Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Pope’s same old scene

To hear the Internet tell it, the current pope just made a radical pro-gay statement. That’s utter nonsense. In fact, he just restated the same old thing popes have been saying for 30 years.

What the current pope said was, "If a person is gay and seeks God and has good will, who am I to judge him?” Yeah, nice, but really, so what? He went on, "The problem is not having this orientation. We must be brothers. The problem is lobbying by this orientation, or lobbies of greedy people, political lobbies, Masonic lobbies, so many lobbies. This is the worst problem."

So, the current pope is saying that gay people should be accepted—as long as they don’t ask to be accepted. Because that’s like being a Mason. Or something.

It’s important to remember that the pope made his supposedly “pro-gay” remarks in the context of the Roman church's catechism, which says that while being gay isn’t sinful, homosexual acts are. This is, to be brutally honest, really stupid. It’s a bit like telling someone they can drive a Ferrari as fast as they want, as long as they want—just as long as they never put it into gear. A bit like popes’ sexuality, supposedly, but even they admit that their church’s required celibacy is impossible for most human beings.

I have no use for the Roman church or any of its popes. I never have, and I doubt I ever will. The institution is misogynist to its core, obscenely wealthy, and has never—ever—taken responsibility for its clergy sexually abusing children. So, under the very best of circumstances, it’s really hard to take that church’s CEO seriously when he talks about “moral” issues.

In this case, the current CEO of Catholicism, Inc. said nothing new, nothing different, nothing in any way unique, despite what some apologists might claim. Still, there could yet be something of substance in what is otherwise mere verbal blancmange: Distance.

The Roman church has been deeply involved with, and major funders of, political activism in the US designed to stop marriage equality. Most of that political activity has been secret or hidden, but it’s well documented, nevertheless. If this pope is signalling that his church is moving away from imposing its religion on everyone else, THAT would be a welcome thing.

In the early days of the anti-gay activism against marriage equality, it was largely the Mormons who carried the can. They found that while they may have advanced their religious dogma, they harmed their image and, in fact, reinforced mainstream views of the Mormon church as radically right wing, anti-modernity and, well, downright weird. The Mormons learned from that and have backed away from anti-gay activism.

Maybe the current pope has learned the lesson that the Mormons learned, namely, that doing the dirty work of far right “Christian” Protestants dirties and sullies the church doing that activism, and leaves the rightwing extremists unsullied. Maybe he’s realised how much the theo-fascists on America’s rightwing were using the catholic church.

That’s the positive side: The current pope realising his church has been used and backing away from rightwing political activism. We’ll see. But if that is the case, it’s the only thing that’s new in what this pope said.

Nothing lasts forever—not even popes or religions. Whatever this pope said or meant, ultimately it will fade away. One day, they will evolve on women’s rights as well as LGBT rights: They’ll adapt or die. Until then, it’s the same old scene.

1 comment:

rogerogreen said...

I just saw the rerun of 60 Minutes re the US nuns who clashed with the LAST pope; I expect the same with this one.