October 31, 2013

Pope Francis I: The Catholic Dalai Lama?

On March 13, 2013 the Catholic church elected a new pope. 

Jorge Mario Bergoglio took the name of Francis after St, Francis of Assisi, the patron saint of animals and the environment.

Pope Francis has turned some heads in the last few months. He accepted his congratulations, not on the Papal throne, but while standing. He is becoming known as the “Pope of the People,” by choosing to drive a used 1984 Renault 4 in lieu of the traditional Pope car or limousine, and taking selfies with tourists. He just sold his Harley Davidson.

His stance on modern-day issues have been leaning towards open-minded and liberal:

“We cannot insist only on issues related to abortion, gay marriage and the use of contraceptive methods. This is not possible,” he said. “The teaching of the church, for that matter, is clear and I am a son of the church, but it is not necessary to talk about these issues all the time.”

When a recent video made its rounds yesterday showing a young boy who wandered on stage during the Pope’s speech, the Dalai Lama came to mind. I tend to associate the Dalai Lama with compassion and being surrounded by children.

Two men, born around the same time, both referred to as “Your Holiness,” and both urging a shift in humanity.

Year Born:

Dalai Lama: 1935   Pope Francis: 1936

Stance on Gay Marriage/Relationships:

Dalai Lama:

“If someone comes to me and asks whether homosexuality is okay or not, I will ask ‘What is your companion’s opinion?’. If you both agree, then I think I would say, ‘If two males or two females voluntarily agree to have mutual satisfaction without further implication of harming others, then it is okay.'”

Pope Francis:

“We now know that being gay isn’t a choice, but something one is born with. If our Lord decides that someone should come into this world  a certain way, who are we to judge his choice?”

Stance on Abortion:

Dalai Lama:

“Of course, abortion, from a Buddhist viewpoint, is an act of killing and is negative, generally speaking. But it depends on the circumstances. If the unborn child will be retarded or if the birth will create serious problems for the parent, these are cases where there can be an exception. I think abortion should be approved or disapproved according to each circumstance.”

Pope Francis:

“The church’s pastoral ministry cannot be obsessed with the transmission of a disjointed multitude of doctrines to be imposed insistently. We have to find a new balance; otherwise even the moral edifice of the church is likely to fall like a house of cards, losing the freshness and fragrance of the Gospel.”

Stance on Religion:

Dalai Lama:

“All the world’s major religions, with their emphasis on love, compassion, patience, tolerance, and forgiveness can and do promote inner values. But the reality of the world today is that grounding ethics in religion is no longer adequate. This is why I am increasingly convinced that the time has come to find a way of thinking about spirituality and ethics beyond religion altogether.”

Pope Francis:

“It is clear that, when we show respect for the religion of our neighbours or when we offer them our good wishes on the occasion of a religious celebration, we simply seek to share their joy, without making reference to the content of their religious convictions.”

The similarities are uncanny. Here’s to ushering in a new world view. Maybe world peace is within reach after all. One can only hope.


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Ed: Bryonie Wise

Photo credit: wikimedia commons

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