There’s a new Pope in town and I am sad to say that based on what I am finding out about him thus far, I am no more inclined to go back to church that I am inclined to throw myself into the nearest vat of molten metal.
(Of course, if I believe what his holiness is saying that’s where I am ultimately bound anyway.)
When the last Pope resigned I imagined, just for a minute, a world where the new pontiff would be a reformer and slightly more to the centre politically. I dreamed he’d display some understanding of the complexity of humanity. What I am hearing and reading of his views on sexuality and marriage equality, however, isn’t reassuring me at all. Yes, I can just ignore it, and no – on one level it makes no difference what some bloke in a white hat and robes says, but according to a recent BBC report there are over 1.2 billion Catholics in the world and your man in white is the head honcho. What he says goes and you only have to watch the news to see how many people worship the ground he walks on. There’s a hoo-hah wherever a Pope goes, a Pope speaks and his words get column inches and airtime. As a born-and-raised Catholic I attended mass regularly (I can recite it in Latin – that’s how old I am) and I played rhythm guitar in the church folk group (swing those pants). We toured other places of worship in the region; I’ve played music in mosques and synagogues and met some amazing people through my faith. I loved my church and growing up I always felt safe there and that it loved me. I can’t say that now and I choose to stay away from my church because of its homophobic agenda. How can I go back when some of the most powerful men in its ranks espouse such hatred? The disservice this does us all breaks my heart. That’s all I want to say this month but I’ll end with another man of the cloth, the wonderful Desmond Tutu, who gives me hope that our spiritual leaders can be people to trust and admire: “A parent who brings up a child to be a racist damages that child, damages the community in which they live, damages our hopes for a better world. A parent who teaches a child that there is only one sexual orientation and that anything else is evil denies our humanity and their own too.” Amen to that Desmond. Amen.