As soon as Francis became Pope and started doing all the humble stuff like wearing regular shoes and living in a small apartment—and making statements that maybe gays and atheists weren’t going to hell after all—there were two reactions. The first was that of atheist bloggers, who immediately pointed out that the man had a record of opposing homosexuality and abortion, and that his humility was just public relations. The other was that of “faitheists,” who saw the new Pope as their BFF. My reaction is intermediate: the guy did compile a bad record in Argentina, but I think his desire to help the poor and to avoid the trappings of luxury is sincere. That said, he’s still the head of the most retrograde and repressive of major non-Islamic faiths, and he’s not going to change the tenets of his Church. So I largely ignore him.
Sometimes it’s hard, though, because although the guy is highly educated (he has a degree in philosophy as well as having gone to Pope School), he tends to produce bromides and feel-good but meaningless verbiage, as you can see on his Twi**er feed at Pontifex. Here’s the latest utterances of His Holiness:
Pretty boring, eh? I think he screwed up with the earliest tw**t, because non-Catholics can easily construe another meaning for “children robbed of their childhood.” Otherwise, the Pope’s tw**ts are devoid of substance, but I guess that’s to be expected.
The Pope’s latest bromide was his statement this week about the Internet. As the Independent reports:
Boosting his credentials as a moderniser, Pope Francis has called the internet a “gift from God” in a statement released on Thursday.
In a message on Catholic Church communications, the pontiff wrote of the pros and cons of the digital age, and its implications for Catholics when interacting with people from different faiths and backgrounds.
While praising the internet for the “immense possibilities” it offers to encounter people from different backgrounds, he also warned that the obsessive desire to stay connected can actually isolate people from their friends and family.
“This is something truly good, a gift from God,” he wrote. But he warned: “The desire for digital connectivity can have the effect of isolating us from our neighbours, from those closest to us.”
He said communications in the digital era had the potential to be like “a balm which relieves pain and a fine wine which gladdens hearts.”
Well, that says pretty much nothing. It’s like saying that cheese is good, but if you eat too much you could get gas. At any rate, I’m just going to ignore Francis unless he effects some real and substantial reform in his Church, and I don’t see that happening.
And, as the person who sent me this news item noted, it’s just dumb to say that God had anything do with the Internet. The exact words were, “One day the Church is going to claim credit for gay marriage.”
In the meantime, Stephen Colbert, who I believe is a Catholic, tw**ted himself about the Pope’s new “credentials as a moderniser”: