Wednesday, March 13, 2013

(updated: guilty of human rights abuses?)

Yeah, there's a new pope -- Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio of Buenos Aires, who'll be called Pope Francis I. What I'm reading about him is a mixed bag:
Stories of his humility abound. When he was appointed a cardinal in 2001, Cardinal Bergoglio persuaded hundreds of Argentines not to fly to Rome to celebrate with him but rather to donate to the poor the money they had raised for their airline tickets.

He declined to move into the luxurious archbishop's residence, preferring a simple apartment nearby where he lives with an old bishop and usually cooks dinner.

He gets around town mostly by bus, often wearing the cassock of a simple priest rather than any episcopal finery.

In 2000, as John Paul apologised for the Church's sins down the centuries, Cardinal Bergoglio had clergy wear garments of penance for sins committed during Argentina's military dictatorship. [But see the update below.]

In contrast to many activist Latin American priests, Cardinal Bergoglio prefers to stress the spiritual side of his calling and urge the faithful to follow Christ's example more fully rather than preach about the need for social justice.
He's criticized priests who won't baptize children born out of wedlock, which seems admirable.

And there's this:
He has affirmed church teaching on homosexuality, though he teaches the importance of respecting individuals who are gay. His doctrinal conservatism is tempered with compassion: he is well remembered for his 2001 visit to a hospice, in which he washed and kissed the feet of twelve AIDS patients.
But he didn't mince words when Argentina began pursuing legalization of gay marriage:
... the bill [is] "a plan to destroy God's plan," in the words of Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio, Archbishop of Buenos Aires. "This is no mere legislative bill. It is a move by the father of lies to confuse and deceive the children of God," Bergoglio declared last week as the legislative debate approached its climax.
Also this:
Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio not only called the new law "a scheme to destroy God's plan"; he termed it "a real and dire anthropological throwback," as if homosexuality were evolutionarily inferior to heterosexuality.
He's also called same-sex marriages "caricatures of families that have neither a future themselves nor the ability to create a future society."

Abortion? Pretty much what you'd expect:
In a speech given to a gathering of priests and laity on October 2nd, the cardinal pointed out that people say that "we aren't in agreement with the death penalty," but "in Argentina we have the death penalty. A child conceived by the rape of a mentally ill or retarded woman can be condemned to death."
So, yeah, nothing's changing at the Vatican.


UPDATE: But there's also this, which, if accurate, is appalling:
Bergoglio was the head of the Jesuits in Argentina during the military dictatorship of 1976-1983, during which the military murdered upwards of 30,000 people (as well as kidnapping hundreds of children whose parents the regime had tortured and murdered). Unlike Catholic officials in neighboring Chile and Brazil, where priests, bishops, and even cardinals spoke out against and defended victims of human rights abuses, in Argentina, the Catholic Church was openly complicit in the military regime's repression. Bergoglio was not exempt from this involvement: military officers have testified Bergoglio helped the Argentine military regime hide political prisoners when human rights activists visited the country. And Bergoglio himself had to testify regarding the kidnapping of two priests who he stripped of their religious licenses shortly before they were kidnapped and tortured. This isn't just a case of Bergoglio being a member of an institution that supported a brutal regime; it's a case of Bergoglio himself having ties, direct and indirect, to that very regime.
More here. (Hat tip: Taylor Marsh.)

On the other hand, Wonkblog's Dylan Matthews says the Argentinean church under the future pope opposed government austerity at the end of the last century and beginning of this one. So there's that.


UPDATE: Right-winger makes a funny.

There are no words.


UPDATE: Josh Marshall has the new pope's version of what happened, via AP.


Victor said...

One can't help but wonder, since he's 76, did he fight for the rights of the people during some pretty brutal regimes, or did he turn a blind eye?

Since Pope Paul VI, the ability to turn a blind eye, both for the need to further modernize the church (after the DFH’s in the Church made changes in the 1960′s), and to the child-schtuppers, and their bosses, the child-schtupper-shufflers in the last 3+ decades, is one of the main prerequisites for the damn job.

This ancient Jesus-grifter is 76, so, though I’m sure he’s not an advocate for modernization, at least he’s probably too old to schtupp any children – though ready and willing, and hoping he’s able, to keep moving the child-schtuppers, and to keep the church as free from lawsuits from the children schtuppees and their parents, as possible.

I, for one, am glad it’s finally over.

I got tired of “Papal View” on TV, 24 X 7.

And I’m still laughing that he chose the name Pope Francis, since I remember another talking jackass with the name Francis.

Steve M. said...

did he fight for the rights of the people during some pretty brutal regimes, or did he turn a blind eye?

See the update. Some of it is pretty awful.

Jon said...

At least gay men are eligible to become pope, which is more than you can say for all women.

Victor said...

No, that's not "pretty awful" - that's genuinely awful.

At least Pope BeneDICK was pretty young when he was a Nazi.

This guy was in his 40's.

Ten Bears said...

Animals, less the sufficiently evolved, less than human, bow down to gods. Human Beings, do not.

Ask a combat vet sometime, what we learned...

Examinator said...

Rubishing Saint Francis, who was for his day a good man is not the way to make a point.
The new pope isn't a talking donkey (fool.)
I tend to agree on the face of it that Pope (heysus) is apparently a deeply flawed individual but a good 'Churcher as opposed to a true Christian'.
He was a clear political/financial choice. not Black as that would be too radical and offend conservative whites.
But not white.
The church has a demographic problem ... the whites have most of the money But the Latino's have most of the most powerful faith.
one of the stated criteria in the run up was to reinvigorate the church the faith in (the dogma therefore the power).
Clearly the other Church fogies think that by electing this man it will signal to the world the church is changing.... Yer and I believe that this guy is now infallible because he's obviously been moved by the Spirit of Holy Ghost! Better known as 'EXORCIST 4' (the Latino connection) soon to bore us on a TV near you.

Amanda G said...

The reproductive system exists to create new life, it is not an entertainment system. BTW Pope Benedict changed the admission rules to Seminaries, men attracted to men will no longer be admitted. This reverses the mistake made in 1950 when the church trusted Psychiatry's claim that same sex attraction was not a mental illness. That was the root cause of the widely reported evil in the church. Bestiality, homosexuality, and pedophilia are all diseases.