Thursday, September 19, 2013

Kudos to a Pope. What Hath Reason Wrought?

  I’ve never claimed to be infallible...I’ll leave that imaginary condition to the Papal Office.  It’s entirely possible that I may have been wrong about Pope Francis.

[Pauses while gasps from readers die down]

OK…take a breath and relax.  I’m neither going soft on religion, nor handing out any accolades to the Cat-Hole-Lick Church.  But I had placed this pope in the same class as all other popes; unmoving, iconoclastic, a slave to historic doctrine, a foe of modernity, gays, women, heretics, and just about anything else that doesn’t conform to Catholic doctrine. 

Today the pope came out with an interview to America magazine, a Jesuit publication, in which he said the Church has been “obsessed” with contraception, abortion and gay marriage.  That maybe it’s time to move away from that emphasis and focus more on acceptance and love than staunch anti-activism (that’s my term, not his).  A few weeks ago he offered an olive branch to atheists, acknowledging one needn’t be a believer to be good or do good – that people can be “good without God,” as the oft invoked atheist slogan goes.  This is a far cry from the words of his predecessors.

Both stories here:

Does this mean the Church is going to suddenly reverse itself?  That it will countenance gay marriage, openly gay priests, a woman’s right to choose, condoms and “the Pill”?  Of course not.  It will take centuries for that kind of reason to migrate into the Church’s dogma. For the time being, it’s just words.

What it means, however,  is that the Cardinals screwed up. I doubt they intended to choose as pope who is not simply a robe wearing, pope mobile riding, drone, mouthing the same old Catholic script and digging in his heals against the changing tide of society and its evolving mores.  My guess is they are in a tizzy over this pope’s new tone and emphasis.

More importantly it also means that the Church has taken a baby step toward modernity, perhaps because of the pope’s realization that no society, culture, or religion lives for ever like a rock in a stormy sea - no matter how old or how venerated it cannot remain untouched by the world around it.  That they must either adapt or die the death of irrelevance and obsolescence.  

Pope Francis has set that adaptation in motion. Whether it has legs, whether it will out live him, whether it is embraced, nurtured and expanded upon by the next pope, the Catholic hierarchy, and the next generation of Catholic laypeople remains to be seen. But I know this… if this kind of reasoned heresy was uttered by a pope 500 years ago, he’d have been the unfortunate victim of an accidental ingestion of poison.

No, not willing to embrace the pope and kiss him on his fat face.  And I’ll remain skeptical as to where this will lead, if anywhere.  But I’ll give him kudos, and a tip of the hump just for having the sense and guts to realize the time has come to shake up the old guard to whom condemnation, persecution, and sex obsession is the Church’s  raison d'

Good for you, “Padre”.


Joyce said...

I've liked this Pope from the very beginning. I liked him when he put on his own brown loafers instead the red shoes; sat in a normal chair instead of a throne; wore a simple, wooden cross around his neck instead of a gold and jewel-encrusted one; broke loose of security and wandered around the people, touching them, picking up children, talking to them; said that priests who molest children should be thrown out of the priesthood and arrested and jailed; said that atheists can be judged by their works; went driving around Vatican City in a 20-year-old donated car that has well over 100,000 miles on it without a body guard and said that they should stop driving the big limos; today's statement that you've highlighted here ... and there is so much more that he has done and said that is to like.

He certainly has set the Catholic Church -- and the Christian Community as a whole -- on its ear. I always look forward to what he is going to say or do next.

Great post. (I've been very, very sick these past few months and haven't been online outside of Facebook during that time, so it's nice to be back and read your blog again! Hope you and CA are well!)

paul said...

...and it is always just a matter of time while the "official" spokespersons for the RCC come up with their next comment in the vein of "Yeah, but ..."

Dromedary Hump said...

So sorry to hear you've been ill. Hope it''s not serious and you're on the rebound.

Yes.. I too am waiting for that shoe to drop. Maybe it won't. We'll see.

Meanwhile Donohue from the extreme right Catholic League is, I understand, having a fit! That's good thing...better if it gives him a stroke. ;)

Chatpilot said...

Although all of the latest comments and actions made by Pope Francis seem positive I remain pessimistic about its outcome. I think it is just a ploy to help boost the dwindling numbers of Catholics in the church.

I saw a priest being interviewed on the Spanish news this morning and he used the old cliche' "love the sinner not the sin." This is the equivalent of Jesus statement that only the sick need a physician when he was caught dining with publicans and sinners.

The church will be more accepting but it is nothing more than a compromise. I don't see it as a reform. It is just doing what it does best; it is morphing with the times.

I will most likely be long dead and gone before gay marriages, or abortions and divorces are considered acceptable by the Catholic church.

Dromedary Hump said...


Indeed, this is about preservation of a church that is seeing itself become irrelevant and shrinking. I'm no Polyanna.

But at some time, a few thousand years or so ago, perhaps some hypothetical Jewish guy said.."Hey, ya know what, we need to stop obsessing about killing our children just because they are rude to us." And guess what. The Jews havn't killed their own obstinate and rude children in a long time.

Oh yes...the Torah still has that as one of its 613 laws...but it is considered obsolete and is given a new face and meaning by midrash. That ancient Jewish leader may have set the ball for change trolling, but I still reject Judaism and its orthodox absurdities and inequities.

At some point someone in the church is going to throw out a concept, and if it sticks in a hundred years, 5 generations and changes the dogma, then it's a start... a step forward. This pope may in fact be that someone. I see no point in ignoring that possibility, while remaining skeptical...just like you.

Bernard said...

I just came across this quote, and thought you might appreciate it:

I sometimes think that God in creating man somewhat overestimated his ability. ~ Oscar Wilde

Steve Barker said...

----- Original Message -----
From: apostate630
To: Atheist Camel
Sent: Saturday, September 21, 2013 8:31 PM
Subject: Re: The Atheist Camel

I trust Bergoglio less far than I can throw him.

And he seems to have backtracked from his interview comments.

But I am reminded of this.

An early 70s imagining of what the future of the Church could have been. Starring a Martin Sheen who hadn't started yet to shave, and Trevor Howard at his most magisterial.

The cosmic joke is in this wise. A whippersnapper of a priest is sent by a radically reformed Pope and church to get an "old believer" Irish monastery to get with the program.

The Abbot at length confesses to the young priest that he lost his own faith long ago. The final scene is the monks saying their last Latin Mass, and the Abbot can not bring himself to say the words of the Mass.

The Church is not going to collapse like a house of cards as Bergoglio fears. It will simply fade into utter irrelevance. As Ratzinger foresaw.

Whatever happens to the Church, good riddance to bad rubbish. I do not fucking care.

WhyNot said...

Interesting. Well, all in all, the catholic church certainly has improved immensely over the last 2,000 years.

Unlike the numerous born-again American religious which are more racist, fascist, anti-freedom, anti-humankind than the worst examples of religion anywhere in the world and any time during the last 2 millenia.

Den!s said...

Personally, I refer to my comment on your FB account that it's only a matter of time until this troublemaker is off'd by his underlings who fear for their own jobs. I suggested that we start a pool to predict when he will be off'd. It would be good fun, and if he is off'd, it won't matter cuz they'll just pop another one out like wack-a-mole.

Dromedary Hump said...

LOL@ "Wack-a-mole."
I dunno.Ithink the days of slipping the pope a mickey are gone. They can't afford the drama .
More likely he'll succumb to the pressure of the conservative wing of the Church.He's already back tracking on anumber of issues.