Papa Francesca: Shaking Things Up?

Posted on December 8, 2014 by


Samantha Stock

In October 2014, about 200 bishops and Pope Francis gathered in Rome for a synod to discuss family values in the Catholic Church. The two main debates were on homosexuality and views on divorced individuals. This two week event was covered broadly and very differently by an assortment of news sources.

One of the news sources that offered quite a bit of coverage was BBC. The title of their main article was “Catholic Synod: Pope Francis setback on gar policy.” This was one of the many articles that painted the events as a “setback” or a “loss” for Pope Francis. It almost makes the reader wonder if another schism of the Church isn’t far away. There is reporting of the Pope reminding the bishops not to be afraid in speaking what they believe, because that is what the point of the synod is all about. He is seen as much less traditional that previous Popes, which continues to surprise the secular world. Underneath the first photo of the report there is text that states, “Pope Francis’s closing speech at the synod received a four-minute standing ovation.” The article doesn’t speak much at all of the unity of the church itself, but this subtext goes to show something different.

Another news source that covered the event is of course, “The Catholic News Agency.” Viewed from the outside, this source can be judged as very biased. These are Catholic people writing for Catholics to read. This article is extremely factual, barely expressing any doubt about way the Church is being received through these decisions. It gives the number of votes and a small description of each thing the synod voted on. The main problem stated was that the writings were too “vague” and that there needed to be more education before convening for the 2015 synod. There is barely any writing in this article that makes this decision seem like a setback for the Pope, more of an idea that’s been planted for people to pray about and educate themselves on.

A third news source that did a large coverage of the event was Time Magazine. Their article published a couple days after the synod convened was entitled “What the Synod Taught Us About Pope Francis: He Takes Risks.” This article really seems to be more broad and in depth than the other two news sources. It speaks about the viral event that the event became in the middle, when the media painted the Catholic Church as “FINALLY welcoming the gays.” It states the fact that gay marriage was never on the table at all, quite possibly contrary to popular belief, and makes it sound like this event was merely a step in a different direction. The reporter doesn’t necessarily make the bishops sound like a bunch of old, biased men. She writes that “Pope Francis showed the world that he is not afraid of making mistakes. He takes risks, and his commitment to listening allows a host of voices to rise and controversy to surface.” This is true. Pope Francis is definitely a new element in the Catholic Church, but this does not at all mean that the future looks bleak for Catholics.

Our society is in a massive transition period right now, so it’s important to keep an eye out and not to just go along with what people are saying. Odds are the situation is much, much bigger than that.


Works Cited:

  1. Reynolds, J. (2014, October 18). Pope’s synod setback on gay policy. Retrieved December 3, 2014, from
  1. Gagliarducci, A. (2014, October 18). Synod’s final report shows nuance on homosexuality, remarriage. Retrieved December 3, 2014, from
  1. Dias, E. (2014, October 20). What the Synod Taught Us About Pope Francis: He Takes Risks. Retrieved December 3, 2014, from
Posted in: Uncategorized