Breaking: The Vatican Blows Smoke (UPDATED)

Jim Burroway

March 13th, 2013

We’ll habemus a Papam soon, although I hear Karl Rove is throwing a fit because the votes from Cincinnati’s suburbs still haven’t come in.

His Holiness Pope Francis, Bishop of Rome, Vicar of Christ, Successor of the Prince of the Apostles, Supreme Pontiff of the Universal Church, Primate of Italy, Archbishop and Metropolitan of the Roman province, Sovereign of the State of the Vatican City, Servant of the Servants of God.

Update: The new head of the Roman Catholic Church is His Holiness, Pope Francis, the former Archbishop Jorge Mario Bergoglio of Argentina. This sets several precedents: He’s the first non-European Pope in many centuries (some early popes were north African), he’s the first Jesuit pope, and he’s the first to be named Francis. The regnal name is chosen with care, and is intended to signal the kind of papacy the pope intends to pursue. In this case, it’s unclear whether this one intends to follow the path of St. Francis of Assisi, or perhaps, St. Francis Xavier, a co-founder of the Jesuits.

Nevertheless, the speed with which two-thirds of the 115 Cardinals settled on Bergolgio can only be seen as a stunning rebuke of the back-stabbing, infighting, scandal-plagued Roman Curia, which is badly in need of a complete reboot. While Bergolgio is a theological conservative, he can be somewhat more “left” leaning on economic and (non-sexual) social issues, for whatever meanings those labels may carry within Catholicism. (He’s no Paul Ryan, at any rate.)  The National Catholic Reporter has a very good rundown on his background here

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 may be basically conservative on many issues, but he’s no defender of clerical privilege, or insensitive to pastoral realities. In September 2012, he delivered a blistering attack on priests who refuse to baptize children born out of wedlock, calling it a form of “rigorous and hypocritical neo-clericalism.”

Among the issues that Bergolgio was “basically conservative” on was homosexuality. He first crossed our radar in 2010, as he was campaigning against a proposal to bring marriage equality to Argentina’s same-sex couples:

“Let’s not be naive, we’re not talking about a simple political battle; it is a destructive pretension against the plan of God,” writes Bergoglio in a letter sent to the monasteries of Buenos Aires, where he is archbishop. “We are not talking about a mere bill, but rather a machination of the Father of Lies that seeks to confuse and deceive the children of God.”

According to Wikipedia:

He has affirmed church teaching on homosexuality, though he teaches the importance of respecting individuals who are gay. He strongly opposed legislation introduced in 2010 by the Argentine Government to allow same-sex marriage. In a letter to the monasteries of Buenos Aires, he wrote: “Let’s not be naive, we’re not talking about a simple political battle; it is a destructive pretension against the plan of God. We are not talking about a mere bill, but rather a machination of the Father of Lies that seeks to confuse and deceive the children of God.” He has also insisted that adoption by gays and lesbians is a form of discrimination against children. This position received a rebuke from Argentine president Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, who said the church’s tone was reminiscent of “medieval times and the Inquisition”  [By the way, the page was changed moments ago to replace every instance of “gay” to “homosexual”]


March 13th, 2013

not promising from his Wiki page…


March 13th, 2013

The new pope is Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio of Argentina (Francis I)- first time a non-European has been named pope.

But despite this first, don’t expect any change from the catholic church on its teachings on gays and lesbians under this pope (what a shocker, right?). In an interview in 2010, Cardinal Bergoglio had this to say about marriage equality legislation in Argentina:

“Let’s not be naive, we’re not talking about a simple political battle; it is a destructive pretension against the plan of God. We are not talking about a mere bill, but rather a machination of the Father of Lies that seeks to confuse and deceive the children of God.”

So, to quote The Who, meet the new boss, same as the old boss.


March 13th, 2013

He fought gay Marriage Equality tooth and nail in Argentina and their President said he was from the dark ages. Yeah, not a good sign.

Richard Rush

March 13th, 2013

Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio: “Let’s not be naive, . . .”

That’s pretty funny! Apparently, one of the prerequisites for rising to the top of the Catholic hierarchy is having no sense of self-awareness.

Ben in Oakland

March 13th, 2013

Three popes in arrow who weren’t Italian. Tis is going to piss of the Curia, I’m sure.

Mark F.

March 13th, 2013

Well, I wish him well…not at all promising on gay issues, but who was seriously expecting a change?

Timothy Kincaid

March 13th, 2013

“He fought gay Marriage Equality tooth and nail in Argentina and their President said he was from the dark ages. Yeah, not a good sign.”

I disagree. The Dark Ages is a vast improvement over Pope Benedict the Malevolent.

Timothy Kincaid

March 13th, 2013

“Well, I wish him well…not at all promising on gay issues, but who was seriously expecting a change?”

Weren’t they voting for “Pope and change”?

Timothy Kincaid

March 13th, 2013


I guess I’m in a silly mood.


March 13th, 2013

Timothy, LOL!

BTW, at least he doesn’t LOOK evil right out of the gate. Not to play the Fox News-Analyze-ridiculous-stuff-for-deep-meaning game, but to me he has a gentle, humble face. Let’s give him the teeniest benefit of a doubt. He’s got until–what? Sunday–to make a horribly offensive first homily or whatever it’s called, right?


March 13th, 2013

He doesn’t look like a Sith lord, at least.


March 13th, 2013

That fact that he came second to Ratzinger in 2005 has to have some serious meaning, considering the extreme overall conservatism of the cardinals then.

The 2005 election was not about conservative v. less conservative; it was JPII-conservative v. JPII-conservative. Placing second to Ratzinger then is an ominous signal today.

I want this church to continue to shoot itself in the foot, and I’m guessing that they have.


March 13th, 2013

An irrelevant old man who hates me has been replaced by a different irrelevant old man who hates me. What an exciting day in pop culture! I haven’t been this amped up since Kim Kardasian announced her break up with that one guy!

Ben in Oakland

March 13th, 2013

But Ryan! He loves you. He really really loves you. It’s all YOUR fault if you can distinguish his brandof love from hate!

Now say after me: mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maximima maxima culpa.

Now, don’t you feel better?


March 13th, 2013

But he IS Italian. I’ll bet dollars to donuts that Italian is his FIRST language and Spanish is a close second. He was born in Argentina to Italian immigrants, so the curia got a double. An Italian pope from a third world country.


March 13th, 2013

@MattNYC: Hey now, eye circles are genetic. Some of us can’t help looking like Palpatine. ;-)

I’ll give you that this one’s better looking, though. Here he is in his thirties:

Donny D.

March 13th, 2013

Wikipedia said in passing that the new Pope “teaches the importance of respecting individuals who are gay”, well, until someone edited the new Pope’s page to use the word “homosexual” instead. (I love Wikipedia, it’s so trustworthy.)

Anyway, I just wanted to ask people here, is it a new thing for a Pope to have a history of “teach[ing] the importance of respecting individuals who are homosexual”, or is that the current position of the Catholic church, in the face of all its anti-gay positions?

I understand there are (supposed to be) Catholics who are anti-same sex marriage but who support anti-discrimination protections for LGBT people in other areas.


March 14th, 2013

Donny D., “teach[ing] the importance of respecting individuals who are homosexual”, is just a more subtle way of saying “love the sinner, hate the sin”.

Until the Catholic Church distances itself from calling us ‘intrinsically disordered’ ( and “more or less strong tendency ordered toward an intrinsic moral evil” and “homosexual practices are sins gravely contrary to chastity” ( and “those who behave in a homosexual fashion among those who shall not enter the Kingdom of God”, then call me skeptical. Okay, perhaps cynical is a better word. But as one who bears deep emotional scars from my association with the Catholic Church as a child and during later years, it’s very hard to view the church objectively.


March 14th, 2013

I think the Vatican also says that gay people should be treated with dignity and not be subject to “unjust discrimination” – the key word here of course is “unjust”, as in the UK the Catholic Church has opposed any and all attmepts to reduce discrimination towards gay people.

Meanwhile, the new Pope has been linked to complicity with the military dicatorship in argrentina in the 70s/80s.

Remember everyone, it’s ok to steal someone’s baby then throw them into the sea from a cargo plane but it is totally wrong to have consensual sex with another man!!


March 14th, 2013

Ben in Oakland,

Just an FYI, your mea culpa mantra has been updated for the 21’s century.

Going forward, it’s:

My bad, My bad, My very, very bad…

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