A Song for the Pope (Dedicated by an Atheist, in Honor of Recent Statements From His US Visit)

A Song for the Pope (Dedicated by an Atheist, in Honor of Recent Statements From His US Visit) September 25, 2015

So, the Pope came and spoke in Congress yesterday. Among other things, he criticized same sex marriage when he said the following:

How essential the family has been to the building of this country! And how worthy it remains of our support and encouragement! Yet I cannot hide my concern for the family, which is threatened, perhaps as never before, from within and without. Fundamental relationships are being called into question, as is the very basis of marriage and the family. I can only reiterate the importance and, above all, the richness and the beauty of family life.

This is not the first time he’s voiced these controversial views. In addition to his pro-life stance (which he alluded to in his speech to Congress), he has also indicated a discomfort with trans individuals, comparing their supposed destruction with that performed with nuclear warheads when he said:

Let’s think of the nuclear arms, of the possibility to annihilate in a few instants a very high number of human beings. Let’s think also of genetic manipulation, of the manipulation of life, or of the gender theory, that does not recognize the order of creation. With this attitude, man commits a new sin, that against God the Creator. The true custody of creation does not have anything to do with the ideologies that consider man like an accident, like a problem to eliminate. God has placed man and woman and the summit of creation and has entrusted them with the earth. ‘The design of the Creator is written in nature. If we fail in this responsibility, if we do not take care of our brothers and of all creation, destruction advances.

Yeah…and then there’s the fact that he hasn’t openly spoken against his church’s views advocating an avoidance of contraception, which has perpetuated diseases like AIDS. I mean, it’s 2015. Why doesn’t he at least come out and say, “We were wrong. It’s actually OK to use a condom”? Especially when the views of the Catholic church regarding this issue have caused and is causing so much pain…

And, to add insult to injury, yesterday he complimented bishops in the Catholic church for their supposedly healthy (?!) attitude towards the child sexual abuse scandal, in a move that angered victims and struck critics as “bizarre.”

Barbara Blaine, the president of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP) reacted with a statement that is worth quoting at length:

In a speech today [Wednesday, September 23rd] to U.S. bishops…Francis “does not specifically reference the pedophilia that has rocked the Roman Catholic Church.”

He does, however, speak of some alleged “great sacrifice” made by bishops because of the abuse and cover up crisis.

What sacrifice? What bishops takes fewer vacations, drives a smaller car, does his own laundry or has been passed over for promotion because he’s shielding predators and endangering kids? None.

Only four US bishops (out of hundreds) have resigned because they hide and enabled horrific crimes, but only after staying in power for years and only after massive public, police, prosecutor and parishioner outrage. 

Virtually none of the other US clerics, (out of thousands) have ever been punished in the slightest for protecting predators, destroying evidence, stonewalling police, deceiving prosecutors, shunning victims or helping child molesting clerics get new jobs or flee overseas.

And no one in the entire US Catholic hierarchy, despite 30 years of horrific scandal and at least 100,000 US victims, has been defrocked, demoted, disciplined or even publicly denounced by a church colleague or supervisor, for covering up child sex crimes, no matter how clearly or often or egregiously he did so.

In carefully-crafted remarks, Francis claims church officials are working “to ensure that such crimes will never be repeated.” He knows, however, this is disingenuous. Such crimes are happening right now, all across the world. He refuses to admit this, however, preferring to conveniently imply that somehow, because of tiny, belated and grudging steps forced on bishops in a few Western nations, no priest, nun, seminarian or bishop anywhere is assaulting children today.

Finally, Francis says he has “no wish” to tell US bishop “what to do, because we all know what it is that the Lord asks of us.” He’s half right – bishops do indeed know precisely how to protect kids. But they refuse, like Francis himself does, to take the simple, proven steps to do this.

Despicable, to put it mildly. And the empty, arrogant, child-abuse-protecting self-back-patting speech SNAP describes here  took place on US soil.

But still, in commemoration of the Pope’s visit, with all due respect to my Catholic friends, I’d like to place a song here that will hopefully convey the sentiments we can all hold in common regarding our attitude towards his stay.

Thank you for your time.

And now, this:

[Cover image courtesy of Chloe Chaplin under CCL 2.0]
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