Don’t get me wrong, I think Pope Francis is a huge improvement from Pope
Palpatine Benedict. Francis is a much nicer guy and I like how he pretends that he is concerned about the poor. However, when it comes to the actual policies of the Vatican and the Catholic Church, nothing has really changed at all.
This morning, the Religious Newswriters Association posted a cartoon on their Facebook wall that inspired this post. It seems that they have bought into the new Public Relations campaign of the Church because they seem to be under the false impression that Francis is not the same old Pope. Here is their cartoon:
The fact of the matter is that the Catholic Church still considers homosexuality a sin and they still strongly oppose marriage equality for gays and even oppose the right of gay couples to adopt children. The difference now is that the current Pope is smart enough to realize that this is unpopular and that the Church is losing this fight. So he keeps his opposition more on the down-low. He might even say something nice like, gay people might not be tortured for all eternity if they repent and stop having sex with other gay people, but that isn’t a different opinion from the Pope Emeritus.
When it comes to birth control, abortion, and women’s issues, Francis doesn’t have a different opinion than his predecessor. He just talks about those issues less often. He still doesn’t think women should be allowed in leadership positions within the Church. I’m not even sure he believes that women are not the property of their man. For example, he once said, “Calling a woman to maternity, God entrusted the human being to her in an altogether special manner.” That sounds nice, but in the context of his comments, he is basically calling women broodmares.
As an atheist, it sounds comforting to know that the current Pope doesn’t think that I am necessarily doomed to be tortured for all eternity in Hell, but I already knew that. Still, it is kind of him to say that there is a chance that his all-loving God won’t torture me. Interestingly enough, his position is really no different than the last Pope on this issue either. The Vatican has always held that atheists can be saved as long as we repent and ask Jesus to into our hearts. Yeah, that’s the fine print. Atheists can be saved as long as we are no longer atheists. Fortunately, as an atheist I’m pretty sure I’m safe from eternal torture anyway.
Then there is the issue of the Church moving pedophile priests around the world to avoid prosecution and obstruct justice. The last Pope was pretty bad in this regard as he was one of the people who prior to being Pope actually moved pedophile priests around. When the scandals started to hit the Church, the last Pope placed the blame on everyone he could think of including but not limited to, atheists, gays, and the media. So I guess Francis does slightly better on this one, but only slightly. Priests are still being moved around the globe to avoid prosecution and the Vatican has yet to turn over a list of suspected priests to various authorities. Instead, Francis’s strategy is to focus on poverty issues and let’s just forget about what is going on over there with the child rape. Surprisingly, this strategy seems to be working.