Wednesday, July 30, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

The new pope's mix of messages

Francis thinks gay marriage is satanic. He also washes the feet of people with AIDS.

The new pope's mix of messages

The now-famously humble Jesuit who on Wednesday was elected Pope Francis once proclaimed that money can have “demonic effects.”

The satanic reference may provide a bit of context, if not comfort, to gay Catholics offended by what then-Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio suggested in 2010 about the prospect of same-sex marriage in his native Argentina: “This is not a mere legislative proposal…but a move by the father of lies (italics mine) that seeks to confuse and deceive the children of God.”

The one and only Lucifer is the father of lies; that the man who now commands the mighty church into which I was born sees the devil’s work in civil marriage equality for my Argentine brethren is utterly disheartening. But hardly unexpected, given the Catholic hierarchy’s traditional and tedious obsessions with the private lives of the secular.

Unexpected and even, perhaps, refereshing, are the nuances in Francis’ biography. There’s his papal name (love it), as well as anecdotes about how in his previous church positions Bergoglio preferred modest residences and even took the bus.

He's no fan of liberation theology, but his devotion to the poor and the marginalized seems genuine, if not downright "progressive." He once washed and kissed the feet of people with AIDS. And during his first appearance in St. Peter’s Square, Pope Francis asked that people “pray for me.”

So I will.

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