Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Francis, First of his name

There's a new Pope. He's different than the old Pope, because he's from Argentina. Oh, he's still white, and male, and old, but he's from Argentina. Doesn't that make a huge difference? No? Well. It's still a first, and it's interesting. I also find interesting that he's committed to the idea of apostolic poverty: he lives (lived) in a small apartment, he takes (took) public transportation, he cooks for himself (maybe still he'll do this?). He took the name Francis, after Francis of Assisi who was a similarly devoted follower of poverty. And that, at least, is pretty new. Sadly, he's still got the same old problems: anti-gay positions, anti-women positions, pedophilia cover up issues (even if he's not as compromised, probably, as Benedict was on that issue). And he's not going to have very long to make any impact, because he's 76. So is this important? I wish it wasn't. I wish nobody cared who the head of the Catholic Church was, because he was just a gentle influence to the good for his followers. But he's not, really. He's a world figure, and traditionally much of his power and influence has been used to suppress freedoms and stifle dissent. And this, for the vestigial impression that it's something new, is really just more of the same.

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