Thoughts On The Next Pope

Pope Benedict XVI resigned. That’s no longer new information to anyone, but considering that the pope is the religious leader of one out of every seven humans on the planet . . . it’s still a big deal.

According to the trend in how popes are selected by the conclave, they tend to alternate between selecting long-term popes and short-term popes. Which is the polite way of saying that just about every other pope is someone who is quite old to begin with and not expected to live for too long. The other popes, however, are expected to live for a longer period of time.

So the next pope who will head the Catholic Church may very well be pope for the next few decades. I am not Catholic, but the next pope is still important to me. It’s a big deal for the world.

Why? Because the Catholic Church’s influence may have been waning for centuries (and showing no sign of regaining a social or political foothold), but the pope still wields a great deal of influence throughout the world.

Recently, Benedict has been using that influence and a number of major speaking opportunities to voice his continued opposition to marriage equality, even as (or, perhaps, especially as) proponents of marriage equality have won a number of battles in the United States (obviously, other places—marriage equality continues to gain popularity in Europe).

Assuming that I do not gain mind-control powers any time soon (which, tragically, is a fair assumption), I think that it is safe to say that no matter who the next pope might be, he will not be pro-choice or a proponent of gay rights beyond the basic: “Look, they don’t get all of the rights of the rest of us, but don’t set them on fire, okay?”

I’m exaggerating. But, basically, the next pope is still going to be opposed to birth-control (and the use of condoms to prevent the spread of STIs). The next pope will still be opposed to female reproductive autonomy. The next pope will still be opposed to marriage equality for same-sex couples, and likely opposed to adoption by same-sex couples. The next pope will be opposed to premarital sex. To women in the priesthood. To transgender acceptance. Almost certainly to married Catholic priests.

There are a lot of people who are looking at this selection of a new pope, still early in the Twenty-First Century, as an opportunity for a non-white cardinal to lead the Catholic Church. It would be historic and, obviously, past due.

But while a non-white pope would be a progressive move, it is only a progressive move if the new pope in question is no more conservative than the likely positions that I listed above. In other words, certain African and South American cardinals have some outrageous views on civil rights—like opposing same-sex adoption because they confuse members of the LGBT community with child-molesters. Like supporting medieval legislation that would imprison gay citizens.

Look, I’m not going to agree with the new pope on a lot of things. I want equal human rights for women and the LGBT community and not for embryos or fetuses. Like the Catholic Church, I am opposed to the evils of the world, but I think that we have very different ideas of what constitutes evil and different ideas for remedying it (my solution involves the death penalty).

But, while many of the Church’s social positions are seemingly antiquated, whoever becomes the next pope should be a Twenty-First Century pope. A pope who would vehemently oppose Uganda’s “Kill The Gays” bill instead of remaining silent or partially supporting that sort of legislation (and for more reason than simply Catholicism’s opposition to capital punishment). A pope who remembers that women exist. A pope with a genuine interest in interfaith dialogue, with all faiths, and not simply to “unite against the atheists.”

So, at the risk of sounding really negative about African and South American cardinals, let’s be very cautious before praising any “progressive” choices from those continents.

The Catholic Church is slow to change and adapt—let’s all hope that, in choosing the next pope, the conclave does not take a step backward.



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The Ex-Benedict

Let me start this post by saying I am not Catholic and I do not mean to offend any Catholics with this post—I have studied Catholicism so I am not completely ignorant on the topic. With this said, again, I intend no offense this is satire, this is opinion, this is jest. This is not fact this is my stance on it.

Pope Benedict XVI announced that he will be resigning as Pope. This is the first time a Pope has stepped down in almost 500 years. Pope Benedict XVI is eighty-five-years-old and I can see why he would feel tired and not quite up to the job. I mean, you can start collecting social security in the United States at age sixty-five. I think the average retirement age is around sixty-five/seventy. This guy’s fifteen years passed that…he’s tired I get it.

My problem with the Pope stepping down is I didn’t realize this was a job you could quit. Again, I am not Catholic—this impacts me in no way but I think it’s making a pretty big statement. The Pope’s official statement was:

“As you know, I have decided to renounce the ministry that the Lord gave to me on April 19, 2005,I did this in full liberty for the good of the church.”

Hang on, hold the phone—the Lord gave you this job? God handed this mission, this position, this title to you and you are saying “no thanks?” Can you do that? I don’t think so…I’m pretty sure if God says do this…you do it. But again, I’m not Catholic maybe it works differently in the Catholic church—maybe you get to pick and choose what you listen to when God talks.

Maybe it was too much to deal with: delivering mass, dealing with moving pedophiles around, dealing with those pictures of him the SS uniform, Twitter. I mean that’s a lot for an eighty-five year old he probably just wants to chill out and catch up on Breaking Bad like the rest of us. I doubt he’s even gotten a chance to start House of Cards it’s not fair to ask him to fulfill the role that God gave him. God just asked too much.
Well, it’s been swell Pope Benedict XVI but I guess the swellings gone down. Hopefully, the church will elect…I mean…God will choose a younger Pope with a more progressive stance on women, contraceptive, homosexuality, hashtags and the like. Only time… I mean God…will tell.



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Jesus, Porn, Art … and a Woman with a Crowbar

Who’d have thought that Montana was a place for a crowbar attack in the name of religious outrage? Um … definitely not me. And yet, it happened.

56-year-old Kathleen Folden of Kalispell faces criminal mischief charges for apparently trying to beat the shit out of a piece of artwork that may or may not show Jesus Christ getting head from another guy while the word “orgasm” floats next to his head. The 12-panel lithograph “The Misadventures of the Romantic Cannibals” suffered slight tearing as the result of Folden’s, uh, religious crusade.

From Fox News:

[“The Misadventures of the Romantic Cannibals”] has triggered protests and even calls to police by critics asking for an investigation into whether it violates a Colorado law that protects children from obscenity, the Loveland Reporter Herald reported. The city attorney determined it did not.

Witnesses told the Reporter-Herald that Folden entered the Loveland Museum Gallery, used a crowbar to break glass over the art and ripped the print.

Mark Michaels, an area art dealer, told Denver’s KUSA-TV that he …

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Is the Wedding Ring a Symbol of Oppression?

photo of vintage old newspaper article with woman's wedding band picture

I went to a good friend’s wedding last Sunday. Besides the fact that I fell ass over teakettle down a staircase (with a dress on … and yes, it flew up), I had a great time. I teared up at the ceremony (as I always do at weddings, graduations, and any event with any prospect of sentimentality), and when my friend came back to work mid-week, the ring on his finger was almost like a beacon.

I wore a wedding ring for seven years, and I took the vows that I made in its name very seriously. The fact that the little circle of gold is now in a plastic baggie at the bottom of my purse because I don’t know what the hell else to do with it holds a certain irony, I suppose.

Anyway, I’d never really thought a lot about the history of the wedding ring, but it turns out that it’s actually incredibly interesting—and kind of scary, too, when you consider that guys like Samuel Johnson referred to it as “a circular instrument placed upon the noses of hogs and the fingers of women to restrain them and bring them into subjection.”

The predecessors to the wedding ring had their roots in Egyptian culture, where it served as a symbol of a man’s belief in his wife’s ability to “care for his house” (big of him) and with the Greeks and Romans, where the ring was given not to a woman but to her father (and I’m sorry about beating the Ladies Against Feminism dead horse once again, but come on …)

From Wedding Ring Origins:

In the second century B. C., the Roman bride was presented with a gold ring. But this she wore only in public. Such a ring was much too precious to wear while tending to household duties; and so the groom gave the bride a second ring – for use in the home – which was usually made of iron and had little knobs in the form of a key. Of course, these “key” rings were weak and could open only those locks requiring very little force to turn, but their significance, in that the wearer had the right to seal up the giver’s possessions, was strong.

So there was the status ring and the trust ring—interesting that …

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