Francis isn’t the Pope the Catholic Church deserves, but the one it needs right now

So I am way late to the game on this one, but if you read this blog you’ve probably heard by now about how some atheists have praised Pope Francis for saying nice things about gays and abortion and so on. And you’ve probably heard other atheists push back against that, saying Francis is just as bigoted as his predecessors. Here’s what I think about that:

Yeah, in a perfect world, the Catholic Church would magically reverse itself on gays and contraception and a bunch of other issues overnight. It sucks and it’s bad that they haven’t done that. Boo on them. Actually, scratch that—in a perfect world, no one would ever have had the Catholic Church’s dumb positions to begin with.

On the other hand, I think Francis may be, realistically speaking, the most liberal Pope the Catholic Church was going to get at this time in its history. And furthermore Pope Francis, realistically speaking, had to happen eventually. The Catholic Church can’t hold on to its crazy views forever, but given that it also isn’t going to reverse itself over night, baby steps are the way to go.

We’ve seen this before with American evangelicals and gays. A great many evangelicals convinced themselves they could hold on to all their own beliefs about homosexuality if they just resolved to be nicer about it. And on the one hand this is complete bullshit. Evangelicals need to wake up and realize that when the Bible says that men who have sex with men should be killed, the guy who wrote that probably really meant it, and it’s a profoundly evil sentiment, and it all by itself is proof that the Bible is not the word of a morally perfect God.

And on the other hand… when Rick Santorum claims to have gay friends, you know what? I can celebrate that as a sign of progress.

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  • MNb

    As long as the pope claims to have moral authority just because he has a direct immaterial telephone line with his imaginary friend high up up to the sky I don’t care if the pope is a bigot or not. Bigots will drive sane people out of the church, which is a good thing. A progressive pope will make live for gays easier, which is also a good thing.

  • http://Www.theirishatheist.wordpress.com/ The Irish Atheist

    Nope. Not buying it. You’re starting out with a premise that assumes that the Roman Catholic Church still has some sort of value in society, so cleaning it up is somehow worthwhile.

    • eric

      Of course cleaning it up is worthwhile. It influences hundreds of mllions (if not billions) of people and controls billions of dollars.
      Until you come up with some magical way of making all that real-life political power disappear, IMO anything which makes all that power work for good causes is an incremental improvement over letting it continue to work against good causes.
      IOW you’re ignoring the opportunity cost, Irish.

    • David Simon

      I agree that the RCC is more a detriment to society than a help, but that doesn’t mean cleaning it up isn’t worthwhile; we can make things better on net by reducing problems.

  • L.Long

    Pope Franky is no different than any other pope.
    They have the dogma and that is what they go with.
    Supposedly the pope sometime ago says evilution is OK.
    But guess how many catlicks know this??? Don’t use any big numbers in your guess. So if the pope says be nice to gays and atheist, Ya so what?

    The bigots are going to continue so because the dogma says they are of satan.
    Do you know what would happen if pope franky said ‘Ok you bunch of sheeple, we have been selling you BS for years and leading you all by the nose for money’
    He would be replaced and all the sheeple would continue being sheeple! because they like it!!!