The United States is falling over itself to praise Pope Francis as he makes his way through the country speaking to Congress and soon to hold mass at New York City’s Central Park.
“I have not been a fan of the Catholic church for a long time. I would have avoided seeing a pope at all costs in the past. But I just think this is someone who is so enlightened and progressive,” said Dan Nainan, a comedian and corporate speaker told The Guardian.
Nainan mentioned the Pope’s remarks on LGBTQ and Women’s issues as proof of the Pope’s progressive stance. But one must imagine he did not listen to Francis rail against same-sex families in front of Congress Thursday morning.
“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,” the Pope said.
Others, like Jennifer Vanderslice, shared the enthusiasm, celebrating the Pope’s supposed open-mindedness.
“He is such a worldly and non-judgmental pope and is so dynamic. He will never change me into a Catholic, but I do like the way he is spreading peace and talking about helping the poor and the less fortunate,” Vanderslice said. “It is refreshing to hear a pope who can strike a chord in so many people, whether they’re Catholic or not. You can take what you need and leave the rest.”
But a Church actually campaigning on the teachings of Jesus is not revolutionary. Nor is it actually the case. While Francis is urging others to help the poor, he sits upon a golden throne in a compound that could house thousands of homeless. The hypocrisy seems lost on those too busy worshipping at Francis’ feet because he said two nice things.
Thankfully not everyone is buying the Pope’s PR spin.
“Yes, Pope Francis has expressed compassion for gays, de-emphasized social issues, and made it temporarily easier for women to repent for having an abortion. But Francis has carefully avoided challenging or altering the church’s fundamental doctrines on contraception, abortion and gay marriage,” Suzy Khimm writes in the New Republic.
So yes, as Khimm notes, this Pope has said many of the right things. Yes, we need to focus on climate change. Yes, we need to abolish the death penalty.
But the Pope supports a campaign against contraception in Africa which sentences thousands, if not millions to death from the preventable disease AIDS. He works to ban abortions and as noted above, feels that same-sex marriage threatens the family.
Francis has also failed to bring a single pedophile, rapist priest to justice. He holds the files of every priest the church is aware of who has molested children and does nothing.
There is nothing to love about this Pope. He is the same bigoted nightmare as all the rest. He just seems to know how to make people feel warm and fuzzy just long enough to forget people are dying of AIDS and priests are busy raping children.
[Image: Agência Brasil / Creative Commons]