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Thu May 23, 2013, 08:56 PM

 

Pope Francis is changing people's lives

When I was growing up, Papa Goldstein, a veteran, told me of how a Catholic member of his Army unit said he felt really sad, because my dad was a nice guy but he was going to Hell. Jewish, you know. Fate was sealed.

Similar thing happened to me in college. In the midst of a session involving adult beverages, I jokingly asked a Catholic fraternity-mate if I was going to Hell. His response was no joke - he tensed up, got defensive, and wouldn't answer. I was blown away. And this was not Liberty University, if you know what I mean.

I wasn't actually worried about going to Hell, of course. And it was disturbing to see such a high-functioning individual believing in such things. But what blew me away was the sense of separation I suddenly felt between me and my buddy. He didn't think of us as exactly a brotherhood of people: he saw me as an outsider, a very different person with a very different trajectory.

As I've moved through life, I've come to accept that seeing others as outsiders is the root of all evil. We cannot hurt what we know to be the same as us. When we think others are different, the hurt becomes more abstract and easier to inflict for a few shekels or some other cheap thrill.

So it gives me tremendous pleasure to read that Pope Francis seems to believe that good people are good people, that Catholics don't have a monopoly on redemption. Perhaps I'm misunderstanding, but it seems like a tremendous step forward for the Church and for humanity. We are all basically the same schlubs, trying to have decent lives, who basically want to do the right thing.

I hope that Francis' move means that my son doesn't have to deal with such weirdness in a few years when he's out drinking with his buddies. And that it will be easier some portion of our planet's 1.2 billion Catholics to feel closer to the other 4.8 billion of us. And vice-versa.

I understand that the Pope isn't OK with gays, gay marriage, abortion, and married priests. And probably a bunch of other things. But remember, that's how 90% of people in the US, and probably on Earth, felt about those things just 25 years ago. And Francis doesn't seem to shun anyone - he just disagrees, but will gladly wash their feet.

I may be a pollyanna here (me, a pollyanna?) but seems like Pope Francis has moved his Church's point of view forward by centuries during his brief tenure in Rome. That's quite a lurch, and I'm beginning to understand why the Jesuits are known as God's Marines. This seems to be one heck of a forced march.

I sure hope that Francis moves the dial on the time machine all the way up to the present. But for now, Francis seems to be a bit of lightness on a globe that seems otherwise quite dark these days.

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Response to MannyGoldstein (Original post)

Thu May 23, 2013, 09:14 PM

1. this being the same man who said that if you don't pray to the lord, you are praying to the devil?

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Response to MannyGoldstein (Original post)

Thu May 23, 2013, 09:16 PM

2. I usually agree with you, but Francis' anti-abortion stance is anti-WOMEN. Over half the world

 

population. As long as he chooses POTENTIAL life - and in some cases NO life at all, since the Catholic church forbids abortion even of non-viable fetuses, even to spare the life of the mother - over the women whose pregnancies will kill or seriously harm them - Francis is only one of the same MALE schlubs. Women need NOT apply.

To Francis, women are for one thing, and one thing only - carrying fetuses to term, regardless of what it costs them (and their other children, if they have them, spouses, other family members, etc.). Whatever light Francis may be shedding pales beside the darkness he is casting on the women whose lives his policy is to end in favor of a clump of cells.

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Response to MannyGoldstein (Original post)

Thu May 23, 2013, 09:16 PM

3. so he is gonna allow the heathens into heaven because he has that power? so much for his god lol nt

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Response to MannyGoldstein (Original post)

Thu May 23, 2013, 09:17 PM

4. I agree...

 

I have been really impressed with this man so far and how he is using his platform. Thanks for posting.

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Response to MannyGoldstein (Original post)

Thu May 23, 2013, 10:33 PM

5. He'll get over it soon enough.

And will say something to get back in the good graces of those who want all Jews to move to Israel so Baby Jesus™ can come back and destroy it and them before stomping the entire earth flat and sending infidels to burn in hell.

Nothin' sez lovin' like eternity in the oven!

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Response to xfundy (Reply #5)

Fri May 24, 2013, 12:42 AM

6. I love that last line, xfundy!

Francis is pretty clever, I'll give him that. It must be that Jesuit training. He goes back and forth with his pronouncements, getting conservatives on his side by trashing gay people, and then getting liberals on his side by trashing capitalism. He's trying to build this cult of personality around himself, and by extension, the Catholic Church. Some of us see it for what it is.

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Response to MannyGoldstein (Original post)

Fri May 24, 2013, 02:10 PM

7. On one not-so-minor point, you're out of date.

 

You hope "that it will be easier some portion of our planet's 1.2 billion Catholics to feel closer to the other 4.8 billion of us."

I remember for years using 6 billion as the rough number for Earth's population. In approximately October of 2011, though, we hit 7 billion, with no halt to the relentless increase seen in the near future. (One common projection is that we stabilize at around 9 billion a few decades from now.)

This isn't completely tangential to your post about Pope Francis. The Catholic Church continues to exert its considerable power to resist reproductive rights (contraception and abortion), and thus contributes to the population growth that is so inimical to just about any sensible policy goal one can name.

As an agnostic, I join you in welcoming Francis's rejection of the Church's past attitudes toward non-Catholics. That doesn't get him a free pass on the other stuff, though.

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Response to MannyGoldstein (Original post)

Fri May 24, 2013, 05:29 PM

8. Pope Francis only reiterated what is already in the Catechism of the Catholic Church, and...

 

something your buddy probably was ignorant of. Look up "virtuous pagans" and other doctrines, for the historical basis of his statements. Note, these generally only apply to those who either never heard of Catholic Doctrine, or never were lead to believe in it, me, I'm going to hell according to the Church, because I'm a proud apostate.

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Response to Humanist_Activist (Reply #8)

Fri May 24, 2013, 06:32 PM

9. the historical doctrine you refer to is a bit different and was re-affirmed after francis misspoke.

 

"virtuous pagans" refers to the doctrine that those who lead good lives without knowledge of the catholic church's monopoly on received wisdom can get a special ignoramus pass to heaven. Those of us, on the other hand, who have rejected the idiotic bullshit of the catholic church along with all the other imbecilic pre-enlightenment nonsense of the religions of the world, we are still doomed for eternity.

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