The official blog of University of Missouri Skeptics, Atheists, Secular Humanists, & Agnostics

New Pope, old ideas

I’m sure most of you have heard by now that the next Pope has been chosen. It’s this guy.

Photo credit: Natacha Pisarenko / AP

His real name is Jorge Bergoglio, and he came from Argentina. As Pope, he will be called Francis. And other than that, we don’t know a whole lot about him. He was discussed this morning on the Diane Rehm Show, and as I was listening during my morning commute I appreciated the insight of Father James Martin, an American Jesuit priest. The transcript of today’s show hasn’t been published yet, so I must paraphrase his comments:

‘Bergoglio is a conservative Catholic, so I don’t see him changing the Church’s policies towards gays or contraception.’

Fair enough. A little disappointing, but not surprising for the leader of an oppressive worldwide religious institution.

But then Martin goes on to stick his foot in his mouth, as religious folk are wont to do. Once again, I paraphrase:

‘But the Pope shouldn’t really be worried about social issues like that. Now is a time to bring the gospel to the people and introduce them to Jesus.’

Oh. Is that so? You’re kind of a prick if you think the head honcho of the religion that preaches love should ignore the suffering of the LGBTQ community, ranging from simple marriage discrimination to execution. Contraception was discussed in the context of financial inequality, but apparently the Pope gets to disregard the plight of even devout Catholic families with too many mouths to feed. Father Martin, if you really wanted to introduce more people to Jesus’ teachings of tolerance and support for the poor, you could start by following his damn example.

Besides dismissing the blatant opportunity to emulate the good deeds of your savior, you suggest that more people need to be introduced to Jesus. Really? Christianity is one of the largest religions in the world and has a vice-grip on social and legal policies in many regions, but you still think spreading it further is a higher priority than alleviating suffering? Either you lack the compassion you claim to hold so dear, or you’re stupid.

Not that it’s even the Pope’s responsibility to reach barbarians who haven’ t heard the good word yet. That’s what missionaries are for. And then local priests reinforce it. No, Francis will ride around in his Popemobile, trusting God to protect him with bulletproof glass and speaking Latin. He might announce that God spoke to him about those social issues we should be ignoring, but he sure as hell won’t be telling clergymen how to keep their parishioners in line.

On a rather tangential note, SASHA has been having our own Popewatch for the past several weeks, and I was really hoping we’d end up with this lovely fellow.

Photo credit: Pier Marco Tacca/Getty Images

This is Angelo Scola of Italy, and he has the coolest God-damned stick of any of the major Pope contenders. Sure, Francis has bling, but this guy knows where it’s at. Ah, well. At 71 years old, he’s five years Francis’ junior, so maybe he’ll be around for the next conclave.


About khuddlestonsmith

I'm a Mizzou student majoring in Biology and Psychology, minoring in Anthropology, and earning an Honors College degree.

4 comments on “New Pope, old ideas

  1. rocketkirchner
    March 15, 2013

    Now this is amusing . or it would be if it were not so sad. i find it amazing that the politics of genitlia ( thinking below the belt ) should take precedent over the destitute over the world . Every critic of what the so called ”oppressive” church ,seems to be well fed and horny, and also ignorant of the teachings of Christ.
    Christ said ”Blessed are the destitute , for theirs is the Kingdom of heaven ”. He never talked about red herrings like Homosexuality . he got down to business.
    most of the world lives in brutal poverty , and those of us catholic workers who have worked in soup kitchens and homeless shelters fro decades cant help but to chuckle when a first world writer critizes the possibility that the 3rd world can be helped , even if it is just a little .
    But what do these writers know about starvation ? are they on the front lines of fighting poverty ?
    give me a writer that is ( and i know many that are in the 3rd world as volunteers) , and then i will listen to them .

  2. rocketkirchner
    March 15, 2013

    The Inversion and insurrection of oppression should not begin with sexual issues, but rather with poverty issues. Life threatening issues must procede life diminishing ones . this is the logic of a consistent life ethic . most of the world is without clean water , proper medicine , food , etc. and death rate of Aids epidemic in Africa alone is heartbreaking .
    It is because of this that the most helpless should be put FIRST. In doing this one inversts the ”pyramid of affluence” . St Francis of Assisi is the template for this .

    i would like to recommend a book that was silenced by the Vatican that needs to be rediscovered . it is called ” Church , Charism , and Power ” –by Fransican scholar Lenardo Boff from Petroplis Brazil .

    • khuddlestonsmith
      March 17, 2013

      I think you misunderstand my point. I completely agree that suffering must be alleviated, typically in order of most severe to least. My objection is that instead of even admitting that the less severe suffering should be addressed, Father Martin suggests the Church should just sit back on its immense fortune and continue to introduce people to Jesus. I make the point about homosexuality because that’s what was discussed on the show when I was listening, and it’s an easier example to relate to than starvation for the general public. I’m not asking the Church to go out and actively encourage gay equality and women’s freedoms, but rather to stop spending so much damn time and money opposing these things. It’s a complete waste of their resources that could (and should) be going towards being Jesus-y and helping others, but instead they use it to create more problems.

      • rocketkirchner
        March 17, 2013

        As a catholic worker on the front lines i agree with you . the Church has its prioritys wrong . the best way of introducing people to Jesus is what st. francis of assisi said ” preach the gospel always , sometimes use words”. what our fellow humanist should do that are non believers is get out with us , and help the poor and set an example to the church . all the best.

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This entry was posted on March 14, 2013 by in Author: Katie Huddlestonsmith, In The News, LBGTQ and tagged , , , , , .
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