read this post.  If you get any inspiration from it and want to tell the pope, please pass it on.

Joseph G. Engemann    Kalamazoo, Michigan   September 15, 2015

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