Friday, August 2, 2013

Is the Pope Catholic?

Shout out to Donnie for getting me off my lazy cyber ass.

Believe it or not, I am not always an unbiased observer. But I'm pretty sure I've come up with a fairly objective way to criticize Pope Francis' recent "support" of gay priests.

Let's start with this: even before Francis' revolutionary statements, the official Church position was that being gay is not a sin (though any homosexual activity is). A gay man can still fully adhere to the tenets of Catholicism; there's no reason to prevent them donning the frock in the first place. So what is so praiseworthy about what the pope said? He essentially just reiterated Church teaching. I seem to remember John Paul II being put up on a pedestal for a similarly pointless statement, saying Jews are not guilty of deicide. Of course, this magnanimity came decades after the Church had already graciously withdrew that charge. (Yes, it took almost 2,000 years for the Catholic Church to officially declare that they no longer held Jews responsible for executing Jesus.) Francis' supporters may bring up the fact that Benedict had barred gay men from becoming priests, but he was a dick. All Francis has done so far is be less of a dick.

So what's the big deal? Is simply treating human beings as such really that admirable? Shouldn't one have to do just a little bit more than the bare minimum in order to earn our adoration? And speaking of the bare minimum, why is everyone so impressed by his apparent humility? One of the best-known passages in the Bible is Matthew 5:5: "Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the Earth." Sure, it might be a big deal for an average person to come close to living up to Jesus' philosophy, but shouldn't that simply be expected of the pope? It's like giving the president a Nobel Peace Prize for nothing. (See what I did there?) Can't we take it for granted that the pope will do what his god told him to? (Well, except for those things that his god apparently changed his mind about, like eating kosher and stoning adulterers.)

A leader ought to be exceptional, and his followers should expect nothing less. On the bright side, at least America isn't the only country settling for mediocrity.