March 13, 2013

Francis the talking pope?

Pope Francis/via Wikipedia
And, yes, I'm punning off an old, old movie serial set. Do teh Google for yourself.

Anyway, Argentinian Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio, who apparently has a dark history in covering up for thuggery of the 1970s-80s Argentinian military junta, has been elected as Pope Francis.

Great. Divert the eyes of the public from sex abuse scandals to human rights abuse scandals.

That said, defenders of him on this and other issues say this is overblown, per a "fact list" about Francis. On the other hand, the Guardian's reporter, on the first link, has been reporting on Latin American issues for decades.

The AP has more. Any things Francis did on the plus side in helping people vis-a-vis the junta seem to fall short on the claims of how he kowtowed.

I'm venturing liberation theology Catholics in Latin America are especially unhappy, if the more recent smoke is white smoke, not black smoke, about his problems. That's despite his sympathy for the poor otherwise.

And, yes, he wants kids to be baptized even if born out of marriage, but doesn't want gays to adopt kids like that (per the second link):
In 2010, he said allowing gay couples to adopt is a form of discrimination against children, earning a rebuke from the country's president. 
Yes, that's why he's "conservative and orthodox." You were expecting something different, after all the Cardinals John Paul II and Benedict XVI named?

Charles Pierce has more on his conservative Catholic network connections.
So, at first glance, we have a deft clerical politician with a long track record of managing to straddle controversial issues while leaning always toward the powers in Rome. We also have someone who may not be pope for very long. We also have the perfect product of the Church produced by John Paul II and Benedict XVI. Their papacies continue unabated.
Sounds about right.

Trivia/history: First non-European pope in more than a century. First "Francis" ever. No word yet on why he chose that "style." And, first Jesuit pope ever.

Add the "Jesuit" part on top of all the other stuff above ... and ... don't expect the Vatican to become any more "open," whether to change, whether for transparency, or in general.

Have fun bitching about him, Garry Wills and all other Catholics who still refuse to up and leave.

Of course, with his age, he's arguably somewhat a "caretaker" pope. So Wills can bitch for 7-10 years, unless at his own age of 78, he dies before the pope does.

As for people who point out his condemnations of neoliberal capitalism as practiced by the World Bank et al? Big deal. John Paul II was already doing that, and conservative Catholics in the First World (that's you, Rick Santorum) ignored this and other calls for social justice then.

Beyond that, if Francis really does care more about the poor, freeing up money from the Vatican Bank would be a starter. Partnering with secular NGOs on microloans in the developing world would be another.

And, in general, trying to help the poor, as long as they're heterosexual and inside God's plan, doesn't erase anti-gay bigotry.

(Of course, since there's no god and no plan, from where I stand, it doesn't matter. Just saying that Catholic defenders of Francis shouldn't claim too much for him.)

And, a bit of "funny," per a G+ acquaintance:
VATICAN CITY - College of Cardinals says white smoke was false alarm: "We were just burning documents and evidence."
Sounds about right.

And, maybe his style should have been Pope Evito? As in, "Don't cry for him, Argentina."

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