Saturday, January 04, 2014

I'm Back! (and, what about that Pope, huh?)

Well, It has been a wonderful two weeks, hobnobbing with family, helping my oldest cyberdaughter care for her new twins, and generally being lazy and playing the new grandfather!  If you don't have grandkids, I recommend it!  (That requires that you first have kids.  If you haven't done that yet, I suggest you get started - fast!  Grandkids are too wonderful to miss...)

I was under the impression that coming up with a subject to expound upon might be hard to do, but fortunately, one of the usual suspects has given me plenty to talk about.

What about that Pope, huh?   Ain't he just hunky dory?  Or maybe just real cool?  These days, I hear a lot of atheists and others singing his praises and saying that it's about time someone from that ancient bureaucracy finally stood up and got people started back down the road Christ laid out for them way back when.

On that very short note, I agree - totally.  it IS about time the head of that organization got people thinking about the message of their alleged founder instead of this new fangled plutocratic message the Republicans have been spreading around.

On the other hand, I also feel like a Mac user, chanting outside Micro$oft headquarters, "As long as it takes!" referring to keeping M$ CEO Steve Ballmer on the job as long as it takes for him to finish running that company into the ground.  (Oh, yeah, I AM a Mac user, although I haven't done that particular chant in front of M$ HQ yet...)  But you get the point - as long as the Church keeps running with the GOP's plutocratic platform, the more folks will continue to leave the RCC like rats from a sinking ship, and this guy is trying very hard to turn that around.

I am glad he is saying these things in part because I think it is important that people who believe in the simple, uplifting message of love the more liberal Christian groups believe in, the better off this country will be in the short run.  The hateful message of the modern Conservative movement is bad for business, bad for government and terrible for the average American, and it badly needs to be countered by reasonable people.

But, in the long run, the more people leave Christianity, I believe the better off we will be because the more people will be using reason and science to decide public policy matters, and not an ancient late bronze age religious tract.  I mean, come on, people can be stupid enough when they ARE using reason and science - that isn't a panacea for stupidity - but once you throw in superstition and ignorance, all bets are off!

So I move forward with mixed feelings about this Pope.  On one hand, he IS a very reasonable sounding guy.

On the other, he DID excommunicate a supporter of female ordination just a bit ago.  Not exactly designed to reassure the uncertain masses sitting on the fence, trying to decide which way to lean.

My own advice:

Be happy he is making the Republicans sound like the money grubbing, soup line hating, capitalistic high rollers using $100 bills for lighting big Cuban cigars that they are!  But be aware that at the same time, that marketing largesse for the poor is tempered by the cold hard fact that it is intended to slow or stop the massive bleed-out of membership the RCC has been experiencing in recent years.

It comes with a price - toe the company line or else.  Pope Francis is not going to turn the Catholic bureaucracy around in the next 180 days, or even the next few years.  It isn't his intention!  Oh, yes, he'll get what he can for the poor he does seem to care about, but you'll notice that while he is living in a much more frugal looking set of digs than his predecessor, they haven't put any of those fabled treasures in the old digs out on Craig's List to raise money for the poor.  I'd bet dollars to donut holes that all that cash Mother Teresa sent the Vatican is still sitting in the fat bank accounts it landed in, and probably won't even raise interest money for helping the poor folks it was donated for.

If it ever does, and you start seeing entries on Craig's List for Vatican gold and art works, then you'll see me alongside you in the cheering gallery.

Until then, color me skeptical - or maybe cynical is a better word.

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