Things That Matter

Pope Francis Has Some Strong Opinions On Homophobic Politicians That Shocked Many Listeners

Jorge Mario Bergoglio, best known as Pope Francis, has sometimes surprised both the Catholic world and non-religious people worldwide with his views. Even though he remains a conservative at heart in issues such as the pro-life/pro-choice debate, he has been certainly more open than other successors of Peter when it comes to same-sex relationships.

Even though the Catholic Church has turned a blind eye to the struggle of the LGBTQ community, or even publicly denounced it as contrary to their beliefs, Pope Francis has been very open in his condemnation of hate speech and discrimination. His words are often controversial and have stirred discussion among conservatives who see him as perhaps too progressive for the Church, particularly following the iron fist rule of Joseph Ratzinger, the German Pope who was the right arm of another very conservative Pope in John Paul II. 

Pope Francis compared homophobic politicians to Adolf Hitler, perhaps the worldwide symbol of hate.

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The Pope said about anti-gay comments made by people in a position of power who are influential not only when it comes to public opinion, but potentially also in the drawing up and execution of exclusionary and discriminatory policies: “These are actions that are typical of Nazism, that with its persecution of Jews, gypsies, people with homosexual orientation, represent an excellent model of the throwaway culture and culture of hatred.”

This is actually a pretty direct comment coming from a Catholic leader, particularly considering the policy of no-intervention (a.k.a turn a blind eye) that the Vatican held during World War II, and for which Rome has been deeply criticized. 

He didn’t hold back: “When I hear a speech (by) someone responsible for order or for a government, I think of speeches by Hitler in 1934, 1936…”

Credit: Franciscus/ Instagram

So comparing anti-LGBTQ politicians is a BFD in a day and age when far-right policies are making a comeback and some elected officials have an anti-gay agenda is actually quite something. We can think, for example, of current Vice President and former Indiana governor Mike Pence, who has made a career of getting the ultraconservative Evangelical right vote. And yes, Pence might very well become the US President if impeachment proceedings against Donald Trump reach a damning conclusion.

In Brazil, Jair Bolsonaro has said that a court ruling criminalizing homophobia is wrong, even if his country is one of the most dangerous for the LGBTQ community, particularly for intersex individuals.

It is important to note, however, that Francis is not being totally progressive: he is not approving diverse sexualities, but condemning discrimination. There is a big difference.

The Pope also said that any form of discrimination went against Christian values.

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This might seem like a logical thing to say about a religion that predicates loving each other like one loves oneself. However, orthodox interpretations of the scriptures are contradictory to this spirit, as they make same-sex relationships a sin. So Pope Francis is facing a theological dilemma by choosing human dignity over dated and sometimes discriminatory Vatican policies.

He also expressed his condemnation of the recent wave of anti-Semitic attacks, particularly in Western Europe. He said: “The Jews are our brothers and sisters and should not be persecuted, understand?”

As CBS News reports: “A report by Tel Aviv University’s Kantor Center for the Study of Contemporary European Jewry showed that anti-semitic attacks rose 13% from 2017 to 2018. The highest number of incidents were reported in major Western democracies such as the United States, France, Britain and Germany.” These are very troublesome figures that echo a generalized sense of political and social crisis in which diversity is sometimes being crushed by hate speech.

And remember the Church has been in the spotlight for all the wrong reasons.

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Sexual politics in the Vatican have always been controversial, and even more so when cases of sexual abuse in the clergy hace resurfaced and lay authorities have made unprecedented moves, such as convicting George Pell, the third most powerful man in the Vatican, to jail in Australia. Pope Francis’ stance against sexual discrimination is a move in the right direction in terms of realigning the Vatican’s moral and ethical compass when it comes to sexual politics. 

He went further and denounced what is basically the ultraconservative agenda…yes, he mentioned climate change.

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Francis can be a bit conservative on some issues, he is at times ruthless in his political commentary. As Business Insider reports: “In the speech, Francis also denounced police brutality, the world’s failure to punish environmental crimes, and the arbitrary use of preventative detention.” Wow.

He basically blasted the anti-immigration policies of Western countries and the lack of accountability that governments and corporations have when it comes to irreparable damage to the planet, such as the Amazonian fires that devastated an ancient ecosystem. Yes, he basically told politicians, “thoughts and prayers” are not enough if there is no action behind all the talk. 

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Pope Francis Says That Women Are Now Allowed to Read Scripture During Mass and People Have Conflicting Emotions

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Pope Francis Says That Women Are Now Allowed to Read Scripture During Mass and People Have Conflicting Emotions

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On Monday, Pope Francis announced that he has amended the Code of Canon Law, the official Catholic doctrine to formally allow women to give readings from the bible during mass.

Pope Francis said he made the change in order to recognize the “precious contribution” Catholic women make to the Catholic community.

While some have praised Pope Francis’s decision as a step in the right direction, some have taken issue with the papal decree that also seems to go out of its way to make a distinction between “ordained” ministries (like the priesthood and the diaconate) and other types of priesthoods that are open to both men and women.

It seems that Catholic equality activists are divided into two camps: those who believe that the decree will “open a door” towards women being ordained priests, and those who think the ordinance explicitly shuts down the possibility.

“This is the first codification of allowing women inside the sanctuary,” said historian Phyllis Zagano to AP News. “That’s a very big deal.” Zagano believes that the decree is a step towards female ordination because “you can’t be ordained as deacons unless you’re installed as lectors or acolytes [first].”

Critics are also saying that the ordinance is simply an empty gesture to appease Catholic women who want more leadership roles within the church.

“There is nothing new in the decree — it effectively recognizes the roles that many women have been doing for decades, only now they will be controlled by a bishop,” Lucetta Scaraffia, former editor of the Vatican’s women magazine “Donne”, said to “The New York Times”.

“It seems as though the pope is conceding something to women, but it is something that they’ve had for decades, while denying what they have requested, the diaconate,” she continued.

Indeed, the act of allowing women to read from the bible during mass is already widely practice in Catholic Churches across the world.

When Pope Francis amended the Canon Law to “officially” allow it, he was simply adding greater legitimacy to a practice that was already in place in many ministries across the developed world.

The Argentinian pope explained his decision in a letter, saying that the newly-formally ordained practice would “allow women to have a real and effective impact on the organization, the most important decisions and the direction of communities, while continuing to do so in a way that reflects their womanhood.”

But what “womanhood” is remains up to interpretation. And it definitely isn’t the same as what was when the Roman Catholic Church was first established in 313 A.D.

It is also worth noting that some religious historians believe that women held leadership roles like deacon (ordained minister) in the early history of the Catholic Church.

In fact, since he’s been in office, Pope Francis has created two separate commissions to further investigate the role of women during the early Catholic Church. If it is found that women were, indeed, sometimes ordained as deacons, that fact could give a precedence to women becoming ordained ministers in the current era.

But until then, Pope Francis has made it clear that he has no plans to change canon law to include women in the priesthood or diaconate.

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Pope Francis Is Over All You People Complaining About Covid Restrictions So Do Better

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Pope Francis Is Over All You People Complaining About Covid Restrictions So Do Better

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Covid numbers are out of control in the U.S. Numbers are increasing in every state and the holiday weekend is expected to make the crisis worse. Recently, the Supreme Court ruled that New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo cannot limit religious gatherings. Pope Francis is really over people complaining about necessary Covid restrictions.

Pope Francis is really over everyone complaining about life-saving Covid restrictions.

We have all seen the videos of people protesting against Covid restrictions. These restrictions are created to protect public health and slow the spread of the virus. Following the guidelines and restrictions is a simple matter that can let the rest of us get back to some kind of normal faster. Ignoring the guidelines and restrictions is what prolongs the lockdowns because of the idea that your personal choices are more important than everyone’s health.

Pope Francis wrote an op-ed for the New York Times calling out the people fighting the restrictions.

“Yet some groups protested, refusing to keep their distance, marching against travel restrictions — as if measures that governments must impose for the good of their people constitute some kind of political assault on autonomy or personal freedom,” Pope Francis wrote in his op-ed. “Looking to the common good is much more than the sum of what is good for individuals. It means having a regard for all citizens and seeking to respond effectively to the needs of the least fortunate.”

The pope made it clear that disregarding the restrictions is an act of selfishness.

Pope Francis’ op-ed comes one day after the Supreme Court sided with religious groups complaining about New York’s restrictions. The newly conservative court responded as expected. Many are pointing to Amy Coney Barrett as someone who followed their religion over the good of the American public, as many predicted she would.

“If we are to come out of this crisis less selfish than when we went in, we have to let ourselves be touched by others’ pain,” Pope Francis wrote in his op-ed for The New York Times. “There’s a line in Friedrich Hölderlin’s “Hyperion” that speaks to me, about how the danger that threatens in a crisis is never total; there’s always a way out: “Where the danger is, also grows the saving power.” That’s the genius in the human story: There’s always a way to escape destruction. Where humankind has to act is precisely there, in the threat itself; that’s where the door opens.”

Pope Francis added: “This is a moment to dream big, to rethink our priorities — what we value, what we want, what we seek — and to commit to act in our daily life on what we have dreamed of.”

The pope’s willingness to speak out on issues is earning him respect from people around the world.

Catholics and non-Catholics alike are celebrating Pope Francis for his willingness to call out the failures he sees in our governments. Pope Francis has also been pivotal in pushing the Catholic church forward in accepting the LGBTQ+ community. It seems like Barrett’s appointment to the Supreme Court has energized Pope Francis’ push to make the Catholic church more accepting and believe in science.

Covid has given the pope a perfect time to talk about true religious values like caring for your neighbor and he is using it.

READ: Pope Francis Comes Out In Support Of Civil Unions For Same-Sex Couples

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