My God people, how silly is this Pope thing going to get? The Right’s mad because of his statements on climate change and economic inequality. The Left’s mad because he hasn’t embraced gay marriage. News Flash folks: The Pope isn’t seeking, isn’t worried about, won’t lose sleep over, and doesn’t need, your approval.
Pope Francis is the Grand Poobah of the Catholic Faith here on earth, one of the oldest and strictest of religions. His job is to persuade Catholics to follow the teachings of the church, not convince the church to conform to society.
Did anyone actually think he was going to chuck several thousand years of doctrine out the window and say “What were we thinking, this gay marriage thing isn’t so bad.”, or “I see your point; I’ll tell the Vatican abortion’s a go.”
This is the definition of religion, courtesy of Merriam-Webster (my emphasis):
: an organized system of beliefs, ceremonies, and rules used to worship a god or a group of gods
The basis of organized religion has always been the control and order of society through a very narrowly defined moral code. We can argue about the validity of religion, its motives, its archaic beliefs, and a host of other things; we would be wasting our breath. Religion is not required to bend. It is what it is, as they say.
Many on the left were either outraged or saddened that the Pope spoke with infamous Ky. County Clerk, Kim Davis. Marianne Duddy-Burke, the leader of Dignity USA, a Catholic LGBT group told NPR:
… the meeting sends “a message that is very exclusionary to people who have been faithful to the church despite a lot of oppression.”
… before news of the Davis meeting surfaced, “there was a real sense of joy in the church, and inclusion, and I think many LGBT Catholics were pretty moved.”
…then as the details came out, you know, there was just a huge sense of betrayal and outrage. One person wanted to have a big bonfire and burn pope memorabilia, you know — just a real sense that this pope, on whom so many people had pinned so much hope, would do something like this was seen as a real slap in the face.”
The last paragraph could just as easily have been written by straight Catholics in response to the Pope’s statements on gay civil unions. Yes, the Pope met with Kim Davis, who cares? It seems Davis’ handlers made more of the story than there was, anyway; turns out he met with a gay couple as well, as The New York Times reports:
…the Vatican said that Francis gave only one “real audience”: to someone later identified as one of his former students, Yayo Grassi, a gay man in Washington who says he brought his partner of 19 years to the Vatican’s embassy in Washington for a reunion.
My guess is, if the Pope spoke at any length to Mrs. Davis, it probably went something like: “Seriously, Kim? Married four times, yet playing holier than thou with the gays? I think you’ve got some Hail Marying to do…”
Then there’s an American Prospect piece titled “The Pope’s Blind Spot: When Income Inequality and Abortion Intersect” in which, author Atima Omara writes:
I believe that Pope Francis is sincere in wanting to fight economic disparities. But his message is woefully incomplete. For women and girls around the world, health, justice, and economic freedom require access to affordable, safe, and effective reproductive health care. To divide these issues is to ignore the realities of our lives and daily survival.
Ms. Omara is the one ignoring reality. The Catholic Church knows the many causes of poverty throughout the world, their missions deal with it every day; but again, the Church’s role is not to adjust to society.
People think that because their arguments are sound and logical, church leaders should reconsider their positions. But religion is not about logic; it is about faith, and the belief that God is the one and final authority. You may not understand it, or believe in it, but they do.
This is precisely why Church and State are separate: We never want to get to the point where our rights hinge on the approval of any religion. Be appreciative of the fact that for once, a Pope sees the world as it is, and people as they are. He might change nothing in church doctrine, but he is already changing peoples’ hearts… and that’s HUGE.