If “Vatican insiders” are to be believed, instead of a drawn-out search for the new pope, those crazy cardinals are going to lock themselves in for a few short days before blowing out that sweet, sweet white smoke. (Which makes some kind of sense, especially in the wake of so many allegations for why Benedict decided to step down. They want a clean slate as soon as possible.) But you can check any wishes you have for a “more progressive” pope at the Sistine Chapel door. Being deep enough into Catholicism to the point where you can be considered to lead the church means not being too forward-thinking. In fact, let's take a gander at the top five candidates – according to, of course, a betting website – and see what they might bring to the table:
Candidate: Peter Turkson, cardinal from Ghana and president of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace since 2009.
But: He believes church-related sex scandals have not been as prevalent in Africa as the rest of the world because they're not as gay over there. Really.
Candidate: Angelo Scola, Italian cardinal and Archbishop of Milan.
But: Considered the favourite because he's the most “Ratzinger” of candidates which, well, is probable evidence enough as to why he shouldn't be elected.
Candidate: Tarcisio Bertone, Italian cardinal and Cardinal Secretary of State.
But: Also believes the church's child sex scandals are due to a homosexual infiltration of the church. Which, if true, will be the most hilarious conspiracy of all time.
Candidate: Mark Ouellet, Canadian cardinal, and prefect of the Congregation of Bishops, and president of the Pontifical Commission for Latin America. Mark is a man of many hats who wants to trade them all in for one giant one.
But: No abortion even in cases of rape, he believes. “There's already a victim,” he said, “should we be making another?”
Candidate: Leonardo Sandri, cardinal from Argentina.
But: He believes Christians were way better off in Iraq under Saddam Hussein's rule than they are now. Which may actually make some sense, but certainly won't win him any favours here among American Catholics.
So, what's the lesson? It's just a sad reminder that the best thing about that horrendous Alien vs. Predator movie is its tagline, which is once again appropriate to unpack here.
Onto the roundup!
- Speaking of that hilariously bumbling Catholic Church, oh man, you are going to want to read GQ's piece about the whole VatiLeaks scandal.
- According to preacher-guy Christopher West, men are supposed to bang women because that's the “story” God's given us with the penises and vaginas. Satan, therefore, is behind gay marriage.
- Tony Perkins, that terrible person behind the Family Research Council and, not-so-coincidentally, shares a name with the actor who's best known for portraying an insane transvestite murderer, wants us all to sign a petition that will force the Boy Scouts to continue getting rid of gay kids.
- A man in Del Mar, California was busted for trying to rape women he met off ChristianMingle.com.
- An Israeli soldier posted an Instagram of a Palestinian child at the end of his gun's crosshairs. People, as you'd imagine, aren't too happy.
- Puerto Rico's Supreme Court, a place that's predominantly Catholic, upheld the nation's ban on allowing gay couples to adopt children.
- Apparently NARAL, a pro-choice group, has been spending the last year going door-to-door with pro-life activists in order to videotape interviews about their stance. The goal: Fire up members of their own group by showing how insane the pro-lifer side is.
- In the Sudan, members of an Arab militia killed at least 50 people. Meanwhile in northern Mali, 13 soldiers from Chad and 65 al-Qaeda-linked rebels died in the bloodiest skirmish yet in that region.
- In Bangladesh, protestors are calling for the heads of bloggers who are accused of “maligning Islam and the Prophet Mohammed.” During one particularly rough outburst, at least four people were killed.
- After finding out the church he was scheduled to speak at is led by a man who believes Islam is a religion that promotes pedophilia and that all Jews and gays are going to hell – or maybe, more likely, after finding out members of the media found out these are the church's views – quarterback/religious-icon-thing Tim Tebow cancelled his appearance.
- In Nigeria, an Islamist group with ties to al-Qaeda kidnapped seven foreigners because of “the transgression and atrocities done to the religion of Allah by the European countries in many places such as Afghanistan and Mali.”
- After crunching the numbers, Senator Lindsey Graham believes that America's probably killed right around 4,700 people in drone strikes. Al-Qaeda, meanwhile, released 22 tips for trying to dodge those pesky drones.
- Jimmy Hales, a gay Mormon, spent the last year coming out to his family and friends and videotaping their reactions. The awkwardness of the reactions are fun, but the whole thing itself seems a bit more insidious. Here, for instance, is the end of the video's description: “I'm still, and will forever be, a faithful Mormon. So it looks like I'm not going to marry and therefore live a single life through this mortal existence. Sucks.” This certainly sounds like those religious gay-bashers who argue that people should “choose” to be “morally right” by not being gay. And that's a dangerous way of thinking.
- And Our Person of the Week: Whoever the anonymous New York City subway rider was who, instead of simply listening to anti-gay rantings of a street preacher, decided he was going to give some pro-love preaching right back at him.
- And Our Second Person of the Week: Jim Cegielski, owner of a small Mississippi newspaper who put a gay marriage story on the front cover. The paper's offices were immediately deluged with hate-based phone calls and letters from readers canceling subscriptions, but Cegielski refused to bow down. Instead he wrote and published an intelligent and passionate defense, which has since gone viral. As a result, the paper's gained twice as many subscribers as they lost.