When Vladimir Putin wrote Op-ed on NY Times newspaper judgmentally explaining western world how to work out the crisis in Syria, people become divided. Advocates of non-intervention urged to say that he sounded as if he actually has a clue and reasonable approach to the problem. Others, instantly denounced tyrant’s laughable attempt to lecture the US, and whole western world in broad, whilst his own regime is strangling common people and human right record is comparable to underdeveloped countries with local guerrillas in charge.
What is the connection between Vladimir Putin and Pope Francis, you might ask. After all, everyone who is more progressive-minded loves current Pope, as he doesn’t have a fetish for sending non-believers and, especially, gays for eternal visit to hell. He perfected anti-capitalism rhetoric as he called for equal economy with less emphasis on money. Pope Francis is the “people’s Pope” who speaks about issues that matter to everyone more widely without any need to burden people with the question of morality of those issues. “Who am I to judge?” is a clear symbol what the Pope wants to accomplish here. Church doesn’t prohibit you to despise people for their sexuality and faith, but as leader of the Roman Catholic Church, he won’t be taking a stance.
Unfortunately, the charms of Pope Francis have reached wide audience. Atheists went ecstatic when the Pope welcomed them to heaven, although the Pope is nothing more like you and me, a simple man with his own views who was given a platform to speak out. Nobody granted him any powers to know whether atheists goes to heaven or not, notwithstanding the fact that there is no evidence to assume that such even exists. Any other person’s argument that only atheists or homosexuals will enter heaven has completely the same weight as the Pope’s. There is no difference between common protester near Wall Street and the Pope who also criticises inequality, except that the latter has more listeners. People are simply indulging themselves by believing that the leader of the church is godly enough to elevate the misery of everyday by either discrimination or social injustice.
In fact, Roman Catholic Church adopted very efficient and smart marketing campaign. Bureaucrats of the Vatican plainly know the atrocities Church did and many of who are responsible for them. Many cardinals and priests are or were taught by the Church that never rejected the misgivings and malevolence of the Old Testament, where God is violent, homosexuality is condemned to death, and social injustice is a natural state. Pope Francis could be just an unique and simply better person for career in the Church, but we haven’t heard much of him before the papacy, except allegations that he is guilty for helping brutal Argentinian military dictatorship to kidnap his fellow Jesuits, though the latter accusation were quickly clarified once Jorge Bergoglio become known as Pope Francis. Whether that’s true or not, current Pope at the time of brutal regime in power, which tortured and killed thousands of people, hasn’t opposed or denounced in any convincing way.
It might be the case that Catholic Church employs the Pope as a junior sales clerk, whose main duty is to introduce the product in the most persuasive way, while senior staff actually finishes the deal. To be fair, the Pope is doing an outstanding job. Hostility and intolerance to religion is decreasing partly because of to positive message from Pope Francis, whereas local priests and other members of the church are able to keep the same vile rhetoric over gay rights, adultery, abortion, and other issues. In other words, liberal Pope approach creates an environment for survival of fundamentalist teaching of the faith with all its revulsions.
Dare not to say that a Pope actually has power to influence Vatican’s stance on divisive matters, as the truth is rather bleak and disappointing. Church is continuing to play a god-sent saviour and truth holder. Francis the Pope, undoubtedly pushed by long-standing members of the church, has given a green light to sainthood of John Paul II – for performing miracles in 21th century. If this is just a bitter pill that must be swallowed by the head of Catholics in order to continue spreading positive and reformist message, this doesn’t explain recent statement on abortion, claiming that doctors should refuse to perform abortions, which, presumably, will haunt him during his service. The reason is that there is an enormous difference between an old Christian virgin fundamentalist opinion that “the greatest destroyer of peace today is abortion” by Mother Teresa when she was receiving Nobel peace prize, and the direct command to obey and act against abortions. This is revolting and shameful symbol of the Church’s incurable small-mindedness, which was rallied against by the Pope itself just day before the latter appalling remark.
Charms of Pope Francis are strong. They entangle critical thinking, scepticism and the need to take the Church accountable for its misgivings that occurred in not that far past. The Roman Catholic Church abandoned long time ago its core and fundamental parts of belief – honesty, sincerity. Don’t have any illusions and faith, as the head of the Church is nothing more than a fraudulent, militant salesman of the religion.