Now that it has been a month since Pope Francis visited three of our major cities, I can speak up about the leader of my church and the news reports that, if not 100% erroneous, tended to lead the unknowing down the wrong path.

Just as he was arriving, CNN used this headline: Pope: All priests can forgive those who’ve had abortions …

My impression? This is something new, never be done before.

Actuality: The priests could always absolve someone who confessed and was truly sorry for the sin.

Another prevalent misconception, even among practicing Catholics, is that divorce is a sin and therefore, a divorced person can not participate in the Eucharist.

When I was a divorced Catholic, I never stopped being a communicant. The priests at my parish knew I was divorced. One of them worked on my subsequent annulment in the church. The sin never was the divorce; the sin would be in a remarriage (without an annulment through the Catholic Church).

Confusingly, the annulment means there was a flaw in the sacramental bonds of marriage. Some thing the Catholic Church deems necessary to bind a couple in Holy Matrimony did not exist at the time of the nuptials. An annulment deals with the spiritual basis of the marriage. A divorce concerns legality.

Not specifically brought up concerning the Pope’s visit, but often used apparently mindlessly when discussing a member of the Catholic Church is the word “devout.” It seems to be obligatorily paired with “Catholic” when providing information about a member of the Catholic Church.

Now, it’s probably just me, but devout is something I strive for in my faith, but just because I attend Mass, contribute to the Church or declare myself Catholic does not make me devout.

Do I believe everything that the Catholic Church teaches? No. But I’ve seen so many changes I never thought would happen. I grew up in the days when no woman could set foot on the altar. Now females serve Mass, lector and act as Eucharistic Ministers.

What Pope Francis is living and demonstrating is what many have said for years but often forget: “It is not up to me to judge.”

Advertisements