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The New Pope

September 19, 2013

I’ve been thinking for some time about the election of Pope Francis. It may seem strange that an atheist like me is so concerned about the election of a new Pope, but not if you actually consider who the Pope is and what he signifies.

The Pope is the leader of the largest religious organization in the world, a man whose every word carries the tremendous weight of authority for the members of that organization. When the Pope embraces the virtues of compassion, mercy and love in his demeanor and expresses them in his words and actions, he is a powerful force for good in the world. When he embraces the cold and bleak philosophy of the dark ages, and uses his words and actions to divide and degrade other human beings, he is a force that undermines actual morality and ethics.

I don’t agree with Pope Francis on every issue. We’ll never agree on issues as diverse as the existence of god, the reality of miracles, the power of prayer, the suitability of women for the priesthood, the right of a woman to control her own body, and many more. Nonetheless, when he makes statements I disagree with, he does it without rancor and the appearance of hatred. Maybe its the Jesuit in him, but his words reflect deep thought and contemplation, rather than the knee-jerk habits of the reactionary.

I’m cautiously optimistic that Pope Francis will live up to the promise he’s shown thus far. His humility, compassion and piety seem authentic to me.

Talking Points Memo has a very article exploring some of the reasons I’ve been impressed by what I’ve seen so far.


From → Culture Wars, Reason

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