October 16, 2013

Two Oct. 15 front-page articles were each interesting on their own, but taken together they were even more so.

Traditionalists increasingly fret over Pope’s style,” on Pope Francis’s engaging style, reported that “conservative Catholics are doing what only recently seemed unthinkable: They are openly questioning the pope.” “ ‘Not afraid to be an outsider’,” on Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli II, a gubernatorial candidate, reported that the conservative firebrand “says he became the man that he is” at Gonzaga College High School, a Jesuit school.

The articles focused on criticism of the pope (the first Jesuit to lead the Catholic Church) for ideas that many decry as too liberal and of Mr. Cuccinelli for ideas that many decry as too conservative, including, for both, issues of social justice, abortion and homosexuality.  

Wait a minute: If Mr. Cuccinelli formed his “too conservative” views at Gonzaga and the pope formed his “too liberal” views over decades in the priesthood, maybe it should not be so “unthinkable” that Catholic philosophy can entertain — indeed promote — varying ideas about ethics. While we Jesuit-educated folks do not want to restrict thinking of any kind, we prefer that it would be actual thinking, not merely inherited notions that never should have seemed “thinkable” in the first place.

Michael Scott, Arlington

In the Oct. 15 front-page article on Pope Francis, Robert Royal said of the pope’s evangelizing style, “In some ways, it makes people very anxious. If you do this, what’s the next thing?”

As a discarded gay Catholic, I have the answer. It’s simple: love and tolerance for all of God’s children.

Over the past 25 years, I’ve been inside churches only a few times for weddings, baptisms and funerals. But Pope Francis’s open arms and his bold challenge to the judgmental Catholic bureaucracy led me to attend Mass three weeks ago. And every week since.

Michael Sanchez, New York