Typical comments by faith panelists published in the Reno Gazette-Journal: “A witness to the world.” “A visible role model.” “An inspiration.” “Fountain of grace.” “Uplifts the very soul.” “Lover of all mankind.” “A Christ-like pope.”
Wonderful. He’s “one of us” whether Catholic or not.
Kenneth Lucey, philosophy and religion professor at the University of Nevada, Reno, was the only RGJ panelist who did not skirt the truth. He rightly urged the ordination of women.
But Lucey should have gone farther, urging Francis also to abolish the dogmas against abortion, homosexuality and gay marriage.
Oh, the pope has uttered biblical pieties about “judge not that ye be not judged” and “he that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her. ” But he refuses to go to the root of the problem for many Catholics.
Until he approves those essential changes, Francis remains mired in the past. All the encomiums heaped on him by leaders of all religious faiths will not change reality.
The headline over comments by the faith panelists proclaimed: “Can Pope Francis change world?” That is a terrible cliché that is not true. Even Honest Lucey succumbed. He declared in his panel segment that the pope “could change the world … by altering the rules of the church.”
Making Catholic women priests will “hardly change the world.”
So-called Christians are so often unchristian. The United Methodist Church in Pennsylvania defrocked a pastor because he officiated at his son’s marriage to another man in 2007. The pastor, Rev. Frank Schaefer, who had led a congregation in Lebanon, Pa., was recently stripped of his clerical credentials.
Methodist Bishop Minerva Carcaño, who is very much a Christian, promptly offered him a minister’s position in the California-Pacific region that includes Southern California and Hawaii.
The official Methodist position is opposition to same-sex marriage and the ordination of gays. But many Methodists disagree.
“I think it’s time for some civil disobedience in our church,” Bishop Carcaño says. Indeed it is.
Mere handshake meaningless
Some Americans were angered by President Obama’s handshake with Raúl Castro at the recent memorial service for Nelson Mandela in South Africa. Cuban haters even despise common courtesy.
Handshakes mean nothing. It’s deeds that count. The deeds needed: the end of U.S. economic sanctions against Cuba, closing and leaving Guantánamo which is on Cuban soil and opening U.S. diplomatic relations with Cuba.
How long, o lord, how long will we have to wait for an American politician with the courage to urge reversal of the barbarous and senseless Cuban policy?
Junior senators are supposed to be seen but not heard. Senator Kristen Gillibrand of New York defies that hoary tradition.
She criticized Senator Richard Durbin of Illinois for his refusal to back her bill reforming sexual assault in the military. Durbin, a guardian of those Senate customs, fumed at such freshman impertinence.
Senator Debbie Stabenow of Michigan worked out a bipartisan deal on the farm bill. Senator Gillibrand objected strenuously because the bill called for food stamp cuts. Stabenow, for all her intense efforts to compromise, was wrong.
Gillibrand was not only right to confront the ancient Senate tradition, she deserves thirty-three cheers for doing so.
Jake Highton is an emeritus journalism professor at the University of Nevada, Reno.