Pope Francis Says Church Should be More Open and Accepting That Their Beliefs are Not the Only Valid Ones

Pope FrancisIn what’s becoming a common occurrence, Pope Francis has made more enlightening comments about the direction the Catholic Church should take going forward.  This time he said that the church needs to be more engaging with people of different beliefs and should be open to the idea that Catholicism might not be the only religion with “valid” answers.

He told people they should engage in conversations with others instead of simply “bombarding people with religious messages.”  You know, talk with not at people.

Much like conservatives in the United States do when they go off on tangents about abortion and gay marriage ruining society.  Like I’ve said before, I’ve met quite a few people who are no longer Christians because of the ignorance Republicans almost constantly display about “Christianity.”  They’re not bringing people to the faith, their ignorance is driving them off.

Pope Francis said:

“To have a dialogue means to believe that the ‘other’ has something worthwhile to say, and to entertain his or her point of view and perspective.  Engaging in dialogue does not mean renouncing our own ideas and traditions, but the pretense that they alone are valid and absolute.”

Yes, that’s a Pope telling people to have an open mind about their religious beliefs.  That your singular set of religious beliefs are not absolute and others may have valid points as well.   Not only that, you should seek out people who don’t have the same perspective because you might actually learn something.

You know, the complete opposite of what most conservative “Christians” in this country do.  For them it’s unimaginable that anyone might follow Christianity differently than they do.

He then displayed another real Christian principle by urging acceptance of those who are different from us:

“We need to be patient if we want to understand people who are different from us.  People only express themselves when they are not merely tolerated, but know that they are truly accepted.”

Again, the complete opposite of what most conservative “Christians” in this country do.  They’re judgmental and intolerant of anyone and everyone who isn’t just like they are.  If you dare to have a different set of spiritual beliefs that aren’t in line with theirs, they don’t care – you’re wrong.

But the more I see these comments from the Pope, the more hopeful I get about Christianity as a whole.  In my lifetime he’s the first true leader that I’ve seen who seems to be pushing Christians to act like actual, you know – Christians.

I do hope his tenure as Pope is a long one, because there’s a lot to fix within the Catholic Church.  And although many problems do still persist, for the first time in maybe my entire life I’m hopeful for the great things this Pope might be able to accomplish.

Allen Clifton

Allen Clifton is a native Texan who now lives in the Austin area. He has a degree in Political Science from Sam Houston State University. Allen is a co-founder of Forward Progressives and creator of the popular Right Off A Cliff column and Facebook page. Be sure to follow Allen on Twitter and Facebook, and subscribe to his channel on YouTube as well.


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  • CherMoe

    I think the Pope brings up some very valid points. As a child, I went to Catholic grade school. We somehow (like all other Catholic kids) had it in our heads that NO ONE except Catholics were going to Heaven. I remember talking to other kids, whether they were the same faith or not, and when finding out they went to “public” school, rather than Catholic school, they were immediately labeled. We said to them “you’re PUBLIC” as if it was a dirty word. Just like Republicans call Democrats “Liberal” like it’s a filthy, dirty thing to be. It’s amazing how easy it is to become inhuman and brainwashed through religion. Or by influence of money. Thankfully, I grew up. As I look around this country and read the news, sadly it appears that too many Americans NEVER matured and this country’s citizens have become MORE intolerant and selective, rather than being more inclusive. What a PITIFUL people Americans have become. We certainly are NO EXAMPLE for the rest of the world.

    • Guest0001

      Don’t forget most of the media is controlled by very selective, biased, pre-dispositioned folk. If they reported the news in full perspective it would be a very different world to many Americans that take the media as it is for face value.

      • charleo1

        I believe a good bit of cynicism once in a while, is a good thing. I also believe we should all apply some critical thinking to any news piece. But, I see far too many people suffering from a contrived, and intentionally nurtured paranoia about the press, these last few years. One that makes simply shooting the messenger bearing bad news, seem down right intellectual. When compared to the wholesale burning down of most of the entire media apparatus. Which I see happening a lot. “Don’t forget, the media is controlled…” The message being, and so are you, if you don’t know that. So, where is it that we found that nugget of pure truth? The media. Which media? The Right Wing media, of course. Then, on those grounds, we may dismiss those messages, we really weren’t all that fond of to begin with. And find that media that delivers the kind of messages we are. So, this Pope has delivered several messages the Conservative Right, are not at all thrilled with. Their selfish attitudes toward the poor. Their worship of the rich. And now, their contentions that they alone hold the keys that open the doors to eternal salvation are being questioned. The Lame Stream Media indeed! Let’s start by giving the media at least the benefit of the doubt, that they quoted Pope Francis correctly, and go from there.

  • dutch163

    I love this! the key word is “enlightened” .I ,too, went to Catholic grade school like ChreMoe, but made the decision as an EIGHTH GRADER to NOT go to Catholic HS but rather a public HS because I said I would be living in a world with not just Catholics..(apparently I used to be very smart..LOL)..just yesterday I had a discussion with my son about the existence of God..he told me that my own philosophy was that of Pascal, (See “Pascal’s wager”) I am often disappointed and upset by so-called Christians acting in an un-Christian manner…a others have said “this Pope gives me hope”

  • Jbrandt49

    Yes, except that right wing Christians don’t consider Catholics to be Christians…hell, I know many that don’t consider any Christians that disagree with their particular theology to be Christians.

    • Guest0001

      Christianity is all about the Kingdom of God coming into one’s life on earth. Its all Jesus ever talked about! Any religion that believes in the crucifixion of Jesus that paid for our state of sin is Christian. Although many denominations tend to add rules that don’t match up with the Kingdom by artificially adding religious B.S. on top, if they truly are seeking the Kingdom, God will show them how wrong they are in areas that need to be dealt with; example the letters to the 7 churches in Revelation. All had good positive things to them and all had bad things out of line with the Kingdom that would destroy them eventually if they did not change.

      Some reason in peoples’ minds, there is almost never any middle ground, when life is ACTUALLY almost entirely about balance. People are mostly thinking in extremes and it keeps them from showing true principles of the Kingdom in their lives.

      • ONETRUTH

        THe SEVEN CHURCHES IN REVELATION were ALL THE SAME…One, Holy, Catholic (Universal) and Apostolic…they weren’t differing ‘denominations’, as most believe.. they were truly catholic, taught only ONE SET OF DOCTRINES all the same by The Apostles…There was only ONE true Church that Christ established (Matthew 16:18), he said “..I will build my CHURCH” He did NOT SAY “ChurcheS”. There’s a big difference there…Until Martin Luther came along and founded the PROTESTant revolt, there WAS only ONE Christian Church…Until the Great Schism of the East and West, there was only ONE Church…This is not a fallacy,Study Church History by biblical AND Secular history and see the proof.

      • Eoin Maloney

        Jesus never said his church was Catholic. In fact, the term “Catholic” was never once mentioned in the bible. The idea that there’s “one TRUE Christian church” is just an arrogant assumption. Think, if a Greek Orthodox, or a Lutheran, or an Anglican were to recite the Lord’s Prayer, or read from the Bible, would it be any less sincere? Catholic Christianity may well be the one true faith, but to assume so without any reason is arrogance and pigheadedness, plain and simple. And besides, God can sort it all out in the Rapture. It’s kind of his thing to leave anybody who doesn’t follow a long and arbitrary list of doctrines high and dry, regardless of the circumstances.

  • Eva Cutler

    As a non-Christian, I too am in Pope Francis’s corner. It is time for sanity and real values to live by

  • steve

    while i agree with your assertions, especially about the Catholic Church, your opinions in this article are the kind of passive aggressive inflammatory comments that also keep those conservative Christians from seeing your side of things.

    Putting “Christians” in quotation marks”, for instance. Pointing out the churches flaws, rather than simply being happy that the leader of this group is saying what you have wanted him to say forever. Speaking about the positive nature of the future between Catholics and non-Catholics, even non-believers and non-Christians would have made this article a very warm read.

    Instead…mixed in with the great factual information, you mix in your very negative opinion. Proving without a doubt that this whole “tolerance” thing is a one way street. WTG!

  • billball

    How can you not like him?