So, here's what Pope Francis brings to the table:
- He's a guy who, famously, cooks his own meals, rides the bus to work, and lives in a single apartment rather than the palace befitting an archbishop. What a man of the people! These are all good things! But also:
- Frank's not really into abortion at all or contraception or same-sex marriage. His views when it comes to “progressive issues” are pretty much the same as the last guy's, meaning he thinks people who think these are alright are damned to Hell. Gay adoption is also a big no-no with Frank. Which, you know, of course. It's not like a bunch of crusty old white dudes are going to lock themselves in a room for a few days just to elect someone with a liberal viewpoint.
- He also wants to make sure priests are still forced to be celibate, a rule that certainly doesn't help keep the church free and clear of pedophiles.
- “Are we to believe that Buenos Aires has been spared the moral rot and corruption found almost everywhere else in the Catholic clergy? Or, more likely, do we have another cardinal who looked the other way, and studiously avoided confrontation with the 'filth' in the church, no matter the danger to children or to the cause of the church?” asked Michael Brendan Dougherty in Slate.
- He possibly didn't speak out about the various human rights abuses going on during the military takeover of Argentina.
- He's a 76-year-old man whose every little stumble is going to be met with all sorts of gasps and shrieks of horror because, let's be frank, Francis, you're not a spring chicken.
Maybe it's fitting that the actor playing il Papa in Showtime's upcoming series The Vatican is most famous for playing another European leader with, let's say, controversial views.
Onto the roundup!
- In other Catholic news, last week it was learned that the Vatican purchased a share of an apartment block in Rome that coincidentally happens to house the biggest gay sauna in all of Europe.
- A 22-year-old Palestinian was shot dead by Israeli soldiers after a group of protestors threw a gasoline bomb into a crowd of Israeli cars. He's the sixth Palestinian to be killed since the beginning of the year. On the same day, an Israeli military helicopter crashed, killing the two people aboard. Speaking of, if you haven't yet, make sure to check out the amazing film 5 Broken Cameras, a first-hand account of the goings-on in one particular West Bank village, currently streaming on Netflix.
- Remember that weird Opus Dei sect of super-Catholics who use underhanded and allegedly deadly ways to promote the business of the church? Turns out, they're probably using their creepy methods to get Ireland to criminalize abortion.
- John Eastman, chairman of the National Organization of Marriage (an antigay organization that goes by the unintentionally hilarious abbreviation of NOM) called Supreme Court John Roberts's decision to adopt two children the “second-best” option for the kids, next to the children's birth parents. If you have any friends who are adopted, or if you're adopted yourself, you know how offensive this comment is.
- A suicide bomber blew himself up at a goat-polo game in Afghanistan, killing 10 spectators. Also in Afghanistan, President Hamid Karzai accused the Taliban and the US of working together in order to convince citizens of the country that violence will continue there if foreign troops leave.
- The “ringleader” of the gang-rape/murder that occurred on a bus in New Delhi last December killed himself in his cell before the trial. Pretty much everyone suspects he was murdered.
- At least 25 people died during a series of coordinated bomb attacks in Baghdad. Local folks are pointing towards Sunni Muslim insurgents as being responsible.
- Speaking of Iraq, a new report was released detailing how much the war cost. Some highlights: More than 189,000 total war deaths; at least 123,000 civilians killed; more than 6,600 US soldiers and 3,000 US contractors killed; and well over $2 trillion spent.
- Move over, Arkansas. North Dakota is trying to become the state with the most restrictive abortion laws in the country, attempting to pass two pieces of legislation, one to ban the procedure after six weeks into a pregnancy and one prohibiting women from getting it done if their fetus has a birth defect.
- You know Westboro Baptist Church head Fred Phelps, that guy who's always rallying against the homosexuals? He may be a gay himself! (Of course.)
- A woman in Indiana is suing her Catholic Church after they refused to install the $9,600 headstone she purchased for her deceased husband that memorializes his passions: it's shaped like a couch and features images of a deer, a dog, a NASCAR logo, and the symbol for the Indianapolis Colts.
- “When ejaculation occurs inside of a colon, it is a highly absorbent material, the cells do not have a barrier for the sperm and those enzymes to enter into the bloodflow. When the enzymes enter into the bloodflow and a continued, prolonged, um, environment to that happens these enzymes into bloodflow it causes what we know as AIDS,” says a pastor speaking before the Minnesota state house to try to get them to ban same-sex marriage.
- Male prisoners in Palestinian jails who are in there for various anti-Israel offenses are smuggling out their sperm in order to impregnate their wives.
- Hooray for America! We're the least religious we've ever been! More than one third of 18- to 24-year-olds say they follow “no religion.”
- And Our Person of the Week: Senator Rob Portman, a Republican—which perhaps may be our first in Persons of the Week—who came out in favor of gay marriage last week after his son came out as gay. While many will look at this as nothing until Portman starts introducing some pro-gay-marriage bills—don't hold your breath—or suggests that the change in stance is somehow diminished because of his reasons for doing so, he's the biggest sitting GOP congressman to take the stance, and that means something.
Previously - Religiosity Is Killing in Mississippi