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.
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…”
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.
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.
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.
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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