Some people might be offended by the colloquialism boldly printed by the RGJ. The writer’s blunt truth, however, is undeniable.
Nor was the writer, Stuart Pardee of Gardnerville, a Catholic basher. Mr. Pardee deplored the selection of a man “who appears to have one agenda: maintain the status quo.” His letter added:
“As a lifelong Catholic, I am watching firsthand the slow, steady demise of the Catholic Church because it refuses to change with the times. Sixty to 70 percent of people who attend Mass are more than 60 years old. The vast majority of priests are more than 60 years old with few studying to replace them.”
Selection of a reactionary like Jorge Bergoglio of Argentina was received with joy by most Argentines. He is one of theirs. Even two UK Guardian journalists in Argentina proclaimed the election “the most radical change in the Catholic Church in more than 50 years.”
Not true. New Pope Francis is as medieval-minded as his predecessor, Benedict XVI.
Pope Francis promises:
• War on poverty. Fine.
• Opposition to perpetual war. Fine.
• Protection of the environment. Fine.
• Focus on the spiritual. Fine
Other fine qualities:
• He’s humble.
• He’s down to earth.
• He’s noted as “the slum pope.”
• He’s a simple guy, cooking his own dinner and living in an apartment rather than an opulent mansion.
• He sips mate, traditional Argentine herbal tea, with the folks in the baristas.
• He used public transport.
Moreover, he loves soccer and the tango, Argentine passions. That too is fine. But Francis refuses to address the church’s central problem: musty doctrines. Such as: Celibate priests, no women in the priesthood, opposition to birth control, opposition to condoms, opposition to gay marriage, opposition to adoption of children by gay couples, opposition to premarital sex and banning communion for divorced couples.
Francis opposes all those essentials to bring his church into the modern era for 1.2 billion Catholics worldwide.
Liberation theology? The Jesuit Francis opposes it even though it was advocated by Jesuits in Latin America 50 years ago.
The aim of liberation theology was liberation from unjust economic, political and social conditions. In other words, social justice and human rights. In America, “liberation theology” has long been espoused by the socialist aims of the Catholic Worker Movement.
Detractors call it mere “Christianized Marxism.” This is not the place to argue the pros and cons of Marxian theories. But there is far more Marx in Jesus than Christians will admit.
As the feisty Brazilian archbishop of Recife, Dom Héldes Câmara, said: “When I give food to the poor they call me a saint. When I ask why the poor have no food they call me a communist.”
Bergogilo as archbishop in Buenos Aires said of gay marriage: “Let’s not be naïve. This isn’t a simple political fight. It’s an attempt to destroy God’s plan.” As a cardinal, Bergogilo said that adoption by same-sex couples was “a war against god” and “a maneuver by the devil.”
When the Argentine Supreme Court expanded access to abortion in rape cases, Cardinal Bergoglio opposed. When Argentine President Christina Kirchner proposed legalizing gay marriage and providing free contraceptives, Cardinal Bergoglio opposed.
One critic compared his tone “to medieval times and the Inquisition.”
Jake Highton is an emeritus journalism professor at the University of Nevada, Reno.