Meet the new Pope, sort of the same as the old Pope.
He’s an old man who hates gay marriage, abortion and contraception. He’ll fit right in.
There is one difference in the selection of who will now be called Pope Francis. The man formerly known as Cardinal Jorge Bargoglio is from Argentina. Obviously, the Church has noticed how influential Latin America is becoming in the world.
Good for them. Personally, I was rooting for the black Pope. But I digress.
For me, as an atheist, I really can’t say that the election of a Pope has any tangible effect on my life at all. I have no religious leaders influencing my feelings or political beliefs.
To me, Pope Francis does not and will not matter.
Unfortunately, for many he does.
There are an estimated one billion Catholics in the world, and the word of the Father is considered the literal word of God.
Of course, not every Catholic shares the new Pope’s beliefs on gay marriage and birth control, but they are supposed to.
And out of a billion people, it’s safe to assume that many take Francis at his word when he calls gay marriage “a destructive attack on God’s plan.”
Nevermind the fact that God made gay people and man made marriage, but again I digress.
I’ve also failed to mention the ever-looming specter of the Church’s annoying little “our-leaders-have-been-raping-children-for-decades-possibly-even-centuries” problem.
Nobody knows how long children have been abused because throughout much of history, no one discussed it. This is not to say that this is concrete proof of Catholic priests abusing children a long time ago, but the earliest scientific or medical book to mention the subject was published in 1857 by Auguste Ambroise Tardieu.
It was a topic no one took note of until that date.
Don’t forget that the likely reason we even have a new Pope to begin with is the fact that people were becoming aware of the fact that the last one, Benedict XVI, had a strong hand in denying justice to untold numbers of children abused at the hands of priests.
Benedict XVI, when he was still known by his earthly name of Joseph Ratzinger, served as a Cardinal in the church. He also served as Cardinal-Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.
In the year 2001, the Pope before that, John Paul II, assigned the task of reviewing all papal sex abuse cases to Ratzinger.
During his time in the position, no criminal charges were brought against abusive priests. As a matter of fact, Ratzinger sent a letter to Catholic Bishops warning them against revealing Church information on sex abuse cases.
So, Franny, can you do better than Benny?
You can begin by healing the wounds of thousands upon thousands of abused children, handing over abusive priests to the law, allowing priests to marry, giving nuns and women in general a stronger voice in the church and stopping the persecution of the LBGT community.
Can you do these things?
I’ll be honest— I don’t have a lot of faith.