Lots of pixels across the blogosphere are being expended on Pope Francis's interview with America, the Jesuit magazine, about tolerance and the Church focusing overly on abortion, gay marriage and contraception. I know this isn't my usual guns-and/or sports beat, but some thoughts anyway. Slog is usually dead on Fridays in any case.
Four things occur to me:
First, as a product of Jesuit education (raised in one of the few parishes manned (priested?) by Jesuits, educated from high school through BA by Jesuits) I am not surprised to find that the first Jesuit pope seems to be returning to first principles enumerated in the Gospels. To be a Jesuit, one must be a scholar first. Their route to ordination is arduous and intellectually challenging.
Second, as someone who learned to question first principles, with reason, by Jesuits, my atheism is based on reason and reading and thinking, and is not going to be undone by Francis. I doubt his relative tolerance will attract lots of recovering Catholics back the fold.
Third, as someone who would love to see the world live by the philosophy of Jesus in the Gospels (with its parallels in every other world religion), hey, yes, bring on the Golden Rule, Love One Another, Peace. Don't worry so much about who's fucking or marrying whom, or who's using what in bed.
Fourth: good luck with all of that warm and fuzzy hope and change. Francis will be battling against the entire institution of the Church in the Vatican, and down the hierarchy in the parts of the world where the Church has thrived under John Paul II and Benedict XVI: South America, Asia, Africa. And in the places like Boston and New York and Chicago where cardinals routinely fulminate against abortion, same sex marriage, and contraception 24/7, while muttering under their breath against the death penalty, cuts in food stamps, and other matters that Jesus himself might’ve been a bit more engaged with. Francis has to deal with the bishops and cardinals and the thousands of priests they have ordained who grew up with the old regime, and who will not be changing their ways any time soon, no matter what the guy at the top says.