Pope Francis Breaking Cathoiic Kim Dixon, staff writer Pope Francis at his inaugeration photo via iatimes.com In the first few weeks as leader of the Catholic Church, Pope Francis has attracted a lot of attention for breaking traditions. The announcement of Pope Francis came with several firsts: the first Jesuit pope, the first to be elected from the Western Hemisphere, and the first in over 1,000 years not to take the name of a previous pontiff. In his first appearance before a crowd in Saint Pe ter’s Square, Pope Francis began with a moment of silence and asked the people to pray for him as their new leader. Then, he gave them his blessing. As the world learned more about the former Archbishop Jorge Bergoglio of Buenos Aires, much of the conversation focused on the simple and humble life he has led. Many wondered if he would continue this modest way of life as the newly elected pontiff. His actions since that day have held up to his reputation. In a Washington Post article of March 29, Jena McGregor called Pope Fran cis’ actions “one act of humility after another.” In a March 14 article on Catholic News Agency’s website, David Uebbing quoted Father Thomas Rosica, Eng lish language assistant for the Vatican Press Office, as saying, “we’re going to get used to a new way of doing things.” Pope Francis has continued to do things a new way. He has rejected the extravagances of the papal position in several ways: wearing more modest at tire instead of the red, ermine-trimmed cape, known as the mozzetta, insisting on carrying his own luggage and travel ing in a minibus with other bishops when moving from the Vatican Hotel, wearing the same iron pectoral cross he wore as Archbishop instead of the traditionally worn gold cross, and choosing simple living quarters over the palatial apartment that popes have lived in for many years. In what seems to be a desire to be closer to church members. Pope Francis has made himself accessible. On Easter Sun day, he moved through Saint Peter’s Square in an open-top Popemobile free of the bul letproof glass, which was added after an assassination attempt of Pope John Paul II. In a crowd estimat ed at 300,000, the Pope stepped down off of his vehicle and prayed individu ally for some gathered there. One of the more controversial ac tions of Pope Francis took place on Holy Thursday at the Casal del Marmo Penitentiaiy Institute for Minors. After hosting Mass at the prison, the pope washed the feet of 12 inmates, two of which were women and one a Muslim. the first Jesuit pope, the first to be elected from the Western Hemisphere, and the first in over 1,000 years not to take the name of a previous pontiff Until now this tradition has been re served for men only. According to Ales sandro Speciale of Religion News Service on March 30, the Vatican defended Pope Francis’ decision to wash the women’s feet after the move was questioned by a group of “Catholic traditionalists.” Although many have criticized the pope’s move away from some traditions, others are excited about the changes. Hannah Palko, a Meredith student and a member of the Catholic faith, is “person ally very inspired by Pope Francis.” She says, “One of the titles of the papacy is ‘Servant of the Servants of God,’ meaning that the pope is elected as a servant to the church so that all of its mem bers may serve God better. By his actions. Pope Francis has embodied his title and has called each one of us person ally to also walk humbly with Christ” Palko adds that “the breaking of traditions, such as the washing of the feet of women and a Muslim on Holy Thursday, is refreshing, and I believe that it will touch a lot more members of the younger generation, who are prone to identity with justice and equality. I am excited to see what kind of actions he takes as the pope, and I am confident that the Holy Spirit will be with him as he serves us in our faith.” Proposed Religion Bill in North Carolina Shot Down Marlena Brown, staff writer Controversy over establishing state religion has been at the forefront of the North Carolina Legislature in early April. After a proposal from two representatives from Rowan County, Representative Carl Ford of China Grove and Representative Harry War ren of Salisbury, a bill for establish ing Christianity as the state religion was proposed. Both representatives claimed that the bill does not breech the First Amendment, as it does not the idea of the bill was to establish an official state religion, which would result in a precedent being set for the state to have control over certain matters instead of immediately being brought to the federal government apply at the state level, and that the federal government and court do not have the final authority on state mat ters. Known in the legislature as the “Defense of Religion Act”, the idea of the bill was to establish an official North Carolina Capitol Buidling photo via slate.com state religion, which would result in a precedent being set for the state to have control over certain matters instead of immediately being brought to the federal government. Accord ing to Andrew Dunn of the News and Observer, part of the bill reads “Each state in the union is sovereign and may independently determine how that state may independently determine how that state may make laws respect ing an establishment of religion.” The intention of Rep. Ford and Rep. Warren’s proposed piece of legisla tion was to support Rowan County commissioners. Yet, on Thursday, April 4th, it was announced that the bill was killed on the House floor, as it did not receive the amount of support needed to have it pass. Prior to the bill being killed, there were at least a dozen sponsors, but did not receive any support from the House leadership. The issue of religion in state matters arose from an American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) suit last month when accusations of violating the First Amendment from Rowan commissioners during a meeting were brought before the court. ACLU said that terms such as “in Jesus’ name” and opening with a prayer are “divisive and violate the Constitution.” The ACLU received much national support on this issue, while Rowan commissioners have promised to fight the suit. The idea of church and state being combined together is not an unfamiliar idea in North Carolina. Brian Palmer of Slate Magazine commented, explain ing that in Article VI, Section 8 of the North Carolina State Constitution, non- Christian believers are banned from holding public office. While this law has been deemed unconstitutional, it still remains in the language of the law. Church and state are often combined together, used as both an instrument of power to keep certain people out of The idea of church and state being combined together is not an unfamiliar idea in North Carolina office, but also as a means of attain ing control at the state level to cut the bureaucratic red tape that muddles the divide between federal and state gov ernment.

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