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Wednesday, April 20, 2005

They Were Hoping for a Pope Who Wasn’t Really Catholic

There is a noisy group of folks who seem to have believed that the Pope shouldn’t actually be Catholic. They wanted a Pope who would toss out two millennia of tradition, teaching, and belief in favor or precisely what? The first Unitarian Pope?

We all know by now that Andrew Sullivan was hoping for the first gay Pope (even if he won’t say it in quite that way). Similarly, Mark Morford was hoping for Pope Morford I.

See, most spiritually progressive peoples the world over were sort of hoping for a new pope who would recognize this as a historic opportunity, an unprecedented moment for the church to finally get with the times, modernize, shake off the dust and roll some bones and pry open some of those old dungeon doors and bring in some goddamn light. 

You know what we wanted? More sex. Love. Good TV. Gender freedom. Better wine. Less sneering doctrine and homophobia and sexism and more fun with condoms and music and spiritual joy. But, instead, we got you.

What bugs me most about this is that there is no honesty in this kind of an attack. The first, and most dishonest, bit is that Morford doesn’t bother admitting that he isn’t Catholic. In fact, he makes a good part of his career on bashing Christians and Christianity. His statement about “most spiritually progressive peoples” is as biased as it is unwieldy (Peoples? Was this just a typo or was he truly trying to make a plural more plural?). He wants us to use his definition of what a progressive Christian should look like, never mind that he doesn’t actually claim Christianity for himself.

Isn’t that something like a Baptist trying to tell Anton LeVay how to be a better Satanist?

The truth is that I don’t agree with the Catholic Church’s teachings on some things that I consider very important. And while I’ll happily, and vocally, disagree, I wouldn’t be caught telling members of the Church that they hired the wrong guy to represent their beliefs--all I would really be saying is that they hired the wrong guy to represent my beliefs. I don’t think Mark Morford can see the difference because I don’t think the man is capable of civil disagreement; there is one path to righteousness, and he leads the way.

Morford offers up 14 ideas, meant, I’m sure, to be wildly entertaining. Instead, most of it is just juvenile and irritating--a list as meaningless as his approval of the Pope (or the Church, or of Christianity in general). Maybe we should pool together and come up with “14 Ways for Mark Morford to be Less of an Ass.” I’m sure it would have just as much of a lasting impact on him as his little harangue will have on the Catholic Church.

Read Morford’s article.

Update: Sparkle has linked us up with some thoughts on the subject.

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