I get it people, the Pope hasn’t gone out of his way to call gay people horrible for a few months straight, that is pretty impressive. That doesn’t mean everyone needs to line up to give him a blowjob.
Here, Timothy Egan writes in the times how the Pope’s liberal theology may be what it takes to stymie the tide lapsing Catholics. As he notes, Christopher Hitchens informed him that ‘Nones’ were the fastest rising category of religion in the world. Hitchens is right, with 1 in 5 claiming no religion in the US, and 1 in 3 youths claiming the same, atheism is on the rise. The idea that the Pope would slow this terrifies me. Not because it would be less people joining my ‘team’, as it were, but because of the reason people just love Pope Francis.
The media has been paying attention to ‘millennials’ and their impressive atheist stats, blog posts aplenty seek to understand why so many young people are turning away from religion. For Egan here, who doesn’t touch on this issue directly, the push against the church comes from people not wanting to stand behind the Catholic Church’s archaic views on social issues. The Catholic Church, sometimes considered a home for scientific thought and consideration, also has a history of hiding behind old hierarchical stances on abortion, divorce, homosexuality, and other social issues that are now at the center of people’s political identities. To put it another way, who the hell wants to identify as the gay-hating religion when they probably have gay friends at school? Even if you take a more liberal Catholic stance, as most Americans do, everyone knows you are Catholic, and until you explain your own personal view it will be assumed that you stand where your church stands.
So the Pope doesn’t hate gays, so everything is okay forever now, right?
Pope Francis has shown himself to be a free spirit and a free thinker. He loves the music of Mozart, the paintings of Chagall, the films of Fellini. He tweets. He talks to atheists. He stays out of politics. He calls for the faithful to “mess up the church.” He doesn’t moralize or sermonize, and famously said, when asked about gays, “Who am I to judge?” Is this pope Catholic?
No, screw you. We can see through this stuff, right vague personification of the Western world?
It’s long been known that most North American and European Catholics ignore church teachings on gays, contraception and abortion. These teachings range from absurd to unscientific to outright hateful. Without specifically changing the official line, Francis prompted millions of Catholics to give the church a second look when he criticized the hierarchy for being “obsessed” with those issues. Amen, said nearly 70 percent American Catholics who agreed with him in a Quinnipiac poll.
No wait, this isn’t really people saying the Pope is awesome, just them agreeing that the church is obsessed. The problem is, since this is about all the access we get to the Pope, him saying things that people agree with, that makes them less ashamed to be related to organized religion, it does mean something. People may not jump back into their altar boy clothes, not until those sex scandals are resolved, but it does soften what is a general distrust among liberals of organized religion.
I should have seen this coming. In a world where Kony 2012 happened, I should have known that the Pope could get away with armchair equality.
In this article about a week earlier, Gutting looks at how the Pope is a lot of talk, but little difference. At the end of the day, the Pope has turned to the oldest trick in the theists ‘I want to be religious, but not lose my friends’ playbook.
“Hate the sin, not the sinner.”
Nevertheless the pope, unlike many Catholics, seems still to accept the hierarchy’s official views on abortion, contraception and homosexuality: “The teaching of the church, for that matter, is clear, and I am a son of the church, but it is not necessary to talk about these issues all the time.” Presumably, then, he agrees with the official line that these actions are seriously immoral.
So great, the Pope isn’t going to judge homosexuals, or the divorced, or those who get an abortion, except he still thinks you are immoral. It is that pat on the head you get as a child when someone doesn’t want to say they think you’re a dumb ass, but only because Child Protection Services has been sniffing around lately.
Let me reiterate, the Pope is no friend to modern social issues, he has not done one thing to change the stances of his church of millions, his greatest achievements include tweeting (which my Justin Bieber obsessed sister can do, with just as much zeal), and telling people to worry about ‘immoral’ people less.
If this is what it takes to be Pope, I can elect myself for Super-Pope, and I’ll wear two hats.
Maybe I’m just in too many places at once, maybe I’m just hearing everyone’s first admittance of appreciating the Pope not being an asshat and it is starting to wear on me. I just don’t get it, is it this easy to impress people? “I hate everything about you, but I won’t condemn you to hell.” Is this what being religious truly feels like? Have I forgotten that fast?