Religion, Faith and Sprituality

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Pope Francis, Man of the Year? Not Yet

Within the past week or two we have seen the pope make the covers of TimeThe New Yorker and The AdvocateTime and The Advocate have designated Pope Francis as their publications' "person of the year." As a progressive Roman Catholic who is active in ministry, I find it pleasant to have a pope who does not come off as the kind of spiritual batterer Benedict XVI was. It's nice not having to constantly defend my choice to be a practicing Catholic. Atheist progressive friends who have never quite understood my peculiar willingness to worship in what one or two have called "a hate group" now make laudatory remarks about Pope Francis. My fellow Roman Catholic LGBT ministry members are delighted with our new pontiff. I imagine I might speak for many when I say that being a Roman Catholic is a tad easier now that our public relations has been so well-improved by Francis I. But man of the year? As Saint Augustine might say, "not yet."
Pope Francis may well be what he seems but it can not be denied that this pope is made-to-order. It is only by cutting through the "spin" that we can know how genuine Francis and the change with which he being credited actually are. A look at what was wrong with Ratzinger from a public relations standpoint reveals much. As a Catholic who has been watching the exodus of Roman Catholics from the church for years while chronicling developments in the church, I find taking this new pontifical upgrade at face value difficult. And facile!
Progressive Roman Catholics did not much like Joseph Ratzinger, but then again, neither did the traditionalist Roman Catholic fringe. Progressives objected to Ratzinger's anti-gay, anti-woman disposition, while ultra-conservative Catholics held against Ratzinger both his prominent role in Vatican II and his (later) failure to go far enough once he did become more conservative. Ratzinger resigned from a church that was lousy with financial and sexual scandals (I am one of those who believe we have yet to see the full impact of the Vatican sexual abuse scandal/crisis in the developing world.) and possibly on the verge of an all-out schism. The situation called for a man like Francis who could keep Catholics in the pews without amending teaching, a pontiff who could avert a schism and arrest the exodus of Catholics leaving the church in disgust. It's no accident that an Italian-Latino replaced the German; a warmer-blooded pope was called for, a pope with a glint in his eye, a pontiff more charming and less conspicuously royal than Josef Ratzinger. The church hierarchs knew that if they wanted LGBT Catholics and women sickened by the Magisterium's misogyny to remain in the church, they would have to elevate a cardinal capable of stepping away from dogma and doctrine both--but without challenging either outright. Pope Francis has been expert in finessing this.
In a December 2, 2013 piece that appeared (in translation) in National Catholic Reporter, Roman Catholic priest Hans Kung, a renowned theologian and former friend of Josef Ratzinger, included this observation in his discussion of Francis's pontificate: 
And worried observers are already asking whether Pope Emeritus Ratzinger is in fact operating as a kind of "shadow Pope" behind the scenes through Müller and Georg Gänswein, [Benedict's] secretary and Prefect of the Papal Household, whom he also promoted to archbishop.

Kung reminded of us the possibility that Joseph Ratzinger who continues to reside in the Vatican, may still, to some extent. run things. This is not a preposterous notion. Ratzinger's was one of the strong voices of the Second Vatican Council. He has been in the College of Cardinals since 1977 and is one of the world's most accomplished Roman Catholic theologians. The Emeritus Pope, who has wielded immense influence in the Vatican for half-a-century, could still be calling a few of its shots. 

While it is true Ratzinger wore more bling and fancier shoes than does the current Holy Father, Ratzinger steadfastly characterized greed and warfare as sinful. Under Ratzinger, cardinals in dioceses that desired it were invited to minister to LGBT Catholics in their parishes. Under John Paul II and Ratzinger, at the parish level, movement in the direction of allowing divorced and remarried Catholics to receive the sacraments was made. Under John Paul II and Ratzinger, we saw more and more women in pastoral ministry and working on altars, and the College of Cardinals was discussing an exemption to the prohibition of artificial contraception to arrest the spread of HIV/AIDS. Ratzinger made many horrendous remarks about "homosexuality" but when he did so he cited the very same doctrine (Roman Catholic Catechism) Pope Francis has yet to challenge, revise or update explicitly. (Francis has aimed to reframe some teaching in an implicit way.) Ratzinger did classify being homosexual as a "disorder," but--not nearly so often or strenuously as he ought to have--he also condemned homophobic abuse.

My aim here is not to suggest that Benedict XVI was a fine pope and that Francis I is not, but to notice, as a member of the church, that if any part of the elevation of Jorge Bergoglio were part of a Machiavellian strategy to improve Vatican public relations, it certainly is working.
What has really changed under Pope Francis beyond tone? Not much. Has Pope Francis formally challenged the Roman Catholic Catechism's characterization of homosexuality as "disordered"? He could. He has not.
Perhaps nothing so much suggests a disinclination to make real change in teaching as the pope's remarks on the matter of the ordaining women? On the well-publicized July 2013 interview on the airplane, Francis said the following about the possibility of conventionally ordained Roman Catholic women priests: 
The church says no. That door is closed.

Pope Francis extolls the importance of dialogue ("words which set hearts on fire") throughout In his recent (November 2013) encyclical Evangelii Gaudium<, yet reinforces his hierarchy's misogynistic ordination policy thus: 

...The reservation of the priesthood to males, as a sign of Christ the Spouse who gives himself in the Eucharist, is not a question open to discussion...

The implication therein is that Catholics should discuss everything but ordaining women. I find this disgraceful.

Evangelii Gaudium is warm and lyrical. The author of Evangelii Gaudium firmly declares his disdain for greed, his ardent regard for the poor and the document boasts a conspicuous absence of homophobic rhetoric; all of that is good. Its focus, however, is evangelization--in 'Catholicspeak,' "evangelization" means "growth." Ratzinger was often accused of wanting a smaller, purer church. His successor appears to love his messier church, a church he describes (in Evangelii Gaudium) as 
bruised, hurting and dirty because it has been out on the streets, rather than a church which is unhealthy from being confined...

By elevating Jorge Bergoglio to the throne of Peter, the cardinals may have prevented an all out schism. The novel pope-love at hand, the likes of which the church has not seen since John XXIII, foreclosed on a schism and now seems substantive and powerful enough to keep the pews and Vatican coffers full. Who but an ultra-charismatic leader determined to preach on the divine character of humility could have pulled this off?

What kind of pope might have any chance at all of keeping the next generation of women in the pews without changing misogynist anti-woman's ordination doctrine? One who has won the hearts of Catholics and non-Catholics alike. The big losers in this are Catholic women and their daughters. 

I like the pope too, and I remain hopeful about his ability to steer the worlds' Catholics toward greater peace and increased justice. I understand that Rome was not built in a day and that the Roman Catholicism Church will not be healed in a day, but the truth is that while the tone of Pope Francis's message regarding LGBT Roman Catholics and women is gentler, the message has not essentially changed. The bigotry remains. Strip away the tone shift and the message under Francis, as conservative Catholic observers have been saying, is the same message that Ratzinger, Timothy Dolan et al have been promulgating all along. The bigotry persists.
The Magisterium continues to prohibit divorced and remarried Catholics and all Catholics who are sexually active (regardless of their sexual orientation) from receiving the Eucharist; that has not changed. Pope Francis has made clear his disinterest in even discussing the ordination of women; that has not changed. Dogma and doctrine on contraception has not changed, and while Francis has been bold on the avarice front, he has been relatively reticent in his response to those who have been sexually abused, as children, by Catholic priests. The looking the other way on this count has not changed enough.
Given the incredible damage done by the Vatican sex scandal and banking scandals; the continued support the Vatican offers to organizations that use collection dollars to make the world a bit less safe for women, LGBT people, and those who have been victimized by priests; given the sitting pope's disinterest in challenging his hierarchy's flimsy, self-serving and fallacious arguments against ordination of women; I believe it is way too early to take Pope Francis as an unadulterated, full-on breath of fresh air.
I will pray for Pope Francis, but this Catholic woman is not drinking from the papal Kool-Aid chalice. Not yet.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Grant Me Pope Francis Kool-Aid But Not Yet: Is The New Pope For Real?

Like many Catholics I am encouraged by Pope Francis's language on the matter of sin, war, greed, and the poor, especially encouraged by the the pontiff's willingness to admit that conservative Catholics fetishize (my word, not his) the issues of abortion and same-sex marriage to the possible exclusion of other Christian concerns. I am grateful to see the pope promote the idea that a person who does not believe in God can have a conscience. I am grateful for Pope Francis's choice to extend a modicum of warmth to my LGBT members of our Church.
Grant me the Francis Alleluia Kool-Aid, but not yet.
Vatican doctrine still holds that same-sex and marriage and love are sinful. The pontiff has yet to fling "open the door" (to employ the terminology Ratzinger et al used) to the discussion of Women's Ordination. The pontiff's 'atheists should follow their consciences' message still had a subtle, persisting undertones of a "hate the sin, love the sinner" condescension--the idea that atheists have consciences is not exactly a metaphysical news flash. (Atheists, we should not forget, do good for good's sake, not for the divine report card kept by our triune God. If that is not conscience, I don't know what is.)
There's still the pope's money-hiding, pedophile-abetting cardinal in New York (Timothy Dolan) offering this interpretation of his fellow prelate's message in an interview with The Wall Street Journal
"Like Jesus, he's saying, hate the sin, love the sinner," Cardinal Dolan said, referring to Pope Francis's recent comments.
Being gay is not a sin. Loving one's same-sex partner is not a sin.
Yesterday, the LGBT ministry in the Catholic parish in which I am active, inspired by the pope's recent admission that being gay is okay had a plan to 'represent'--after masses, via that time-tested church tradition of serving coffee and cake. I am active in the LGBT ministry in my parish--I helped to start it--but I decided not to take part in this, because this week, something about the reaction to the pope's ( I fear too) well-received message leaves me the slightest bit uncomfortable.
Yes, there is a new breath of fresh air emanating from Peter's seat yet still, when I attend mass in my parish church, there's a man celebrating mass and and a half dozen-women Rome deems undeserving of priesthood scurrying about the church, on the altar and otherwise, making the the sacrifice of the mass come off without a hitch. This I find sinful. There's still the matter of a Nobel Prize-nominated Maryknoll Viet Nam veteran peace activist, Roy Bourgeois, whom the new pope ought to think about re-frocking. He lost his frock as a punishment for taking part in the ordinations of women.
Not one of the many Roman Catholic priests with whom I speak regularly really believes, as the hierarchal gynophobes argue, that "the Church lacks the authority to ordain women." Not one believes this dogma should be immutable. Not one finds this cherry-picked law, which gets used as a cudgel to keep women in their proper place, sound from a theological standpoint.
The law prohibiting the ordination of women is rooted in fear of the power of women and in economics--not Christ's teaching.
The Vatican will ordain women. The Canon Code may change to allow it. The Women's Ordination may grow so fast that women priests become a kind of unofficial norm or (most likely) a crisis in the Church will make it economically necessary to rethink the idea that a priest must have male sex parts.
The world's Catholic heart went aflutter recently--and I was with us, in this, to a limited extent--when the possibility that Rome might consider ordaining married (male) priests found its way into the news. Many people do not know that there currently are married Roman Catholic priests. Ratzinger cut a deal with ultra conservative Anglicans who wanted to bolt from their church to a more orthodox church that would promise to be less hospitable to feminists, LGBT people and progressives. A small number of Anglican converts were ordained into the Roman Catholic Apostolic Succession without having to give up their wives.
We can expect the discussion of married priests to get louder now. Now that Francis has established himself as the love pope, there will be more talk about the sanctity of love between spouses, and with an eye on addressing the shortage of priests, the hierarchs, under Francis, will begin to adopt a more open view of non-celibate priests.
I want my priests to have love lives, however, I am reluctant to join the campaign for married priests because I think there's something disingenuous in it. In many parts of the world heterosexual priests have wives and children on the down low, and Rome knows that. In the United States--and elsewhere, it is safe to assume--a significant percentage of priests are gay and probably most are, at some point in the course of their priesthood, sexually active.
There's a priest shortage. It should therefore come as no surprise that the Vatican Public Relations team responsible for this new, kinder, gentler, more Holy See would now send out the married priests test balloon.
I have been discussing the ordination of women with Roman Catholic priests for years. Not one I have ever spoken with believes that the ordination of women is notinevitable. It's not a matter of whether, they tell me, but when. The idea of women priests is the great fear of any prelate worrying about the Vatican coffers, however, because epically spawning women build the church. I believe the scrambling to offer quasi-acceptance to LGBT Catholics, the fresh re-emergence of discussion of the possibility of ordaining (non-Anglican baptized) married men the new shine this pontificate currently aims to put on the the well-worn argument that women have a special place in the church just as Mary, the mother of God, born without sin, had a special place in the life of Jesus.
The all-male priesthood is a vestige of the Judaism of antiquity which (God bless them for it.) even Orthodox Jews have managed to challenge and shake. Economic necessity caused men to write exclusion of women into Canon Law and economic necessity will reverse this exclusion. Eventuially.
When it becomes economically necessary, the Magisterium will arrive at a new interpretation of the Canon Code that makes way for the ordination of women. Until then the Vatican will try anything else--Anglican clerics, married or not; thanks to an unofficial "Don't Ask Don't Tell," policy--gay priests; and offering women to do the bulk of work at parish levels save that which priests alone are authorized to do.
I think Ratzinger's early departure was a well thought-out strategy for preventing an all-out schism and arresting the mass exodus of disaffected Catholics. What better man to stop the bleed than a anti-Ratzinger, a lovable, humble, warm-blooded guy who's all about peace and love?
It's not a push to imagine that Pope Francis, who has already given the Vatican a brighter smile, might (even unknowingly) be a pawn in a less than divinely inspired campaign to keep Catholics from the leaving the Church and recall lapsed Catholics back into the tithing fold. It's not a reach to imagine that a College of Cardinals made jittery by Ratzinger's arrogance and relative indifference to the suffering of victims of the Vatican Sex Crisis might have carefully s/elected the prelate most likely to serve as living breathing damage control, a real Habemus Papam pope.
I hope the man Timothy Dolan described, yesterday, as "hardly a shrinking violet" will yet exhibit and reflect the audacity of the Jesus who broke with the orthodoxy and took women as discliples. Let Pope Francis open the door to discussion of the ordination of women, so that we women can come to know whether he is the real thing.

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Thursday, March 14, 2013

Meet the New Pope. Same as the Old Pope?

I've been hearing this refrain all week: "Who cares who the next pope is?" I figure that those who don't care  who the next pope is probably don't care much about world politics either.  I'm writer who has written about 60,00 words on Roman Catholicism in the past three years--and that does not include the many poems I have written on the subject throughout the years, and I happen to be, Catholic, but my interest in who became pope yesterday is largely political.
When my 14-year old, who is not Catholic, asked me whether I "liked the new guy," yesterday, I told her I didn't l know yet, but that it was unlikely that any guy I liked would ever get that job.
But people change, and like Supreme Court justices, popes are in office for life (unless they exit prematurely for political--ahem--health reasons). A man in Francis I's position has great power to bring about change.
Look how the last pope changed over the course of time. In 1968, Joseph Ratzinger strongly supported the changes brought about by the Second Vatican Council. He emphasized the need for Catholics to embrace primacy of conscience. 
Over the pope as the expression of the binding claim of ecclesiastical authority there still stands one's own conscience, which must be obeyed before all else, if necessary even against the requirement of ecclesiastical authority. Conscience confronts [the individual] with a supreme and ultimate tribunal, and one which in the last resort is beyond the claim of external social groups, even of the official church.

("Commentary on the Documents of Vatican II", ed. Vorgrimler, 1968, on Gaudium et spes, part 1, chapter 1.) Yet we saw how quickly that fell by the wayside when Ratzinger excommunicated of and defrocked Nobel Peace Prize-nominated, Viet Nam Purple Heart Maryknoll priest Roy Bourgeois for following his conscience in the context of the ordination of women. By the end of Ratzinger's stint, the pope emeritus appeared to think conscience a close second to obedience--to himself.

Much is now being made of the new pope's humility. I am always wary of talk of humility when it comes from a man on a throne. Humility. Teresa of Calcutta, promoted as a paragon of Roman Catholic humility, has been in the news lately. I'm one of those who does not see her as a such a paragon. I believe one can admire her personal courage and her desire to minister to the suffering while recognizing that Teresa of Calcutta allowed herself to be manipulated by a hierarchy that needed a woman to thrust to the forefront during a time when women were leaving the church and taking their (children) future tithers with them.
Indeed the gift of life is precious, but it is the antithesis of "saintly" to exhort women who can not feed them to give birth to children. It is neither saintly no by any stretch motherly to promote the eschewing of condom use amid an AIDS epicdemic. Nor is offering an agonizing patient a prayer in lieu of morphine (I would argue that a combination of both is optimal.) saintly. I think Christopher Hitchens' book aboutMother Teresa was, for the most part well-researched; I found its arguments credible and consistent with what I have heard from nuns and priests through the years. Yet because she was trotted out by Pope John Paul II and his consigliere Joseph Ratzinger as a female totem of humility, propped up front and center as a means of reminding Roman Catholics--women especially--that the apex of female godliness is to be humble in the extreme (which is, of course, often not very humble at all--but a martyr's narcissism) Mother Teresa became an unofficial saint--not just to Catholics, but to the world. John Paul II canonized her in 2003, which is the first step toward making her sainthood official.
Jesus was humble in the extreme. Being humble in the extreme is a charism--but not when it promulgates sexism and misogyny. Nor when it perches on a throne.
So far, we have reason to infer that Pope Francis I has aligned himself with his two predecessors on the matter of homosexuality.
Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio not only called the new law "a scheme to destroy God's plan"; he termed it "a real and dire anthropological throwback," as if homosexuality were evolutionarily inferior to heterosexuality.

Although we do not yet have his explicit statements and papal documents to go by, it is probably reasonable to extrapolate. It's not hard to guess where Pope Francis I will stand on the proper role of women in the church.

The world can be pleased with the idea of a Latino pope, but the world should also note that Penecostal Protestant churches have enjoyed immense success ion recent years, at wrenching Latinos throughout North, South and Central America from the grip of the Roman Catholic Church. Those who cast votes for the new pope knew a Latino pope has a better chance than a non-Latino pope of arresting Protestant evangelization in Latin America.
People living in the Americas can be pleased with the idea of a Latino pope but the world should care what kind of Latino pope we now have.
Bergoglio was ordained in 1971 in Argentina, the same year Peruvian priest and author of A Theology of Liberation coined the term "Liberation Theology," just under a decade before Oscar Romero, Roman Catholic Archbishop of El Salvador was assassinated by Salvadoran Death Squads (who trained in the United States) while celebrating mass in a hospital. School of the Americas graduate Roberto D'Aubuisson gave the order.
School of the Americas alum Argentine General Jorge Rafael Videlas (another SOA alum), with whom Argentine journalist and author Horacio Verbitsky claims (in his 2005 El Silencio) the new pope collaborated, is currently serving " target="_hplink">a life sentence for his many crimes against humanity.
John Paul II and Benedict XVI took bold steps, four years after Romero's assassination, to ensure that Roman Catholics knew that the Magisterium viewed "Liberation Theology" as essentially Marxist, and therefore incompatible with to genuine Roman Catholic doctrine, but they were wise enough to hedge, in this, by urging Catholics to embrace Archbishop Romero as a Catholic martyr.
One can not look at the choice to elevate Jorge Mario Bergolglio without examining the Roman Catholic Church in Latin America which has, in the course of the new pope's time as a priest, been extremely polarized. It's interesting that people in the pews often see the Jesuit tradition itself as similarly (on a right wing-left wing spectrum) polarized.
Jorge Mario Bergoglio he has never publicly departed from the Magisterium's teaching on any issue, and his thinking appears, so far, to be in line with that of a pope whose most famous defrocking was that of the aforementioned Father Bourgeois. Bourgeois founded SOAWatch, an organization dedicated to closing down WHINSEC (Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation), formerly known as "School of the Americas" as a response to the brutal rapes and murders of four female friends/fellow activists--Maura Clarke, Jean Donovan, Ita Ford and Dorothy Kazel--who were killed by the SOA-trained Salvadoran death squads, while working in Christ's name. Their deaths occurred nine months after Archbishop Romero's under the same leadership.
I happen to be reading The Phenomenon of Man, written by Jesuit priest, theologian and paleontologist a Pierre Teilhard de Chardin who was born in 1855. In The Phenomenon of Man, Teilhard de Chardin reconciles his metaphysical Catholic faith with scientist's knowledge of the "physical" world. The Jesuit order forbade Teilhard de Chardin from make his writing public. And thank God he did, for the book, as the great thinker, theologian and rabbi Abraham Heschel described it,is indeed "a most extraordinary book, of far-reaching significance for the understanding of man's place in the universe."
Teilhard de Chardin obeyed, but ensured that his work would be published posthumously. Teilhard's evolutionary vision has humankind evolving toward a convergence, in time, space and essence, with the divine. The Phenomenon of Man is a difficult, poetic and important work, for it not only offers a religious man's take on evolution, but it also addresses the crisis (I'd call it) which can be expected to ensue when the growth of technology exceeds (outruns?) the evolution of the human spirit. It's hard to imagine that an order so intellectually rigorous as the Jesuits would stand in the way of such a thinker, but Jesuit training emphasizes obedience to the pope.
About six years ago, I heard renowned peace activist Father Daniel Berrigan (who would have made a fine pope) give a talk about reading The Bible. At the time, Berrigan was working in ministry with people suffering from full-blown AIDS. A gay man sitting in front of me raised his hand during the Question and Answer period. He wanted Father Berrigan's thoughts on the Vatican's refusal to approve the use of condoms to prevent the spread of AIDS. Berrigan anguished, looked around the beautiful church as if inhaling its splendor. He took a long time to answer, and when he did, he equivocated. His truth was in the air, but Berrigan didn't speak it. He obeyed.
Much has been made of how the man who now called Pope Francis I rides the bus, a luxury Jorge Mario Bergoglio will no longer enjoy now that he is the Supreme Pontiff. Noting that this detail was one of the first to go viral yesterday, I could not help but remember the scenes in the film Habemus Papa, in which the new pope elect rides the bus. His wide-eyed odyssey in that film functions as an outward sign of the character's humility and humanity; as one watches the film's protagonist (who doubles, in a sense, as his own antagonist) one gets the idea that the character is too much of a man, or too good a priest, to serve as pope.
Much is currently being made of how the Jesuit called Francis I took the name of the riches-to-rags Francis of Assisi a humble and beloved saint (and poet!). But for a Jesuit, I must imagine, the word "Francis" conjures thought of one of stars of the Jesuits' hagiographical firmament, Francis Xavier, who brought Catholicism to Asia as the Spanish Inquisitions and Reformation were under way. Francis Xavier and Ignatius Loyola, founder and first Superior General of the Society of the Jesuits were contemporaries and comrades in the Counter-Reformation. Loyola, underwent conversion while recovering from a war injury he sustained while fighting in the Spanish army. Pope Francis I has said his choice is inspired by the man from Assisi--to whom first Superior of the Jesuits was also especially devoted, but not for nothing did the Jesuits acquire the name, "the soldiers of Christ." That's a far cry God's bird man. My guess is Francis recalls both, the soldier and the poet.
Historically, the Jesuit order has always stressed education and tolerated--even encouraged--debate on matters of doctrine within its "ranks." I think this still holds true today. It is for this reason that I, who do care who the next pope will turn out to be, like the idea of a Jesuit priest in Peter's chair.
I do not care, however, for the fact that, thus far, Pope Francis I seems poised to reaffirm emeritus Ratzinger's positions on homosexuality and contraception.
I don't care for the alacrity with with Bergoglio leapt when Joseph Ratzinger finally gave the orthodox fringe permission to reinstate celebration of the Tridentine (Latin) Mass, in which the priest faces the altar and the people in the pews pray for the redemption of the Jews. That is not a good sign.
And I don't care for "Communion and Liberation" a group with which Bergoglio has long been associated. Communion and Liberation is the latest creepy conservative religious (lay) cabalto be if not mired in, then at least tainted by scandal.
Most alarming however, is the possibility of Bergoglio's support for mass murdering, infant-stealing general and chief butcher Jorge Rafael Videla Argentine during Argentina's Dirty War. See what the U.K. Guardian's Hugh O'Shaughnessy has to say about that.
I was happy to hear that Bergoglio has a devotion to the poor. Like many bookish Catholics, I have a soft spot for Jesuits. I have great potential to be pleased to see a Latino become pope. I care very much that Cardinal Bergoglio, unlike his brother Cardinal Timothy Dolan, does not have a spot on SNAP's (Survivors Network of Those Abused By Priests ) "Dirty Dozen" list of incardinated offenders. I care that Dolan, failed to make it to the chair of St. Peter.
I very much care that when same-sex marriage passed into law in Argentina in 2010, Jorge Bergoglio characterized the adoption of children by same-sex couples as "discrimination against children." Ironic? Yes, given the possibility he may have had an alliance with Videla.
I care that one of the most powerful men might have gone along with or looked the other way while a general stole newborn babies and killed their mothers.
I am not happy to have a pope who , and I very much care that "the new guy" as my 14 year-old calls him seems positioned to appears, at present, to be inclined to toe the status-quo Magisterium party line.
I care that Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio failed to embrace Liberation Theology when the need for it hit so close to (his) home.
In the context of global politics, the pope is possibly the single most powerful man in the world. That's why I care who the new pope is.
That's why I wait, anxiously, to see which side this Latino Jesuit is on.
The Christ side, or the other side?