One of the high points of 2014 was the way Pope Francis started to redirect the church's dogma away from being radical social conservatives to a more enlightened and less conservative religious organization and Republicans in the US are not happy at all.
To say it's causing a rift between the two is an understatement.
Pope Francis is increasingly driving a wedge between conservatives and the Catholic Church. The magnetic pope has sparked new enthusiasm around the world for the church and has flexed his political muscles internationally, most recently by helping to engineer a new relationship between the United States and Cuba.
But Francis’s agenda, which also includes calls to address income inequality and limit climate change, is putting him at odds with Republicans, including GOP Catholics in the United States.
Hours after President Obama announced moves to ease trade and travel restrictions to Cuba, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), a practicing Catholic and potential 2016 presidential candidate, criticized the deal and Francis's role in it.
“I would also ask His Holiness to take up the cause of freedom and democracy, which is critical for a free people, for a people to truly be free,” Rubio told reporters.
Listening to Republicans cry about human rights is always ludicrous, as they revel in torture, the death penalty and the police state, but it's been a blessing that Pope Francis is having as profound effect as he has so far.
Since his papal inauguration in March 2013, the pontiff has publicly made policy remarks about income inequality and the environment that many American Catholics weren't used to hearing coming from the Vatican, and not just from the pulpit.
“Inequality is the root of social evil,” Francis tweeted in March, after months earlier slamming “trickle-down” economics as a “crude and naïve” theory.
Next year, as part of a speech he’ll give to the United Nations General Assembly, Francis will issue an edict urging the world's 1.2 billion Catholics to do what they can to fight climate change.
“He's modeling the church as a place for open disagreement,” said Vincent J. Miller, who chairs the University of Dayton's Catholic theology program. “In that sense, one of the most important changes he's making is that conservative politicians are now openly disagreeing with him,” Miller said.
Being brought up Catholic, I have always kept an eye on papal doctrine and although the Vatican will never be as modern as I would like it to be, (birth control to name one) at least changes have been a coming since the new sheriff came to town and that's a beautiful thing.