Sep 23, 2013 12:17 AM by Alex Labat
Today was the first Sunday since Pope Francis shook up the religious world by saying the Catholic Church should "shake off" it's obsession with contraception, abortion, and homosexuality, and that pastors should emphasize compassion over condemnation when it concerns those issues.
From cleaning the feet of prisoners to handling his own luggage, Pope Francis is viewed as a kind and more gentle pope than that of his predecessors and local Catholic leaders are responding to that message.
As parishioners headed into Our Lady of Wisdom Catholic Church this Sunday, they were greeted with open arms.
"It's very easy for us to label people, instead of seeing them in their own brokenness, in the gifts they possess, and seeing them as individuals, not just labeling them with this title, or that sin, or that way of perceiving them", says Father Bryce Sibley with Our Lady of Wisdom Catholic Church.
Sibley's homily addressed Pope Francis's interview, saying while the church isn't changing it's stance on issues like gay marriage and abortion, it is reevaluating the dialogue it's having with those who may not be part of the church. Sibley says, "When it comes to this sort of specific stuff in these moral issues, what he's trying to say is is that it's very easy to look at these sins and forget about the person. But to really to reach out to the person who may be struggling with a certain sin or feeling alienated."
This isn't the first time the pope has spoken about inclusiveness.
Francis's predecessor Pope Benedict said, "Catholicism isn't a collection of prohibitions; It's a positive option" back in 2006.
The current pontiff's outspoken nature and public acts of humility might mean more people are listening, and for those I spoke to today, that's all they can ask for.
Kaitlin Davis, Vice-President of the Ragin Cajun Catholics says, "It's really a relief to hear that they're saying the same thing, they just have two different ways of saying it."
Andrew Tregre, another Ragin Cajun Catholic, "I think he's made a serious effort to bring a lot of people back into the church and meet them where their at. It's not so exclusive and I think he's doing a great job."