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The Vatican’s Great Debate

Pope Francis Holds His Weekly General Audience
Christopher Furlong/Getty Images

For the first time in perhaps the history of the Catholic church the debate on contraception, cohabitation, divorce, re-marriage and gay marriage are being put to parishioners…and I for one think this is a genius idea.

According to the LA Times, it is Pope FrancisJesuit training that has taught him to cast as wide a net as possible for information on these hotly contested issues. But whatever his motivations were, it seems asking the churchgoers themselves how they feel was severely lacking.

It’s not a huge surprise that many Catholics live together before they’re married, have pre-"In this day and age expecting couples to avoid contraception and have as many kids as God blesses them with seems crazy."marital sex and use birth control on a regular basis. And yet all of these things are considered wrong in the eyes of the church, leaving many conflicted on these life decisions.

Yet in this day and age expecting couples to avoid contraception and have as many kids as God blesses them with seems crazy. So how can loyal parishioners make what they believe are responsible life decisions for themselves without feeling like they are failing their God?

Pope Francis wants to help. He has directed every diocese in the world to survey local attitudes on family and relationships and report back to the Vatican. And though I’m sure we all know what the results will be, the asking is what is genius. Francis is ensuring that the people are heard, that their answers are documented and that positive change can be affected from their answers. I love all of that.

The world really has changed a lot in the last couple of thousand years and perhaps it is time for the church to change a little too. Don’t get me wrong, I think the core values of the church (including doing good for your fellow man, honoring your parents, being an upstanding member of society, etc.)  are all absolutely valid and always will be. But I’ve never been big on the church telling you who you can and can’t marry or how many children you must have. Those changes may be a bit overdue.

Of course, the results of his worldwide survey don’t have any type of deadline and what kinds of changes the church is actually willing to make remains to be seen. But even taking the steps to ask churchgoers their opinion seems huge to me. How do you feel about the church’s survey? Do you have any hopes for their results?

If you’ve been questioning what kind of contraception to use or where to learn more get all the information you need about Family Planning from Citizens for Citizens Inc!

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