So I know the point of blogs is their immediacy, but, well, it’s taken me a week to get around to this.
Pope Benedict XVI.
He wasn’t who I was hoping for – in a lot of ways. I was hoping for someone who’d focus on reaching out. To the Third World most of all, and to members of other religions, too. I’m enough of a realist that I wasn’t expecting a reversal on women priests or gays or abortions or birth control (well, maybe chilling out about condoms in Africa. That would be nice.) but I was hoping to at least not hear as much about sex compared to things like selfishness and debt relief. That if he had to get his papal vestments in a bunch, to do so about war or wealth inequality. I was hoping for someone who remembered that we all need forgiveness and that judging is the work of, you know, God.
But, based on what ol’ Benny did as Cardinal Ratzinger, there’s not so many grounds to think that any of this will be his legacy. I’m afraid of more division and blame. I’m afraid of people leaving the church. I’m afraid of people using the church’s pronouncements to justify their own prejudices and hatred.
But, I’m also not going anywhere. He’s the pope. And, he’s my pope. Next time I go to church I’ll pray for him.
There was a poll in the Washington Post I saw last week, whose headline read “Majority of American Catholics Support New Pope.” And I thought, what the hell does that mean? Of course they support him. He’s the pope. “Support” doesn’t mean “will agree with everything he does.” It also doesn’t mean “would have voted for him if they were men who had decided to become priests who had then become cardinals.” It just means support. This is going to come across as WAY more hokey than I intend it to, but the best analogy I can think of is a family. It’s not a political election. Nobody held a town hall. There weren’t ad campaigns. I didn’t get to vote. It’s like I’m Cinderella and my father just brought home a woman I don’t particularly care for. I don’t have to be happy about it, I don't have to like her, but she’s still my stepmother. Maybe the next one will let more people go to the ball.