The problem with the new Pope? Two words: Lip Service.
Pope Francis is making news all over the world with his new liberal stances. He drives his own car, he often goes out without bodyguards, he humbly washes the feet of the sick and he has even replaced the old opulent papal throne with a wooden chair.
But what has he actually done for the many people suffering from the past and present oppression of the Catholic Church? Has he lifted the ban on condoms? No, and people in Africa, and indeed all over the world, are still getting unnecessarily pregnant and spreading AIDS, as well as other venereal diseases, because of it.
Has he even addressed the problem with priests sexually abusing children entrusted to their care? No, other than to say that he’ll look into it. The New York Times of Dec. 5th, 2013, Elisabetta Povoledo, Alan Cowell, and Rick Gladstone write:
“In his first concrete step to address the clerical sexual-abuse problem in the Roman Catholic Church, Pope Francis will establish a commission to advise him on protecting children from pedophile priests and on how to counsel victims, the Vatican said Thursday.” and “Whether the new commission portends a significant change in how the Vatican deals with abusive priests and their protectors remains to be seen”
On November 27th, 2013, the Democracy Now website wrote that the Pope is reported to have lambasted the “Tyranny of Capitalism” and “Idolatry of Money,” all the while sitting on one the largest piles of gold, artwork, real estate and cash in the world; a product of 2,000 years of accumulation. Much of that wealth was accumulated through war and the horrendous methods of the Inquisition.
What does the Pope do about sharing even the smallest part of this “Idolatry” with the poor, as Jesus commanded? Nothing, unless you consider turning a palace into a soup kitchen. (Even then, the Church still retains ownership.) The money still sits there accruing its capitalistic interest and benefiting none but those in the church’s hierarchy.
Women, above all, have suffered under the centuries of Catholic oppression. They are not allowed to be priests, they have no rights where their own bodies are concerned, and indeed, are second-class citizens throughout the Catholic establishment.
According to ACLU.org (Dec. 2, 2013): One woman, Tamesha, suffered at the hands of Catholic doctors practicing their one-sided brand of health-care. Tamesha made the simple mistake of thinking that all hospitals were alike in that they would 1) give her every care they could to help her and 2) not lie to her.
Tamesha was only 18 weeks pregnant when her water broke prematurely. She rushed to Mercy Health—the only hospital within half an hour of where she lived. The hospital did not tell her then that she had little chance of a successful pregnancy, that she was at risk if she tried to continue the pregnancy, and that the safest course of care in her case was to end it. The hospital simply sent her home.
She came back the next day, bleeding and in pain, and again was turned away. Again, she was not told of the risks of trying to continue the pregnancy, or what her treatment options were. Tamesha returned yet a third time—by now suffering a significant infection. The hospital was prepared to send her away once more, when she started to deliver.
When the baby did arrive, it died within hours. According to the legal complaint, it had no chance of survival and the doctors knew it. But they withheld that information from her to make sure she didn’t try to get an abortion.
The Pope has done nothing about the rampant misogyny in the Catholic Church. On this he has not even admitted that there is a problem. He appears to be in complete denial on this issue.
Yes, the Pope seems to be more concerned with human suffering than any recent pope. At least that’s what his words imply, and maybe some of his own personal idiosyncrasies reflect that. But before we go erecting statues to him, or giving him a Nobel Prize, maybe we should consider what actions he has taken to actually alleviate any human suffering.
He is in a position to do great good, but so far he has done nothing. He does seem to have a far better attitude, and shows more compassion, towards the suffering of his fellow man than many of his predecessors, but what has he done? What actions has he taken to reflect that attitude? All of the anti-women, anti-abortion, anti-condom, anti-gay dictates are still in place; and if appearances mean anything, they’re going to be there for a while to come.