It is a very important time to be a progressive Catholic

By Samuel Garcia
Dallas Morning News
October 7, 2018

I had just turned 18 years old when my dad died from a heart attack. The deep sorrow of his passing overwhelmed me, and I fell back on the only thing that has consistently brought me hope and peace — my faith.

I am a practicing Catholic, and I hope that one day I can raise my children to be Catholic. However, I am acutely aware of the many things that must be changed within the church.

The intention of this article is not to defend the church's transgressions, but to advance the position that there is hope for church reform. However, progressive reform measures can only be pursued if there are progressive members of the church around to advocate for them.

Currently, the church is in a crisis. The church is not only facing grave sexual abuse scandals, but it is also fighting losing battles against the millennial generation on how homosexuality should be viewed and who should be allowed to be a priest. With these issues and others, it is no wonder that the church is having a hard time retaining millennials.

Young people are leaving in waves. The only hope for the church to grow is if the remaining young people can convince the church to move forward. Rather than leave the church because of how poorly it handled sexual abuse cases, we should push for the involved clergymen to be immediately let go and for the church to immediately cooperate with authorities on all past and any future allegations. Rather than leave the church because of its mistreatment of the LGBTQ community, we should push the church to be inclusive of everyone regardless of their sexuality and to make that clear in church actions. Rather than leave the church because it does not allow women or married people to be priests, we should push the argument that a larger pool of qualified priests will make it easier for the church to let go of bad priests.

These are all changes that we can push for as long as progressive Catholics remain involved in the church. Although Pope Francis is currently facing his own scandal, if we assume that he or someone as progressive as him will be at the head of the church for the foreseeable future, then this can potentially be a very impactful time to help the church reform. Pope Francis has already proven to be receptive to trying new things. There is even speculation that allowing married men to be priests might be on the Pope's agenda in 2019.

I believe the church can get better and progress, but it will take time and pressure from everyday members of the church. If progressive Catholics would like to see the church improve, then they should stay within the church and be vocal about the change they want to see. The issues that the church has right now were not created by God. The church's issues were created by people, which means they can be solved by people too.


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