Wednesday, March 13, 2013

The New Pope

Is Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio, the former archbishop of Buenos Aires, who takes the name Pope Francis.  He is the first non-European Pope (of the modern era) and the first Jesuit Pope.

He is not, however, the first female Pope or the first non-white Pope.  Neither his he anything much but very conservative:

Here's more about Pope Francis, the former Cardinal Bergoglio of Argentina: He is 76, and is considered a straight-shooter who calls things as he sees them, and a follower of the church's most conservative wing. He is a former archbishop of Buenos Aires.
He has clashed with the government of President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner over his opposition to gay marriage and free distribution of contraceptives.
On the other hand, he is believed to care more about the poor than your average run-of-the-mill Pope:

Back in 2005, Bergoglio drew high marks as an accomplished intellectual, having studied theology in Germany. His leading role during the Argentine economic crisis burnished his reputation as a voice of conscience, and made him a potent symbol of the costs globalization can impose on the world's poor.
Bergoglio's reputation for personal simplicity also exercised an undeniable appeal – a Prince of the Church who chose to live in a simple apartment rather than the archbishop's palace, who gave up his chauffeured limousine in favor of taking the bus to work, and who cooked his own meals.
Bergoglio has supported the social justice ethos of Latin American Catholicism, including a robust defense of the poor.
"We live in the most unequal part of the world, which has grown the most yet reduced misery the least," Bergoglio said during a gathering of Latin American bishops in 2007. "The unjust distribution of goods persists, creating a situation of social sin that cries out to Heaven and limits the possibilities of a fuller life for so many of our brothers."
At the same time, he has generally tended to accent growth in personal holiness over efforts for structural reform.
Bergoglio is seen an unwaveringly orthodox on matters of sexual morality, staunchly opposing abortion, same-sex marriage, and contraception. In 2010 he asserted that gay adoption is a form of discrimination against children, earning a public rebuke from Argentina's President, Cristina Fern√°ndez de Kirchner.
Nevertheless, he has shown deep compassion for the victims of HIV-AIDS; in 2001, he visited a hospice to kiss and wash the feet of 12 AIDS patients.

Bolds are mine.
On the third hand, kissing and washing feet doesn't cure AIDS and neither does expressing concern for the poor help the poor, in itself.

We shall see what we shall see, as wiser people say.

I watched some of the BBC coverage of the people waiting for the new Pope to come to the balcony.  Very nice marching by several groups of men dressed in medieval clothing, very nice music by several groups of men, too.  Then a group of men came to the balcony to open the doors and pull the curtains aside so that three men could come to the balcony, one of whom told us the new Pope's new name.  Then more men and the Pope who is a man.

None of it is very interesting or even worth pointing out, except that this large church is a church of men when it comes to its hierarchy, and it is celibate men who decide that there should be no contraception.  But probably the majority of the believers are women who do much of the grunt work for the church, in the hope of eternal life, I guess.

Even that is none of my business, being a pagan goddess, except that the tentacles of the Catholic Church (as do the tentacles of Islam and other large religions) directly and indirectly reach into  my life and the lives of all women on this earth.

In the United States the Catholic Church has a strong influence on government policies concerning women's bodies, and not being a Catholic doesn't release one from that influence.  In other countries religions that one might not belong to can influence how one must dress or whether one can go out alone (at least in the sense that the religion justifies treating a woman alone as somehow sinful and therefore a fair target) or have a job and so on.

All of it makes watching the pomp and circumstance of the papal elections a weird experience.  In one sense it is nothing to do with me.  In another, deeper sense, it is very much to do with me and people like me.