Monday, June 24, 2013

The new Pope and how I still oppose Christianity.

I gotta say, this new Pope is a different kinda guy.  Anybody who can get elected to the highest position in an organization that is still considered an absolute monarchy, which is well known for imprisoning its office holders in almost two millennia of tradition and still figures he can stand up the entire Curia on a concert date can't be all bad.

Pope Francis has earned a rep as a stand up kinda guy that tends to live the monastic life his religion's purported founder said is the right way to live.  Which isn't easy when one is the head of a church whose real estate holdings in the center of Rome are, in both real property and contents, worth multiple billions of dollars at the very least.  Not to mention its property holdings world wide.

He lives in a small guest house, in a small suite at that, and hasn't spent a single night in the spacious papal apartments, nor does he wear the gaudy white-and-golden crap his predecessor did.  His ring, I understand, is silver, not gold.

One could almost say he is trying to live the common life.

But really?   Does any of that matter?  One can argue that the little things like that, which show "humility", do matter, and to be fair, when they do live the high life and wear the gold and the fancy clothes and the red shoes and live amongst the finery collected over almost two thousand years it does seem to send a totally different message.

One that says they don't really care about the common man and woman on the street.

But does living a simpler life, clothing and regalia of office really send the opposite message?  Is that enough?  Is it enough for the man to stiff the Curia by not showing up for a fancy concert in order to let everyone see that he is a different kind of pope?

Or is it merely window dressing?

To be frank, I don't know.  I do tend to be cynical about it, and it does seem that the Curia's obsession with their wealth is taken pretty seriously.  They don't seem to care about how it is perceived.

In all fairness, Francis does seem to care, in the way he refuses to bow to tradition and eschews the trappings of power and privilege.  I guess if one is a powerful message of "don't-give-a-shit", one can argue that the opposite one is as powerful a message of "yes-I-do".

Unfortunately for the new pope, there is more to caring than living the apparently simple life.  Yes, it does send the message that one should pay closer attention to Christ's teachings but if that is the message Francis wants to send, then he has much further to go in getting that message across.

If he wants to say to his faithful that he cares, then he needs to change the teachings of his church that are so painful and harmful to so many of them.  Things like how harmful condoms are.  Or how contraceptives are sinful.  How about the message that women are second class citizens because they cannot be priests?

To be frank, were I a woman, I wouldn't care if he walked around in a loincloth and barefoot - as long as he calls me less than fully human, he may as well be wearing all that gold filigree for all the good his choice of wardrobe will do him.

Same thing for those who do not fit the "normal" gender identities.

What counts is where the rubber meets the road.  Will he change the radical right wing direction his church has been madly veering in for the last three popes?  There are reasons why the RCC cannot attract enough priests and why their pews are getting emptier and emptier as the years go by, and whether or not the pope wears Prada doesn't make a hill of beans towards explaining either of those problems.

What will tell is who he appoints in the positions that will matter in how the Curia is run while he is office.  Whether they are conservatives who will maintain the same direction of radical fundamentalism or whether they will be more progressive and move the church towards a new direction.

Not to mention whether he can survive without getting "ill".

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