*Trigger Warning: This piece is highly critical of Pope Francis and the Vatican … highly critical. Although I would like everybody to read this, I do not recommend it if you are quick to anger or particularly defensive of the Catholic Church*
I must admit, he almost had me fooled … almost. The seemingly progressive statements made by Pope Francis over the past few months have led many to believe that the Catholic Church may, at long last, be on the cusp of major change. I wanted to believe it, I really did, but I have been cautiously optimistic through all of this. Hope and hesitation have to go hand-in-hand when it comes to apparently progressive steps within traditionally discriminatory institutions (in this case, the Vatican). Feigning sincerity and pandering to the nearest available base is, after all, something that the Catholic Church has become very good at; and the fact that they have remained so popular despite thousands of years of criminal activity is a testament to that ability. Caution is indeed justified when a new Pope starts talking about things that go against the written word of his own church’s tenets. Still, he almost had me fooled.
While many are convinced that Francis will be a voice for change, his actions and words on November 17th showed us that this Pope is the same hypocritical, cowardly, and deceptive charlatan that the tradition of his office could not survive without. True to custom, Pope Francis has turned coat, and contradicted every progressive statement he has made about LGBTQ+ people since stepping into his position. This supposed beacon of progress is nothing more than the latest sophist at the head of the world’s largest criminal organization, and we must no longer be fooled into thinking that he is at all concerned with progress. If you haven’t heard of it, the Vatican held their Humanum conference beginning on November 17, titled “An International Interreligious Colloquium on the Complementarity of Man and Woman” … so basically a conference to talk about traditional marriage, and how the gays are trying to destroy it. Featured in an article on The New Civil Rights Movement ( Read Article Here ), were the names of 17 of the most hateful anti-gay US activists in attendance. Now, I would expect this of the Vatican, but the hypocrisy after everything Pope Francis has claimed to believe since taking office made my jaw drop. In his statements at the conference, the Pope reportedly talked about the “spiritual devastation of new morality,” and went on to make multiple thinly veiled attacks on same-sex marriage, and by extension LGBTQ+ people.
So the question has been raised “does he want unity and peace or doesn’t he?” The truth here is that Francis’ only motivation is whatever is going to make his church look good at any given moment. When speaking in the company of LGBTQ+ people, he is going to talk about how understanding and dialog is needed, and he’s going to say things like “who are we to judge?” When in the company of hateful purveyors of misinformation, he is going to tow the traditional “gays are disordered, dangerous, and need Jesus” line. If ever there was a time to realize that this new Pope is not the man we thought he was, it’s now; before he can do any real damage. He has held a conference with those responsible for thousands of LGBTQ+ murders, suicides, and beatings the world over, and has showed his true colours in unity with them. The blood of those who have died because of their sexual orientation and/or gender identity is now on his hands as well. Pope Francis has chosen to share in this responsibility with every horrible monster at that conference, including the disgusting Tony Perkins. Does he want unity and peace? Of course not. He wants what the Vatican has always wanted – power, money, and control. They were losing these things, and electing a Pope who appeared to be socially progressive was the perfect way to bring them back.
There is nothing new here. This is the same dishonesty and backstabbing that the Vatican has been doing for centuries. The only reason I’m so angry about it now is because Francis has convinced so many people that he is a true advocate for change. Sure, he may refuse to wear the red shoes, leave his security detail behind to mingle with the masses, and refuse to live in the Papal Apartment (favouring instead to share dorms with the Cardinals), but the rest appears to be all talk and no action. He claims to care about the poor, but what is he doing beyond offering empty platitudes and prayers? The Vatican has enough money to eradicate hunger in Africa, why don’t they? Mother Teresa had the means to help thousands, but instead raised millions of dollars and gave it to the Vatican Bank, allowing her patients to suffer – after all, the last shall be first, right? Should we expect any more from Francis? Is it even fair of us to expect moral behaviour from an immoral institution?
If anything, Christian evangelicals should also be very worried about this man. I’m worried about him because I know this will be downplayed, and the door will then be opened for him to hurt countless more people in the name of God. Evangelicals should be worried about the similarities between Pope Francis and the deceptive qualities they expect of the Anti-Christ. In any event, worry must give way to action. As far as I’m concerned, humanity has a moral obligation to speak out about this. I don’t care if it’s not your cause, it affects you whether you like it or not. Hypocrisy hurts us all, and when the Vatican does it, the scale of the damage is massive. As the biggest Christian denomination, the Catholic Church has a greater obligation to be kind, and as they continuously fail, they are continuously responsible for the harm being done in the name of their doctrine of hate and exclusion. Make no mistake. This could end very badly for many people. How many people have been socially shunned by a community that faithfully follows every word spoken from the pulpit? How many thousands of LGBTQ+ people have taken their own lives because they couldn’t reconcile who they were with what their church told them was “right?” How many preachers and church counsellors have taken members of their congregation in and tried to “pray away the gay?” How many attacks have been carried out as a result of the teaching that the judgment of God is correct, even when it says in Leviticus “they must be put to death; their blood will be on their own heads?” This is not loving. This is not righteous. This IS exactly what Catholic Church doctrine has said for a very long time.
Many of us were attracted to the charisma and apparent compassion of Pope Francis, but I think it’s time for us to see him for the hypocrite he is. He will continue to make platitudes to appease every crowd he is put in front of, but nothing will change. That being said, if the Vatican does change their written doctrine, I will be happy to acknowledge it. Like I said, I want to believe it. Unfortunately, there is nothing new here, and I suspect there won’t be in my lifetime. There are countless religious leaders turning around and accepting LGBTQ+ people with loving arms. Pope Francis is NOT one of them.