Pontificating The Same Hard Line With Humility and Sly Softness

By Donald A. Collins | 2 August 2013
Church and State

(Photo by Ashwin Vaswani on Unsplash)

Widely heralded as a great break through, on his return flight to Rome from a huge 3 million person mass on the Copacabana Beach in Rio, Pope Francis had a long press conference with reporters in which he spoke about Gays and the gay lobby. The new Pope Francis (supreme Pontiff–what does that phrase mean–read my comment later??) implied that he might view one of the supreme ironies of his sect’s belief’s differently when he pontificated that
“Who am I to judge a gay person?”

As Huffington tells us, “on the plane back to Rome, Francis spoke about gays and the reported “gay lobby.” According to the Wall Street Journal, the Pope’s comments about homosexuality came in the context of a question about gay priests.”

There is much talk these days about gay life and particularly the rights of gay people in the USA to marry. Human rights are under constant threat from institutional both secular and religious power.

For example, there have been constant threats against a woman’s human right to decide when and under what circumstances she will bear a child. Our government has passed laws about how far into her pregnancy she can abort. These laws step between a woman and her physician, which leads to stepping on her human rights in favor of a fetus, which is still legally not a person!

But no one could doubt the secular power constantly exercised by the RCC. Thus my thesis. Religion frequently steps on obvious human rights with its rules. If you buy in, you get to follow those rules or leave. In the case of the Catholic Church, its rules provide an untenable and unrealizable and ultimately despicable formula for disaster.

Basic to human rights is sexual preference. Putting young males in the priesthood and saying “No Sex” is simply not sane.

Thus that we have witnessed a long running widespread pedophile scandal within the RCC really should–and did not–surprise us, although it disgusted all of us.

But then, like our misguided government, we continue to admonish gay behavior when some percentage of all humans were genetically stamped to be attracted to people of the same sex.

As a long time San Francisco resident, I live in a city which has embraced gay people and where they participate in the full range of political and social life with less and less overall societal stigma.

Acts of inconsistency both from individuals and government are common. After all it was a conservative, up tight straight male who on the same day murdered both SF’s mayor, definitely not gay, and a gay supervisor (e.g. member of the city council).

Since human behavior has only been measured for a relatively brief time in the billions of years the Earth has been evolving (some guess 60,000), we have a lot to learn.

Governance by secular or religious bodies has been frequently inane and often dangerously repressive of basic human rights.

Pope Francis’ statement “Who am I to judge a gay person?” is both laughable and laudable.

How can a misguided sect encourage gays into its leadership and not expect them to exercise their natural sexual behavior? Priestly marriage in earlier days of the RCC was common and natural, but the greed of these earlier holy fathers was such that banning marriage meant a priest’s earthly possessions went to the church at his death. Hardly a holy reason for celibacy.

The irony of the Pontiff’s words puts us all on notice that this religion and any other that treats sex with a loving partner or even a casual consenting one as a mortal sin comes a cropper in today’s world.

By the way Pontiff comes from the Latin meaning “high bridge to make”. As Washington Post Columnist, Ruth Marcus, suggested in her excellent opinion piece, perhaps the Pontiff is going out of the pontificating business. She says,

He carried his own bag to Brazil, and thought it was no big deal. “It’s normal to carry a bag,” he said. “I’m a bit surprised that the image of the bag made its way around the world. Anyway, it wasn’t the suitcase with the codes for the nuclear bomb.”

But carrying his bag doth not a liberal make! Don’t bet on his stopping pontificating! His bridge to make is one fewer and fewer enlightened well educated souls find appealing.

But really the heavy hand of this monotheistic male dominated religion, like all such faiths, ignores basic human rights which should allow both sexes to participate as equals in their highest councils. Yes, a woman Pope!

Not that I care, as I will not waste a single hour trapped in the stifling presence of any religion that ignores such basic human rights as modern birth control and the right to terminate an unwanted pregnancy. Love in religious chains is not love but tyranny.

Francis may be humble, but he in his heart he evinces and maintains all the beliefs that have made this religion so onerous to its many naive believers for a long time. Unfortunately, he is far from alone and the interference of extreme religious beliefs secularly exercised on our governance at all levels is becoming more and more odious.

Former US Navy officer, banker and venture capitalist, Donald A. Collins, a free lance writer living in Washington, DC., has spent over 40 years working for women’s reproductive health as a board member and/or officer of numerous family planning organizations including Planned Parenthood Federation of America, Guttmacher Institute, Family Health International and Ipas. Yale under graduate, NYU MBA. He is the author of From the Dissident Left: A Collection of Essays 2004-2013.

From the Dissident Left: A Collection of Essays 2004-2013

By Donald A. Collins
Publisher: Church and State Press (July 30, 2014)
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  1. I live in Mexico City where a whole majority of population is catholic. There was huge opposition from RCC to pass the law that allow same sex couples to marry. They also opposed to the abortion bill. To no avail.

    I’m atheist but I can see why Protestants and Catholics alike oppose to gay marriage and abortion. There are bible passages in all versions of the bible that say that homosexuality is a sin. Some might disagree with this but there’s no way you can change the bible. It’s even more difficult that this change will come from the leaders of the Christian world.

    I can respect the opposition of Christians to same sex marriage and not consider that opposition evil per se. I’m guessing they are following their principles. But what enrages me is that congressmen bend to the will of religious leaders. They should rule for everybody.

    If the Mexico City Government could ignore the opposition of religious groups and do the right thing and allowing civil ceremonies and recognition of those union to same sex couples I don’t see why in America they wouldn’t do the same.

    Constitution should be above the tyranny of the majority and protect all their citizens rights in spite of their gender, sexual orientation or social condition.


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