Progressive reformer can’t be what the College of Cardinals expected…
I don’t traditionally care for popes. The Roman Catholic Church has this really long history of promoting oppression and corruption and ignorance, and there’s the whole pedophilia thing, too. I’m hard pressed to think of an organization that done more raw damage in the entirety of recorded history, and that has always been presided over by a pope.
But I’m starting to warm up to this new guy. He hadn’t been wearing his cool new hat for more than about 15 minutes when he suggested … out loud … to a freakin’ reporter … that atheists can go to Heaven. Meet His Holiness, Pope WTF the First. Of course, the Vatican trotted out the spokesclergy to explain that the Holy Father had been misunderstood. There’s some confusion about the canonical meaning of the word “redeem” and blah blah blah. It was like every speech Reagan ever made, where the spin doctors took center stage as soon as he left the room to tell everybody what he had meant to say.
It’s worth noting that while other Very Official Catholics stepped up to make clear that Francis hadn’t actually said what he said, the pope himself has not, anywhere I’ve seen, repudiated a word of it.
And the best part is, he just keeps on saying wack shit. Check this.
Pope Francis, in the first extensive interview of his six-month-old papacy, said that the Roman Catholic Church had grown “obsessed” with preaching about abortion, gay marriage and contraception, and that he has chosen not to speak of those issues despite recriminations from some critics.
In remarkably blunt language, Francis sought to set a new tone for the church, saying it should be a “home for all” and not a “small chapel” focused on doctrine, orthodoxy and a limited agenda of moral teachings.
“It is not necessary to talk about these issues all the time,” the Pope told the Reverend Antonio Spadaro, a fellow Jesuit and editor-in-chief of La Civiltà Cattolica, the Italian Jesuit journal whose content is routinely approved by the Vatican. “The dogmatic and moral teachings of the church are not all equivalent. The church’s pastoral ministry cannot be obsessed with the transmission of a disjointed multitude of doctrines to be imposed insistently.
“We have to find a new balance,” the Pope continued, “otherwise even the moral edifice of the church is likely to fall like a house of cards, losing the freshness and fragrance of the gospel.”
So, to review:
- Let’s stop talking about abortion all the time…
- …and teh gays…
- …and contraception.
- And atheists can go to Heaven.
Less remarked upon, but at least as interesting, is his stance on liberation theology, which his predecessors had ball-stomped at every turn.
Liberation theology arose as a Catholic response to the Marxist movements that fought Latin America’s military dictatorships in the 1960s and ’70s. It criticized the church’s close relations, including often overt support, with the regimes.
It affirmed that, rather then just focusing on seeking salvation in the afterlife, Catholics should act in the here and now against unjust societies that breed poverty and need.
In his seminal 1971 book, [the Rev. Gustavo Gutierrez, a Peruvian theologian and scholar who is considered the founder of liberation theology] argued that the church should have a “preferential option for the poor,” following the example of Jesus, who chose to live mostly with poor and marginalized people.
This isn’t inconsistent with his career, which has always placed emphasis on the plight of the poor. Even worse, it emerges in the interview linked above that Francis is a fan of Dostoevsky. Sweet hell, you don’t think he read “The Grand Inquisitor,” do you?
For the first time in memory, we appear to have a pope who’s familiar with the New Testament. I can’t help thinking that this is not what the College of Cardinals, as corrupt a cabal of reactionary child pimps as ever slithered across the land, had in mind when they fitted Jorge Mario Cardinal Bergoglio for the big pointy hat a few months ago.
I’m never going to like the Church and I’m never going to share much with them in the way of theological beliefs, but I’m all in favor of any pope who puts social justice ahead of sexual politics on his agenda. I can’t wait for Vatican 3 and hopefully he continues raising hell right up until the moment he keels over dead of natural causes.
Poisoning – that’s a natural cause, right? My advice? Hire a food taster….