Pope Francis the popular.

So the Pope is back from Copacabana beach, and in a fairly wide ranging interview on the plane back said regarding gay priests “If someone is gay and he searches for the Lord and has good will, who am I to judge”. Well of course he said nothing new did he? well actually he did contradict B16 who didn’t want gay men joining the priesthood. A position which I think is ludicrous, the number of camp priests I’ve known is truly staggering, if only half of them are gay then I’d say 20% of Catholic parishes would suddenly lose their priests.

He didn’t change Catholic teaching on gay sex, but I think what he said does point towards primacy of conscience on the issue of homosexuality in general. And you know what, this is a good thing, gay Catholics need to feel able to come out of the closet at Church, not let Church become part of that oppressive deception that I’ve spoken about. Heck I think they should bring their boyfriends and girlfriends with them.

Pope Francis is proving to be exceptionally popular, even the Guardian newspaper seem to like him and they are about as anti-Catholic as it gets, this is an interesting development, and whilst I do think he is slightly to the left of Benedict and JP2, its not by so much that English papers with long traditions of anti-Catholicism suddenly forget their favourite acceptable form of bigotry. I think its interesting that both JP2 and B16 sacrificed their popularity to serve the Church, certainly as far as the secular media were concerned. Frankly this Pope has, by his charisma alone, worked the impossible, this Pope has learned the lesson of the modern media that everything the pope does can be news worthy and we should thank God we have a man brave enough and strong enough to embrace that white hot limelight.

Predictably the news coverage still never missed an opportunity to annoy me, the news saying he drew crowds worthy of a rock star, name a rock star that can draw three million people? Well apparently Rod Stewart of all people drew similar numbers December 31st, 1994 on Copacabana beach, but that has gone down in history the biggest ‘rock’ concert of all time. (Though I’m not sure how ‘rock’ Rod Stewart is.) Perhaps the moral of the story is that priests should maybe start saying mass outside of Church? Now there’s an idea, we talk about giving witness, the pinnacle of our faith is an amazing witness…

The Pope talked about sinful priests, the media assumed he’s talking about paedophiles, erm no actually it was a blanket term for a reason. Thank God, only a very tiny minority of priests were and perhaps still are paedophiles, what drives far far more people from the faith are cantankerous priests, lazy priests, careerist priests, worldly priests. I know it is unfair on priests that they are called to a higher standard and that I get annoyed with my priest when he does things that I myself do, but priests are called to a higher standard for a myriad of reasons, but the simplest and perhaps most important is that they are representatives of Christ through the sacrament of ordination. They are the face of the Church and represent the authority of Christ on earth, if you think I’m over blowing that then think about where they get their authority to grant absolution in confession.

But this is nitpicking secular media in the UK who will never understand what is going on in the Church because they are, almost to a man/woman either protestants or more likely abject heathens. Well bar Damien Thompson at the Telegraph anyway. But the media coverage has been unbelievably positive, and the Church’s position on homosexuality came as a surprise to some of my secular friends, even though its what I’ve been telling them for a while now, so thank God for Pope Francis the popular!

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