From the March 13, 2013, edition of “Viewpoint.”
Finally, time for tonight’s “F Bomb.” The cardinals have voted, and from here on in, Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio of Argentina will be known as Pope Francis I, or, maybe, since it’s a TV media age we live in, TV’s Francis.
You know, the Vatican is like the Bush administration in many ways: rife with scandal, loyalty is rewarded over wisdom, and so few of the guilty parties ever suffer consequences for their actions.
Now, as a comedian, I look forward to making jokes about the absurdities of the church that the new pope will lead, but as the son of a former nun and a former Franciscan brother, I do have a personal stake in hoping that this guy is the first pope to expand the reach of the church and be more inclusive of women and gay people. And hey, the guy’s only 76, so maybe he looks at the world through young, fresh eyes.
On the plus side, he has been an advocate for the poor. He’s known for personal humility and a commitment to social justice. As a cardinal, he gave up his chauffeured limousine in favor of public transportation, lived in a small apartment rather than a palatial palace and he always cooked his own meals. And the fact that he never once ordered in from Domino’s is proof he has some common sense, much needed in this modern world.
But he calls homosexuality “a destructive pretension against the plan of God.” Wrong. He’s from Argentina, which legalized gay marriage, infuriating the homophobic followers of noted nonhomophobe Jesus.
He called the adoption of children by gay couples child abuse. The Argentine president said his tone was reminiscent of “medieval times and the Inquisition,” which is probably what clinched him getting the gig.
So on the other hand, he also said — here’s a great quote — “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.”
That’s an awesome thing for a pope to say. So maybe he will bring the church forward and bring advocacy for the poor and anti-war positions front and center. And when criminal behavior manifests itself within his church, hopefully he’ll relocate those priests to a good place — like jail. And therapy.
Is it likely this will happen? I’m not sure, but for now I’m going to hope that it does. That’s right, see, I’m going to do something that’s kind of unusual these days in matters relating to the Catholic Church: I’m going to have faith.
And the best part about all of this is, somewhere you know that Lou Dobbs is screaming right now about some guy from South America who crossed the border to take someone else’s pope job.