What Is Up With The Pope Lately?

If you’ve read anything about the pope recently, you have probably read about him talking about same-sex marriage. He talks about it a lot. And at weird times. The pope is using just about every major speaking opportunity to emphasize his opposition to same-sex marriage. And, while I know that that’s his position, it’s weirding me out.

What’s strange to me is not that the pope’s stance is exclusively for opposite-sex marriage. The Catholic church, which has survived for over 1,500 years, has historically been slow to change its views but it has changed them. It will change them again, over the next century or so, if it intends to survive as an institution (which will be interesting to watch, either way). In 2113, will we see a female pope, married priests, and same-sex marriages performed with the blessing of the Vatican? Possibly. I doubt that it will be that soon. But, since I intend to live forever and the science for it seems almost within reach, it should happen in my lifetime.

So, I get it. Right now, the Catholic Church is opposed to marriage equality, and they do not care for the trend in parts of the US and Europe of same-sex couples receiving rights and privileges just like heterosexual couples.

What I do not understand is why Pope Benedict seems determined to bring it up at every occasion, particularly when there are much more pressing issues (school shootings and other instances of gun violence, anyone?) that he might be addressing. Like, does he know that it makes many people who otherwise like him uncomfortable (there are plenty of anti-choice people who support gay rights). Is he just pulling a Kathy Griffin and bringing up what he’s been advised against mentioning because it’s entertaining to him?

I’m going to go with no. I think that he is trying to double-down on his position. Which I understand—supporting your ideals, even when they’re the worst, makes sense. Practically speaking, it’s not doing Catholicism any favors in the long-run. And while he makes ridiculous comparisons (same-sex marriage “deceives human nature” and other statements), they’re consistent with the Vatican position on the topic.

It’s unfortunate for a lot of reasons, but we can all take comfort in the fact that he’s not just on the wrong side of history on this—he’s on the losing side. Latino voters within the US, the majority of whom are Catholic, voted for Obama and support same-sex marriage. Europe, where Catholicism is even more prevalent, is pushing forward with marriage equality, nation after nation.

Eventually, when the dust settles and marriage equality here to stay in the West (the Middle-East and Africa, in particular, are going to take a while), we can expect to hear about it less from the Vatican. Until then, expect a lot more of the pope’s public addresses to label female reproductive autonomy a “threat to world peace” and marriage equality as a “lie.”



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