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Big news out of Rome, you guys — Pope Awesome Guy III has privately, quietly, allegedly told a gay man that “God made you this way.” This is huge news, because it reveals that Catholic doctrine is being slowly but surely nudged toward a more progressive path by Lady Gaga. The Pope’s next pronouncement will involve forgiveness for paparazzi, but only those who chase you down until you love them.
So everyone is once again celebrating the Pope, and by proxy the Catholic Church. I have a few tiny issues with this. One is that the headlines are highlighting one thing that the Pope didn’t even say on record, and which has no direct impact on actual Catholic doctrine, instead of the entire reason for the gay man’s visit to the Vatican: he was there because he was a young victim of pedophile priests, and the Pope had previously been hardcore defending the Chilean bishops who had spent decades covering up these crimes. When an internal investigation revealed that, hello, this is obviously a huge fucking problem, the Pope finally reversed his position and apologized, and then called all the Chilean Bishops to Rome where they eventually offered their resignations.
Maybe that doesn’t make as nice a headline as “Pope Tells Gay Guy He’s Fine in His Book,” because the Pope looks pretty bad in it. Unless, of course, you have rock bottom expectations for the Pope, which, it turns out, pretty much everyone does, because even this is seen as a huge win for him. Pope Francis was a Cardinal in Argentina from 2001 to 2013, where it would be literally impossible for him to have not heard of the Catholic sexual abuse crisis (and the previous Pope’s hand in it), and you would hope that he’d have an inkling of what was happening in that regard in his neighboring countries.
But in this retelling, he was blissfully ignorant and just believed the priests instead of the children they abused for years, until the evidence was so overwhelming that he was forced to acknowledge it. But that gets him a good behavior cookie, and so does privately reassuring a gay man that he was born this way. No word on whether or not gay people are allowed to have sex with each other, or whether they’ll still be going to hell, or whether the Pope still considers transgender people to be nuclear weapons.
I really do understand why people want to applaud even the smallest step forward. That’s probably a good idea that will convince evil people and organizations to very slowly become less evil. But I can’t do it. I can’t applaud Hitler for being a vegetarian. And yeah, I did just compare the Catholic Church to Hitler, because it’s 2018 and Godwin’s law is moot.
Watching the Catholic Church become slightly more progressive is like watching the British monarchy become slightly less inbred. Good job on that, but you know the rest of us have been doing it for centuries and it’s feeling a little late by now.
Here’s my main issue: organizations like the Catholic Church shouldn’t be taking baby steps. The entire world took baby steps, because changing the culture of the entire world is really fucking hard. The Catholic Church is now lagging behind the rest of us, and in order to catch up they need to be working harder, and faster, to catch up to us. We’re on mile 16 of the marathon and the Pope is still lacing up his sneakers. What he needs to do is go stand on his little balcony and tell the throngs of people below that gay people are exactly equal to straight people and can love and marry who they want. Trans people are people, not weapons. Women are people who deserve bodily autonomy and access to safe abortions. Rape victims are victims and should be taken care of, not shamed for having sex outside of marriage. Priests should be allowed to get married and have sex, not push all their desires deep down inside them to fester and turn them into sociopathic monsters.
Oh, and one person isn’t the mouth of God and a billion people shouldn’t do whatever he says. I know, that’s a longshot, but it’s the most important, most progressive thing a Pope could say. Why? Because no matter how cool Pope Awesome Guy III is, Pope Awesome Guy IV could be a massive shitlord.In conclusion: fuck the motherfucking pope.