NYU Reacts: Pope Francis’ advice for Catholic ChurchPosted on September 23, 2013 | by Michael Domanico
In an interview published last week, Pope Francis surprised critics when he denounced the Roman Catholic Church’s focus on social issues like same-sex marriage and abortion. He urged his followers to return to the root of Catholicism: caring for the world’s most destitute.
Alyssa Yurasits, a Gallatin sophomore and member of NYU’s Catholic Club, said Father Allan White addressed the comments during mass at St. Joseph’s, the church that hosts several Catholic student organizations for the university.
“The priest addressed the topic not as an issue, but as a way of expressing acceptance and good faith,” Yurasits said.
Raquel Montagne, a CAS sophomore, said service this weekend at St. Joseph’s focused on the misrepresentation of the pope’s message — that the media have repeatedly tried to represent the Catholic Church as condemning gays, abortion and contraception, when the true message of the church is teaching the word of God.
Steinhardt senior Elisa Angevin said the Catholic Club welcomes all students — gay or straight — to discuss these sensitive issues with its members.
“We don’t have any outreach planned for the LGBT community, but I hope that [gay students] come and start asking questions,” Angevin said. “I hope that the NYU community uses Pope Francis’ recent comments to read into the true teachings of Jesus.”
Steinhardt freshman Ayo Edebiri remained skeptical about the pope’s interview.
“People are being fooled, and they’re looking at things on the surface … and saying, ‘Oh, this is good,’ but they’re not really listening,” Edebiri said. “He’s not saying it’s OK, he’s just saying he can’t do anything.”
The Center for Spiritual Life, in conjunction with the LGBTQ Student Center, launched Queering Faith last March, an initiative that aims to address concerns about faith and sexuality. Chris Woods, the program administrator, said the pope’s comments could be a topic of discussion for the upcoming meeting on Tuesday, Sept. 24.
“Queering Faith is a safe space for all people to participate in dialogue and explore the intersections of faith, non-faith, spirituality, gender and sexuality,” Woods said. “We may touch upon the topic of the pope’s comments if someone in the group is passionate about talking about the issue.”
Angevin, who believes Pope Francis has enjoyed greater campus-wide acceptance than his predecessor, Pope Benedict XVI, encouraged open dialogue between the NYU community at large and the university’s Christian students.
“I am urging the NYU community to come to the Catholic Center and question us, with only one request, that you listen to our voice as well,” she said. “I’m tired of the preachings of the NYU campus of its diversity and tolerance [when we], as Christians, speak out on gay marriage, abortion or contraception, our beliefs are automatically viewed as self-righteous and judgmental. True tolerance is trying to understand another’s point of view and, regardless of your acceptance of that viewpoint, choosing to live in peace and wish the other well.”
Michael Domanico is a news editor. Email him at email@example.com.