My Facebook post:
Well Pope Francis is here in the USA. There is a false notion that exists about this Pope that he is somehow changing the Church's stance on things.
Here's the thing: there is not one word to exit the Pope's mouth that diverges from long held Catholic teachings.
Respect and dignity for gay people? Nope. Nothing to see here. While the Church has long held that acts of homosexuality to be a sin, the Church's official teaching on the dignity and rights of gay persons has long been affirmed by the Church. In fact, the Catholic Church has officially opposed sodomy laws because they demean the dignity of gay people and inhibit the ability of the church to minister to gay people. Nothing new here.
Perhaps the Pope's distaste for unbridled capitalism is new? Nope. The church has always opposed unbridled capitalism and warned against the greed to such systems inspire. Nothing new here.
Perhaps it is his emphasis of doing more for the poor and the support of government social programs meant to aid the poor? Nope. This is the typical view of the Church on this matter. Nothing new here.
Maybe it is his concern about pollution and global warming? Nope. Pope John Paul II first made the environment and global warming a moral concern for the Church in 1990. Nope nothing new here.
So, how is this Pope different? Perhaps he emphasizes these things more frequently than past Popes, but, really, he is not different on the bottom line of these issues. So, it is fallacy to say that he is changing anything about Catholicism.
Oh, and here is a good article on the Church and environmental issues:
"John Paul II’s message on that day pointed to a worldwide ecological crisis, and while it did not mention climate change by name his references were clear. 'Industrial waste, the burning of fossil fuels, unrestricted deforestation, the use of certain types of herbicides, coolants and propellants: all of these are known to harm the atmosphere and environment,' he said. 'The resulting meteorological and atmospheric changes range from damage to health to the possible future submersion of low-lying lands.'"