Friday, July 26, 2013

The "new world of Pope Francis"

The phrase in my headline is the title of an article at Spiegel Online (Der Spiegel's English-language web site). So, is it a new world? I guess it is. He seems much different from his predecessor. Mind you, he's still down with the same abortion, celibacy, and gay marriage policies. It's not a new world for gays and women. Still, he's making huge changes, and apparently some are not pleased.
The curia is currently divided into those who are concerned that the pope is overexerting himself, and those who are afraid of the new order. "The pope is still getting warmed up," says the source from the curia. "We are crouching in the trenches, and quite a few are trembling."
I guess the trembling is a good sign. But let's not forget that all Francis can offer the world is the same old fairy tale about Jesus, and the false promise of a glorious "afterlife". Religion is and always will be a magic fence surrounding nothing.

There is one odd, hopeful thing in the article. Apparently Francis appointed a prelate to check in on the Vatican Bank and report directly to him. He seems serious about cleaning up the bank. But there's concern over the prelate he's chosen for this job.
That appointment, though, could prove to be Pope Francis' first mistake. He chose Monsignore Battista Ricca, the former administrator of the Vatican guesthouse, for the job. But the magazine L'Espresso revealed last week that Ricca was transferred to the guesthouse in 2001 for disciplinary reasons, because he was allegedly living with and maintaining a homosexual relationship with a man in the nunciature of Montevideo and was beaten up in a gay bar. So does it exist after all, the "gay lobby" at the Vatican, whose members secure positions for each other? Did the curia deliberately conceal Ricca's past from the pope? These questions will have to remain unanswered for now, but the Ricca appointment could come back to haunt the pope.
Something tells me the pope knows exactly who this man is. I continue to think that the pope's got a soft spot for gay people. Call me a fool, but I do. It will be interesting to see where the gay issue lands after he's been pope for a decade.