Guest blogger Todd Unctuous is top commentator for MSM. With a degree in Media Studies from Scranton Community College, Todd writes for many papers and websites, and is known for his incisive writing, objective reporting and razor sharp comment.
It is heartening to know that at last the Roman Catholic Church has a leader who is able to bring the church out of the dark ages. Pope Francis is a rock star! What a brilliant public relations move–to choose the same name as one of America’s most beloved singers Francis (Frank) Sinatra!
Because the Pope of Rome is unfallible it will be interesting to see how the Catholics respond since he has now said that gay marriage is acceptable, women priests are on the way and abortion is no longer condemned. I expect most Catholics will simply continue the way they always have and disregard the Pope in Rome. It doesn’t matter to them that Pope Francis has now ruled definitively against the old ways and in favor of the new ways.
For thirty five years Catholics have suffered under the harsh regimes of John Paul II from the communist world and then Benedict XVI who was a member of the Hitler Youth. All they ever spoke about was abortion, contraception and gay marriage. Like all Catholics they were obsessed with sex. As celibate old men no doubt that is all they ever thought about. It is refreshing therefore to have a pope that is not obsessed with sex. It was refreshing to read that he has a vision of an inclusive church, a “home for all” — which is a striking contrast with his predecessor, Pope Benedict XVI, the doctrinal defender who envisioned a smaller, purer church.
At last the Catholic Church will be the church for all. This is a step forward for all people need to feel welcome in a church even if they do not feel that they wish to attend every week. As one of my fellow colleagues who is a devout Catholic has commented, “Immaculate Conception is the church I don’t go to.” He was making a joke, but his words have a profound significance for he wished to belong to the church even though he no longer believes and does not attend. This is the sort of Catholic Church the new pope is in favor of–a church where all belong but there is no obligation to be bound by petty rules and ancient doctrines.
I am not myself a religious man, but Pope Francis is making me think again. If this is the sort of church he now wants to have, then this is the church for me. For some time I have been on a personal spiritual quest. I went on a long walk by myself on the beach one time last year and I have been reading a book called Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff which I have found inspirational. Now I am realizing that my real spiritual home is the Catholic Church. The new Pope has reached out to me and I realize that I can now be a Catholic and draw from that rich tradition without feeling guilty or obliged to follow absurd rules like going to Mass or confession to a priest or wearing the brown spatula.
I understand that the pope’s interview did not change church doctrine or policies, but it instantly changed its tone. His words evoked gratitude and hope from many liberal Catholics (like myself) who had felt left out in the cold during the papacies of Benedict and his predecessor, John Paul II, which together lasted 35 years. Some lapsed Catholics suggested on social media a return to the church, and leaders of gay rights and gay Catholic groups called on bishops to abandon their fight against gay marriage.
No doubt this interview is the beginning of the end of the old, narrow minded, bigoted church and now that I am a Catholic I look forward to attending my first gay wedding in a Catholic cathedral soon. As soon as I wrote those words “now that I am a Catholic” my own heart surged forward. Perhaps now I really am a religious man after all. As I said those words I felt a real identification with Vice President Joe Biden, Nancy Pelosi, Arnold Schwartzenegger, Barbara Streisand, Ted Kennedy, Hilary Clinton and all the other wonderful Catholics I have long admired.
Todd Unctuous is forty-two.
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