Bishop Says Don't Expect Doctrinal Changes

Mar 15, 2013

The naming of a new Pope this week brings with it questions about how he will lead the Catholic Church.  Bishop Ronald Gainer, head of the Diocese of Lexington, doesn’t look for any change in doctrinal teachings. He says issues like the ordination of women, allowing priests to marry, or contraception are not up for debate.

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“These are the teachings of the church and they’re unchangeable truths.  He’s really not free, they didn’t arrive because of the whim of some Pope in 1750 or 1322.  These have evolved based on our reflection on scripture and the sacred tradition of the church.  So, most of those are unchangeable,” said Bishop Gainer.

Bishop Ronald Gainer says Pope Francis has, at times, been critical of the Vatican offices for being too bureaucratic.  He says some administrative modifications could be coming.

“And I think we might see some we might call it streamlining, certainly some significant changes in the way the day to day administration of the church is accomplished by the Vatican offices.  I think that simplicity of his will translate into some changes,” added Gainer.

Most Catholics around the World live in North, Central, and South America.  Bishop Gainer believes that fact was probably not lost on the conclave when choosing the new Pope.  Pope Francis previously served as an Archbishop in Argentina.  Bishop Gainer says the 50 Kentucky counties served by the Diocese of Lexington include 40 thousand Hispanic Catholics.

“But, I think all people of Spanish speaking countries will take a great pride that the Papa , the chief Bishop of the whole church is one of their own, is someone who understands and comes from the Hispanic culture,” said Bishop Gainer.

Bishop Gainer says The Pope’s decision to choose the name Francis signifies humility and simplicity.  The Bishop expects the Pope’s interest in caring for and identifying with the poor will impact many Catholics.