I will collect you and capture you

Don’t lighten up, Francis:

Pope Francis is warning that the Catholic Church’s moral edifice might “fall like a house of cards” if it doesn’t balance its divisive rules about abortion, gays and contraception with the greater need to make the church a merciful, more welcoming place for all.

[….]

“The church’s pastoral ministry cannot be obsessed with the transmission of a disjointed multitude of doctrines to be imposed insistently,” (Pope) Francis said. “We have to find a new balance; otherwise even the moral edifice of the church is likely to fall like a house of cards, losing the freshness and fragrance of the Gospel.”

Of course, Francis is the ostensible head of this organization he is criticizing, so….Just words! Use the bully pulpit more! Be a leader!

The reality is we are living in an age where individual leaders — presidents, popes, Speakers of the House — don’t have that much power. I don’t know much about how the Vatican works but I did read that Ratzinger decided at some point that he himself couldn’t control the organization at all, so I suspect Francis can’t either.

But if Francis can move the church even a little bit away from its obsession with green balloons, it will be a big fucking deal. The American Catholic Church has become a big Republican PAC, and conservative leaders made it into one by using issues like abortion and gay marriage. If that changes, it could make big difference in American politics.






81 replies
  1. 1
    Mnemosyne says:

    Most of the American bishops and cardinals seem to have forgotten that the anti-abortion stuff is supposed to be part of a “seamless garment” that also covers things like fair wages, support for families, and health care.

  2. 2
    AdamK says:

    I don’t care how welcoming and fragrant a motherfucker gets, he’s still a motherfucker.

  3. 3
    Kerry Reid says:

    Well, the church leadership may act as a GOP PAC, but the Catholic voters still chose Obama over Romney.

  4. 4
    Ben Franklin says:

    When he cleans his own house of ill-repute, I’ll start paying attention, or can we just blame all this on Congress? Does he have the power to oust the pedophile PAC?

  5. 5

    Q: Who do you want me to be to make you sleep with me?

    A: An altar boy

  6. 6
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    Damn me, if I believed in god, this guy could probably draw me back in to the fold. He’d also have to actually remove the crotch-sniffers and money launderers who run the American council of bishops or whatever it’s called.

  7. 7

    @Mnemosyne: I think most American churches, Protestant or Catholic, forget that. We’re pretty guilty of buffet style Christianity, to the point where Christian values have been re-defined to simply mean opposition to abortion and homosexuality, instead of Love, compassion, mercy, equality, and a focus on people instead of the things our culture tells us to value (money, power, possessions.)

    I like that Francis is actually addressing this.

  8. 8
    John O says:

    I’m digging this new Pope. He could get the Catholic Church into the late 19th Century.

  9. 9
    pharniel says:

    Unless and until he starts excommunicating people en masse and recalling and replacing the bishops and cardinals it’ll continue…

    Of course he may just be biding his time until he has enough support to do so – floating balloons as they say to see how the rest of the world and his org react. Papal bulls still pull a whole lot of weight – it’s just that like the president the powers he has at his disposal are either so subtle and long term that they’re almost unnoticeable or utterly unsubtle and cause massive disruption.

  10. 10
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Kerry Reid:

    The red beanie brigade is a group of fascist shitstains who have no problem with priests buggering little boys and girls, but get seriously pissed off when adults have consensual sex with other adults that has nothing to do with making more little boys and girls for priests to bugger.

  11. 11
    Alexandra says:

    Expect a Sully paroxym within the next few hours.

  12. 12
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @John O:

    Hell, if he can get it to the mid 18th Century, it will be a major improvement.

  13. 13
    hildebrand says:

    Francis is definitely going to be giving Dolan heartburn again today. That makes me deliriously happy.

    I was as skeptical as anyone when he was elected, but Francis continues to give me a sliver of hope.

  14. 14
    Trinity says:

    I love ‘Stripes’. I think I will watch it again this weekend.

    This Francis cat sounds like good people.

  15. 15
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    The red beanie brigade in this country has joined the prosperity gospel heretics in their naked rejection of Jesus and their worship of Mammon.

    Wipe them out. All of them.

  16. 16
    AdamK says:

    I can’t help picturing Don Corleone putting an orange peel in his mouth and chasing his grandson around the garden. What a sweet guy that Vito was.

  17. 17
    Felinious Wench says:

    Yeah, there’s still a TON of issues with the Catholic Church. I’m not going to wholesale say “It’s a good place yet.” But I’m not going to dismiss the new Pope out of hand. I like the man. I like that he pisses off the Catholic morality police. I am enjoying him tremendously. And I wish him well and support him, even if I am a heathen Episcopalian.

    Good on you, sir.

  18. 18
    The Red Pen says:

    F1 is ruining B16’s plan to create a smaller, purer, crueler Catholic Church.

    The Freeper like to point out that Francis was a fierce critic of “liberation theology” when he was in South America. I think they’re missing the finer points (as usual), but so far Francis is proving to be adept at changing the conversation without being identifiably radical — which is pretty key in his highly-political position.

  19. 19
    Elizabelle says:

    Very pleasantly surprised.

    Viva Francis. Hope he lives a long life and puts his ideas into practice.

    I never understood the veneration for John Paul II. Highly conservative and did squat about the child abuse scandals, save reminding young priests they must “be perfect.”

    Which is probably why he’s on the fast track to sainthood.

  20. 20
    eric says:

    I can hear them now “did we say white smoke? we meant green smoke.”

  21. 21
    RaflW says:

    I’m actually fairly hopeful about this. I work closely with a number of progressive social justice Catholics in the Twin Cities area, and the local bishop has been aggressively trying to silence many Catholics for the past few years.

    As you say, what the Pope pontificates on (the only person who really gets to do that!) can’t override the local Bishop. But it can embolden local parishes to push back against said Bishop. Its a start, at least.

  22. 22
    Gex says:

    Having spent two decades fomenting hate and passing marriage bans, it is far too easy to get credit for “not interfering” with gays’ lives. New York City has had a rash of anti-gay beatings and murders. Violence against gays has risen during the time the Catholic Church has been campaigning against gay marriage.

    Once you set the machinery in motion, sure, you don’t need to lift a finger. Good for you, Frankie. I’ll reconsider my opinion on the Church as soon as you call off your goons. As soon as gays in the other 37 states have marriage rights. My gut tells me the Catholic Church will still be fighting marriage in those states until the bitter end.

    Also, you need to stop pushing for “religious protections” laws that let places like hospitals ignore Power of Attorney agreements between two men because it violates their religious beliefs.

    Oh, you guys need to actually indicate that you will call the police the next time a priest rapes a kid. Instead of keep a paper trail and circulate the monsters around to a fresh batch of kids.

    Until then I have no use for your words.

  23. 23
    carbon dated says:

    “We have to find a new balance; otherwise even the moral edifice of the church is likely to fall like a house of cards, losing the freshness and fragrance of the Gospel.

    Jeez Franny, throw a banana in there and you got a metaphor smoothie.

  24. 24

    from the twitters: New Pope. Surprisingly better than Classic Pope.

  25. 25
    Woodrowfan says:

    how dare that bastard not fix a half century or more or church problems in a few months. What a lazy SOB! It reminds me of how Obama failed to end years worth of anti-LGBT oppression his first month in office.

  26. 26
    Gex says:

    @Kerry Reid: Yes, but they were allowed in most cases to vote on gay marriage as a stand alone issue – so they could vote a straight Dem ticket and still vote to ban marriage in state constitutions.

  27. 27
    chopper says:

    @carbon dated:

    If we hit that bullseye, the rest of the dominoes should fall like a house of cards. Checkmate!

  28. 28
    boatboy_srq says:

    @Alexandra: Equally, cue Bill Donahue to denounce both this statement and its maker as being somehow “anti-Catholic.”

  29. 29
    Gex says:

    And yes, I am fucking pissed off and bitter. I did not get to marry Kate before she died. And I am getting REAMED trying to keep what was mine. And the Catholic Church was the biggest force behind that. If the members of the Church aren’t as anti-gay as the leadership, good for them. But you know what? It changes not one thing about how their collective power and money fucked my life.

    Ratzinger of all people should know. You can only play the “hate the other” game for so long before there is no turning back.

  30. 30
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    Francis has no easy task ahead of him. He’s going up against an entrenched bureaucracy that seems to think that molesting altar boys is one of the perks of their position.

  31. 31

    When you read some of the things he says, it’s almost like he’s a Jesuit.

  32. 32
    Rekster says:

    Unfortunately, Francis is in the same boat as John Boehner trying to “control” the crazy people in his party!

  33. 33
    Emma says:

    So what’s the over-under on how soon they find him dead sitting up in bed with absolutely no clue how he died and absolutely no way to find out because they embalmed him and buried him before a doctor could check?

  34. 34
    Cacti says:

    When he turns Bernard Law over for prosecution, then I might pay attention to anything his holiness has to say.

    Until then, he’s just new window dressing on the same old rotten structure.

  35. 35
    scav says:

    @Rekster: Will be a problem. The crazies do tend to dominate in some critical few ways, while not necessarily being an absolute majority.

  36. 36
    jl says:

    @boatboy_srq:

    IIRC, issues like allowing priests to marry (or at least going back to the Eastern Orthodox practice), or becoming more realistic on birth control, have been seriously studied in the past few decades, before being thrown into the circular file. But it was all done in the quiet back rooms.

    This is the first time I’ve heard a pope talk about them directly, with what must be to some people, very uncomfortable hints about, you know, the Gospels, Jesus’ parables, and sermons, and stuff like that. It is all very annoying to people who worship precious religious relics like spiritual pride, indifference, intolerance and pious excuses to hate.

    If this keeps up, will Bill Donahue get to parade around on the teevee as the voice of true old time religion after he is the head of some nutcase splinter group?

    I hope the pope keeps it up.

  37. 37
    MattF says:

    A pope who tries, at least, to be a Christian. At this point it just reminds me how awful Ratzinger was.

  38. 38

    @Ben Franklin:

    When he cleans his own house of ill-repute, I’ll start paying attention

    That’s what he’s trying to do. Almost everything he’s done so far has been internal and about cleaning up bad behavior on the part of the Church. My impression is that he is revealing a very important disagreement within the church leadership between hierarchs and pastoralists. Pope Benedict was more or less the ultimate hierarch: not just somebody who had been a Vatican bureaucrat for decades but actually in charge of enforcing doctrine. In contrast, Pope Francis is a pastoralist who has spent his whole career out in the world trying to deal with real world issues faced by parishioners. I think it’s honestly unreasonable to expect him to overthrow established doctrines, but he does seem to be downplaying doctrinal purity in favor of serving parishioners, a shift in emphasis that’s long overdue.

  39. 39
    Kerry Reid says:

    @Villago Delenda Est: Well yeah — I thought that was implied. ;)

    Honestly — I don’t think the Boys in Beanies and Mitres have even begun to grok how much damage they did with the widespread cover-ups of the child-rape epidemics. My late mother stopped going to Mass pretty much because she couldn’t stomach hearing about abortion from an institution that was so complicit in damaging actual living kids. She was a school teacher and administrator (read: mandatory reporter), so it was doubly angering to think that these shitheels were claiming some kind of “moral authority” in self-policing that would NEVER be extended (nor should be) to any public school.

  40. 40
    jl says:

    @jl: And, oh, yeah, self-interested hypocrisy leading to monstrous behavior and long term damage to innocent people who trust you to care for them spiritually. I forgot that little precious religious relic which has been popular for a long time.

  41. 41
    Kerry Reid says:

    @Gex: I can only imagine how painful that is and I am very sorry. It enrages me.

    I left the church when I was 14 and have had little use for it (well, being agnostic and all) save for the many nuns and some priests I know who actually do walk the walk and provide service to the poor and sick without giving a shit what Papa-in-Rome says about gays and fetuses. Of course, they could do the same outside the church as well. But they do the work and I am not in any kind of position to tell them they are doing it wrong. Not until I’m doing as much as they are.

    So I respect individuals within the church, but as an institution, I think it is rotten to the core.

  42. 42
    MaryJane says:

    Since we’re speaking of religion, I’ll just throw this in:

    Obama Administration Invites Atheists to Interfaith Planning Meeting

    http://www.patheos.com/blogs/f.....g-meeting/

    The name is awkward (interfatith, but it’s a start and I won’t nitpick over labels).

    eta: I used to be fairly competent at html. Maybe someday I’ll learn how to correctly link here.

  43. 43
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    I’m always curious and never see it discussed in general reporting on the Church. Does anyone know what the influence of American conservatives is in the broader church? I can’t imagine there are a lot of rich French and Italian and Irish millionaires pouring money into the coffers the way the Dominos “pizza” guy does, and aren’t the Amway families Santorum Catholics, too?

  44. 44
    WereBear says:

    The Pope is finally acting like the head of a religion based on kindness. That is a good thing.

  45. 45
    pseudonymous in nc says:

    The American Catholic Church has become a big Republican PAC, and conservative leaders made it into one by using issues like abortion and gay marriage.

    The church hierarchy, yes; the rank and file, not exactly. You have a bunch of bishops who are still representing an older ‘white ethnic’ demographic (Timmy Dolan and co.) while American Catholicism increasingly has Spanish as its first language and Our Lady of Guadalupe as its patron.

    Having a South American pope makes things interesting in that regard: B16 saw the US as a key player in a kind of “return to tradition”, with people like Dolan at its head; perhaps the tradition in the US has a lot less to do with nth-gen Irish/Italian/Polish/etc communities than the red-hats think.

    It doesn’t make me anything but a recovering Catholic, but it does make me think that the power dynamics within American Catholicism may be shifting.

  46. 46
    jl says:

    @MaryJane: I think many, perhaps most, atheists have to rely on some articles of faith. Few people have the ability to operate with the high degree of skepticism that comes with having no articles of faith.

    So, I think ‘interfaith’ is still appropriate, and if any self-professed atheists sqwak about it, too bad for them.

  47. 47
    Dave L says:

    For 30 years being more-conservative-than-the-Pope has been good politics for ambitious bishops. And now suddenly it isn’t — I plan on being entertained by the spectacle of these guys losing their mitres as they make desperate U-turns. As other commenters have pointed out, not even the Pope can change an institution of this size overnight. But he sure can set a new tone.

  48. 48
    Ted & Hellen says:

    What’s going on with you, DougJ?

    Your posts just keep getting more inane.

  49. 49
    Sly says:

    otherwise even the moral edifice of the church is likely to fall like a house of cards

    That horse is not just out of the barn, its halfway to Alpha Centauri.

  50. 50
    Bubblegum Tate says:

    @chopper:

    If we hit that bullseye, the rest of the dominoes should fall like a house of cards. Checkmate!

    Brannigan’s Law is like Brannigan’s love: Hard and fast

  51. 51

    TN Stacey Senator Stacey Campfield, of the “don’t say gay,” “no food stamps if your kids flunk school,” and some heinous anti-abortion bills is a Catholic. Now that the Pope has told him and his kind to STFU about abortion and gays and stop hating on the poor, I wonder if they’ll actually do it?

    Probably not.

  52. 52
    CONGRATULATIONS! says:

    Unless and until he starts excommunicating people en masse and recalling and replacing the bishops and cardinals it’ll continue…

    Of course he may just be biding his time until he has enough support to do so – floating balloons as they say to see how the rest of the world and his org react. Papal bulls still pull a whole lot of weight – it’s just that like the president the powers he has at his disposal are either so subtle and long term that they’re almost unnoticeable or utterly unsubtle and cause massive disruption.

    @pharniel: The last pope who tried that “reform for the poor” shit was found dead sitting up in his bed a mere 36 days after taking the office. Francis doesn’t strike me as being stupid, and also doesn’t strike me as suicidal. I think he knows what he’s doing will eventually cost him his life, and he wants to get as much damage done to the fascists who stole his church before the conservatives kill him.

  53. 53
    Mike E says:

    @Bubblegum Tate: And smoooooth like velour.

  54. 54
    geg6 says:

    Meh. I haven’t seen anything other than a PR offensive that convinces me that this guy is any better than his evil predecessors (excluding, perhaps, John XXIII and cutting the cowardly Paul VI a slight amount of slack).

    When Dolan is excommunicated, when Law is back in the US and serving hard time, when there are women priests, when the Leadership Conference of Women Religious is held up as an example of Catholic charity and conscience, when celibacy for clergy is voluntary and rare, when women are granted the same agency as men as moral actors, when all the gold in the Vatican is rendered down to provide for the poor,…

    Then I’ll believe he’s different. Until then, the Catholic Church is still a worldwide criminal conspiracy that should be shunned and condemned by everyone with a conscience and a sense of morality.

  55. 55
    Mike E says:

    @WereBear: Good thing they elected a young one…he oughta last awhile.

  56. 56

    @MaryJane:

    eta: I used to be fairly competent at html. Maybe someday I’ll learn how to correctly link here.

    It’s really simple:

    1) Highlight the text you want to turn into a link
    2) Click the link button between the “Your Comment” and the text entry box
    3) Paste the link URL into the popup box
    4) Click OK

    You have now created a link.

  57. 57
    PaulW says:

    A little off-topic, but you actually quoted from that song?

    More troubling: I recognized that song! /cries

  58. 58
    sparrow says:

    @geg6: As someone born and raised Catholic, Amen. Screw all the bastards and their apologists.

  59. 59
    Chris says:

    I don’t know much about how the Vatican works

    If the Pope came out tomorrow and openly stated a doctrine, ex cathedra, that homosexuality was okay, under the rules of the Church, that would become orthodox Catholic doctrine. On the spot.

    In practice, of course, the resulting freakout from all the entrenched power centers within the Vatican would probably destroy the Church – but that’s what the rules are, and millions of Catholics who know about the infallibility thing would hear it, quite a few of them probably believing it.

  60. 60
    Chris says:

    @Villago Delenda Est:

    Wipe them out. All of them.

    You’re AWFULLY fond of that phrase, I’ve noticed. :D

  61. 61
    geg6 says:

    @Woodrowfan:

    Obama is not and never was the “infallible” head of the United States. A pope has considerably more power over his hierarchy. He can just declare something to be so and it will be so. Won’t change the whole Church overnight. But he could make Humanae Vitae null and void tomorrow simply by calling it contrary to sacred scripture, sacred tradition and sacred magisterium. Which, when you think of it, is sorta what Obama did with DADT.

    The pigs in dresses and lace will squeal, but I can’t think of a sweeter sound.

  62. 62
    kwAwk says:

    The reality is we are living in an age where individual leaders — presidents, popes, Speakers of the House — don’t have that much power. I don’t know much about how the Vatican works but I did read that Ratzinger decided at some point that he himself couldn’t control the organization at all, so I suspect Francis can’t either.

    It’s an interesting comment. Presidents and Speakers of the House used to have power because people used to believe that they had power. It’s a lot like money. Little green pieces of paper have value because people believe they have value.

    But the right since the acendency of talk radio has figured out that nobody can really make them respect the Presidency, or the power of the Presidency, like a spoiled lazy teenager who’s figured out that if they’re willing to accept any consequence, not parent can make them clean their bedroom.

    If the destruction of the American economy isn’t enough to make you vote for a debt ceiling increase, there is nothing any mortal President is going to do.

  63. 63
    Chris says:

    @Southern Beale:

    Catholic bishops can’t even be arsed to care about their own writings regarding the poor, health care, social justice et al, and they have a hell of a lot more obligations to Catholicism. As above, so below.

  64. 64
    geg6 says:

    @MattF:

    At this point it just reminds me how awful Ratzinger was.

    Just goes to show how the Vatican PR machine lies and lies and lies until it, somehow, becomes gospel (pun intended) truth.

    The real villain in the Church’s worldwide conspiracy to rape children and reduce women to slavery was never Joseph Ratzinger. The real villain was and remains John Paul II. If you did some research, you’d actually know that, despite his tone deaf statements on the matter, Ratzo did make some attempts at cleaning up the horror show that is the modern priesthood. It was JPII, whose corpse should be dragged in the streets and left for the vultures to eat, who was most responsible for the coverups, payoffs, money laundering and rotation of pedophiles among parishes. Instead, the Church and this Pope who is getting so much undeserved praise are beatifying that piece of shit.

  65. 65
    The Red Pen says:

    @geg6: This reminds me of one of those Glenn Beck rants where he ends up blaming all modern ills on Woodrow Wilson.

  66. 66
    RANDOMMENTALITY says:

    This is the first religious leader in decades that I have actually started to look up to. If he doesn’t cut it out, I might have to dig out a little of my old idealism from that ancient burial place beneath 10 million grains of salt.

  67. 67
    geg6 says:

    @sparrow:

    As someone born and raised a Catholic and then victimized by my own church, Amen.

    Fix’t to reflect my own childhood experience.

  68. 68

    Speaking of religion, I has a post up about Ganesha festival, along with a brief history lesson on my blog.

  69. 69
    geg6 says:

    @The Red Pen:

    Do the fucking research before calling me Glenn Beck, asshole. JPII is the least worthy of sainthood of any modern pope. Fuck him and fuck you.

  70. 70
    El Caganer says:

    @The Red Pen: In fairness to Beck, Wilson was a pretty lousy pope.

  71. 71
    Chris says:

    @The Red Pen:

    Ironically, if by “all the modern ills” Glenn Back & co mean the achievements of progressivism, the person they should be blaming is Teddy Roosevelt, not Wilson. But they just can’t bring themselves to do it, since 1) Teddy Roosevelt was a Republican, 2) Teddy Roosevelt was an imperialist, 3) Teddy Roosevelt was a general, 4) Teddy Roosevelt is one of the faces on Mount Rushmore, and 4) Teddy Roosevelt has just generally accumulated a reputation as an iconically American badass which they just can’t bring themselves to disassociate themselves from.

    So instead they go with Wilson, who as a Democrat and a former academic who supported the original UN, better fits their script of what a progressive should look like.

  72. 72
    jl says:

    @Chris:

    I saw a clip where Beck went after Theodore Roosevelt for proposing a national heath care system.

    TR abandoned the GOP and started his Bull Moose Progressive Party, so he is not pure.

    And there are many strands in Becks’ fugue state, can never tell where one of them will lead.

  73. 73
    AdamK says:

    @geg6: But the dun-colored sticky ooze floating on top of the cesspool is so much better than that awful grey foamy ooze that used to float on top of the cesspool! It’s a miracle, due, no doubt, to the intercession of St. Shitpope.

  74. 74
    Chris says:

    @jl:

    Oh, sure. Like he I said, he’s the president who got the ball rolling on Progressivism. It just seems like in general when they’re going back that far they tend to rag on Wilson rather than him, preferring to remember Roosevelt for such pithy aphorisms as “speak softly and carry a big stick.”

    The TR-hate in general seems more confined to the “intellectuals” in the party.

  75. 75
    Chris says:

    I’ve been watching the Facebook of the local college Catholic group to see how they’d react. The leader just commented with this;

    A great source of confusion for Catholics today is the way the Church is covered in the news media. With any given story, we often find ourselves asking: does the Church really teach that? Is it true that “policies” are masquerading as moral law? Did the Pope really say what they say he said?

    Pope Francis has granted an extensive interview published today in Jesuit-run journals in several countries. In his remarks, he greatly emphasizes the mercy of the Gospel. Reports about this interview are capitalizing on his statements to portray him as somehow desiring to overturn the moral teaching of the Church, or being in the process of doing so. It’s much better to read what the Pope has really said, rather than secondhand reports.

    That being said, Pope Francis expresses many opinions which give us a clear insight into his mind. It remains to be seen, in some cases, whether and how they will be reflected in his governance, teaching, and example. I think it’s a great idea to stay informed about things like this, and to remember that Pope Francis, on numerous occasions, has asked for our prayers. Let’s not disappoint him!

    In other words, nothing to see here, just business as usual, move along, move along. That’s pretty much how conservative Catholics have been reacting to every pronouncement that’s come out of the Vatican – let’s just ignore it and keep doing business as usual, in his name. (There was even a phony interview circulating a few months back which had a rousing defense of the free market and opposition to statism attributed to Francis I in his younger years).

  76. 76
    geg6 says:

    @Chris:

    Which is exactly why his words don’t mean much. If he really wanted these people to change or the church to change, he’d do what popes do when they really mean something and aren’t just on a PR junket to get more asses back into the pews.

  77. 77
    Darkrose says:

    Thanks a LOT, Doug. I’d just managed to get rid of this stupid song that got stuck in my head after I heard it in a restaurant on Tuesday.

  78. 78
    Cygil says:

    You know a man by his enemies. The conservative old guard /hates/ Pope Francis. They regard him as a closeted liberation theology far liberal and his actions have done nothing to disavow them of this belief.

    I think he’s already taken more political risks with these sorts of statements that Obama has ever done with his attempts to steer the discourse. Remember Obama’s “conversation about race?” It lasted all of one day. Remember how Obama ran from plans to commemorate the emancipation proclamation with a major DC event? Too divisive, would hurt him in red states. Of course, Pope Francis doesn’t have to worry about elections, although I imagine, much like the way Benedict “resigned”, he can be forced out by his cardinals one way of another.

    I we’re looking at a a gutsy pope, possibly a bigger reformer than Pius XII.

  79. 79
    Cygil says:

    @Chris: In practice, of course, the resulting freakout from all the entrenched power centers within the Vatican would probably destroy the Church

    It would split the church. Immediately. In extremely nasty ways. We’re talking church parking lot fist fights and shootings here.

  80. 80
    Sourmash says:

    Last I heard F1 still has not moved into the official residence, which I assume is because he knows they would take him out.

  81. 81
    pseudonymous in nc says:

    @Sourmash:

    which I assume is because he knows they would take him out.

    And since he dines with the other residents of the Domus Sanctae Martae, they’d have to poison all of them.

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