A harshly medieval point of view

Amanda Marcotte has bad news for the fans of the pope: he’s not as cuddly as some have been claiming.

I get the enthusiasm for “cool” Pope Francis, I really do. The idea that there could be a pope who is not clinging to a harshly medieval point of view but ready to move into the modern world is so appealing that of course we’re going to grasp onto any evidence, no matter how tenuous, that suggests that Pope Francis might be the one.

Meh. One – it’s just not possible, so attempting to grasp at evidence is pointless. The Catholic church is the Catholic church, not something else; it’s not possible to rise to the top positions by not clinging to a harshly medieval point of view. The harshly medieval point of view is what the church is for. Two, even if the pope were the nicest guy ever, the church would still be the church, and the church is a terrible institution.

No, it’s all bad. Forget the reformist nonsense.

This weekend, Anthony Faiola reported in the Washington Post about Francis throwing his support behind exorcists, saying they are “helping people who suffer and are in need of liberation.” According to Faiola, some in the church are concerned that Francis “has not only dwelled far more on Satan in sermons and speeches than his recent predecessors have, but also sought to rekindle the Devil’s image as a supernatural entity with the forces­ of evil at his beck and call.”

And what does that get you? That gets you thinking that some people are in league with the devil. It’s dangerous stuff.

That’s not all. Despite the fact that Pope Francis received many accoladesfor taking a position against traditional authoritarianism and for criticizing the church for obsessing over birth control and homosexuality at the expense of more important issues, such as economic justice, Francis is now pushing back on the nuns who do just that. I’m talking about the Leadership Conference of Women Religious, a group that represents 80 percent of American nuns and is focused on social justice. In the past, the Vatican has gone after LCWR for focusing on economic inequality rather than bashing contraception and homosexuality. Despite what appears to be common ground between the nuns and the pope, it seems that Francis is not changing that tune.

Of course he’s not. He’s the pope.

Barbie Latza Nadeau of the Daily Beast reports that under Pope Francis, the Vatican shows no sign of laying off the crackdown on American nuns who Pope Benedict claimed were “pushing radical feminist themes incompatible with the Catholic faith.”

Such as?

[T]he LCWR is not advocating for gay marriage or birth control. They simply don’t discuss issues of contraception and homosexuality, preferring instead to focus on issues like climate change, immigration, and assisting refugees in need of aid. Despite doing what Pope Francis supposedly wants his flock to do, however, the nuns continue to be punished and castigated by the Vatican, suggesting that the new pope is the same as the old.

So not discussing contraception and homosexuality equals radical feminism. Huh.

This is the Catholic church, people. It is what it is and not something different and better.




  1. Al Dente says

    Frank is better at PR than Benny was. Otherwise it’s like The Who explained:

    Meet the new boss, same as the old boss.

  2. Blanche Quizno says

    I’ve never been impressed with Francis’ “Good Pope” persona juxtaposed against Benedict’s “Bad Pope” persona.

    They’re both bad. They’re ALL bad! Francis had a *terrible* record on the subject of pedophile priests in his home country, for example. And thus far, he still hasn’t done anything. How difficult should it be to say, “Any priest who molests a child will be turned over to the police IMMEDIATELY for IMMEDIATE criminal prosecution”??

    Of course we aren’t going to see any such thing, because the Catholic Church doesn’t really think priests molesting children is a Bad Thing. Not really. Certainly no worse than tippling the communion wine *wink* *wink* *nudge* *nudge* *snicker*


    Here’s the thing about nuns. 90% are age 60 or older. Only 1% of nuns are under age 40. Given these desperate figures, should Francis *REALLY* be hassling these poor dears who will soon die out and no one to replace them? Does he REALLY think that, by hassling them over the “good works” they do, that’s going to make MORE young women want to sign on?? The Millennial Generation seems quite taken with the idea of doing good things for other people and for the world; this could be an important selling point!

    But no.

    Because Pope is Pope. Pope smash. Same old same old. There is truly nothing new under the sun (Ecclesiastes 1:9).

  3. iknklast says

    He’s Pope John Paul II all over again. A “nice guy” with a good image who doesn’t sound all mad all the time. But nothing changes.

  4. screechymonkey says

    I’ve never been impressed with Francis’ “Good Pope” persona juxtaposed against Benedict’s “Bad Pope” persona.

    [sighs, looks longingly at sitcom script titled “My Two Popes,” puts in back in the drawer]
    Some day the world will be ready.

  5. lpetrich says

    A decade ago, I researched the issue of US nuns becoming “none”, as I like to put it. From some news stories, I worked out a demographic model, a count of how many nuns are in what range of ages. I used it to predict how many nuns there would be in coming years. My prediction was rather close for recent years, meaning that there aren’t nearly enough new nuns coming in to replace those who die off.

    That is evident in Catholic schools, which used to have lots of nuns as teachers, but which nowadays have lots of lay people and even lots of non-Catholics. Not enough nuns nowadays.

  6. Jenny says

    i never believed the loveydubby version of this man at any point, after all if some of the families of the disappeared are to be believed he was 1 of the clergy who collaborated with the regime and knowingly handed people over to the government to be killed, claims admittedly that were investigated by the current argentine government but concluded they didnt have enough evidence to prove beyond reasonable doubt his involvement (something about alot of files being mysteriously lost from the church)

  7. sawells says

    Now I’m visualising a two-Pope confessional sketch.

    Supplicant: I’m saying nothing, I don’t know anything about any sins.

    Bad Pope: You’re going to Hell! Confess or not, I don’t care, you’re spending eternity in the holy hoosegow with a thousand screaming demons!

    Good Pope: Okay, okay, calm down. Look, I’d like to help you. You just tell us what you know, a little bit of impure thoughts maybe, something about envy, maybe some wrath, and I can probably get you off with a dozen Hail Marys and a little contribution to the collection box…

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *