So, it seems that everyone in America except trickle-down Republicans are enamored with, and mesmerized by, Pope Francis since he suggested there is something wrong with the rich gathering and hoarding all the world’s wealth; even though the Vatican continues gathering and hoarding inordinate wealth. Many liberals were also quick to embrace the new-and-improved Pontiff because he promoted himself as a progressive Catholic leader who was less-than-critical of human beings who love someone of the same gender. Of course, talk is cheap, and if anything this Pope likes cheap talk that gives the appearance that he is unlike previous popes and some kind of new-age Church leader even though the Church has not changed any position over the past several centuries. What the so-called more “Christ-like” Pope has not done is rescind any of the Church’s archaic moral policies his predecessors kept in place and apparently Francis has no intention of changing them anytime soon; regardless of his Fox-created “friendlier pope” public relations image.
The latest blow to the progressive Pope’s image came after he rejected France’s envoy to the Vatican because he is openly gay; something American media failed to report. French President Francois Hollande nominated his chief of protocol and most senior diplomat, Laurent Stefanini, as envoy to the Vatican in early January. A French presidential aide said Hollande’s choice of the 54-year old Stefanini was the result of a “wish by the president and cabinet” because Stefanini is highly regarded as “one of France’s best diplomats.” The Earthly representative of the loving, tolerant Jesus Christ and Pope regards him as just another gay and refuses to accept his credentials; a move Vatican insiders report was “a decision taken by the Pope himself” because of Stefanini’s homosexuality.
Normally, if a nominated envoy is a heterosexual, a new ambassador’s credentials are accepted with a month at the longest. In fact, the Vatican does not usually explicitly refuse any nation’s envoy according to insiders who claim the prolonged silence should be interpreted as what it is; a Papal rejection because the diplomat is openly gay. So much for the tolerant, accepting, and progressive Pope Americans have embraced because he talks a good game but still walks like every other intolerant Pope or religious Republican bigot. At least evangelical Republicans are not hypocrites and pretend they are not sitting in judgment of gays. Remember, just two years ago this new Christ-like Pope said that “If a person is gay and seeks God and has good will, who am I to judge?”
Francis is head of the Catholic Church and he could choose not to judge according to Jesus Christ’s teaching, but he is judging according to principles he refuses to change; intolerant Catholic dogma. As head of the Catholic Church, he could impose change and a good start would be welcoming an openly gay envoy to the Vatican, but intolerance is such an entrenched part of Vatican dogmata that he did what came naturally; judged that a gay envoy is not welcomed in or around his Holiness’s Vatican.
The Pope’s rejection of a gay envoy is also contrary to his statement that “gay people should not be marginalized but integrated into society;” just not as an envoy in Vatican society or any society for that matter. In that regard, the new Pope has been very consistently hypocritical saying one thing while maintaining the Vatican’s intolerant policy his bigoted predecessors promoted; at least they were not hypocrites. For a representative of Jesus Christ on Earth, and one who claims gay people should not be judged, not be marginalized, and integrated into society, the progressive Pope has been very critical of gays enjoying equal rights afforded other human beings in free societies.
The Pope has condemned same-sex marriage without cessation, and is vehemently opposed to adoption rights for gay couples; both positions that mirror those held by bigoted evangelical Republicans in America that President Obama claimed were “less than loving” Christians. The main difference between openly intolerant religious Republicans and the new-and-improved Pope is that a Fox-created public relations campaign has succeeded in fooling virtually all Americans that Francis is any different than his predecessors or evangelical Republicans. The public relations crusade has even fooled President Barack Obama who looks forward to welcoming a “loving Christian” to Washington later in the year. It is something the former Fox News correspondent hired by the United States Council of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) likely celebrated since his finely-crafted PR campaign to change the Pope’s image has fooled most Americans; including conservative mainstream media too lazy to look at international news feeds.
That is the problem with changing an intolerant religious person’s image; the underlying dogma driving the bigotry is always roiling beneath the surface and rises to the top when it matters most. In the Pope’s case it a mattered most when he rejected a highly-respected French diplomat because he is gay; an action that contradicts the Pope’s counsel to his acolytes that they should not marginalize gays and help integrate them into society. It is something that the Pope proved is beyond his ability because when it came time to accept a person who is gay and has good will as a diplomatic envoy, he judged him unworthy.
Regardless the Christ-like speech about being tolerant and not judging, Francis is no different than every Republican evangelical and Catholic Pope before him. He just has the USCCB to thank for a much better, and likely costlier, public relations image. An image that will likely stay intact because America’s main-stream media will not report this latest stain on the Pope’s pristine progressive image; something this column has no reservations exposing.
Audio engineer and instructor for SAE. Writes op/ed commentary supporting Secular Humanist causes, and exposing suppression of women, the poor, and minorities. An advocate for freedom of religion and particularly, freedom of NO religion.
Born in the South, raised in the Mid-West and California for a well-rounded view of America; it doesn’t look good.
Former minister, lifelong musician, Mahayana Zen-Buddhist.