Opinion & Analysis

Letter from Rome

8:35 PM, February 5, 2018

Italy:Some Catholics feel the pope has been less willing to listen to other points of view regarding certain issues.

(Photo credit: international.la-croix.com)

One of the most remarkable characteristics of Pope Francis is his capacity — demonstrated throughout his lifetime — to carefully listen to viewpoints different from his own and, in the end, be willing to change his mind and even entire way of thinking about a particular issue.

This is all the more notable for a man in his 80s, a time of life when most people are already deeply set in their ways and not exactly receptive to opinions that threaten their own well-established certitudes.

But on at least two important issues that pose a challenge to the Roman Church's credibility and its future, many Catholics feel Francis has been less willing to listen to other points of view.

More precisely, they see him dragging his heals as others try to force him to deal with these items.

The first issue is the worldwide clergy sex abuse scandal, most specifically how to hold to accountability those bishops who have ignored, attempted to hide or failed to report such clerical crimes.

The second is the role of women in church and society, specifically how to address the injustice of a global Catholic community (especially the Vatican) that continues to treat women largely as second-class members and excludes them from almost of all of the church's most important decision-making positions and structures.

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