I know I’m a little behind on the Pope inauguration bandwagon, but with so much talk about the Catholic church lately, I’ve been feeling a little left out so I decided to do a little research into the new religious leader. While his induction doesn’t directly affect me (my religious beliefs are akin to those of a poodle in that they don’t exist), I believe understanding the reason behind his promotion is important. If we as a society are going to entrust a single man with the control of an entire religious sector, we might as well know what kind of person we will be dealing with over the next few years.
Unlike Pope Benedict, whose bling practically blinded crowds whenever he appeared in public, Francis has no interest in opulence. When offered a gold cross to wear when addressing the pulpit, the humble Pope declined, choosing instead to wear his own personal crucifix. (However, his decision to bypass Benedict’s signature red cape for a more modest white robe unsettles me, as I’ve been hoping to encounter a pro-superhero Pope for awhile now.) If you needed more convincing, his approach to the pulpit really says it all:
He’s just like us.
He may be starting his career as an all powerful religious leader but he’s made sure to remember the little people. Twenty-four hours after being elected Pope, Francis stopped by the church-run hotel he stayed at the night before to pick up his luggage and pay the bill. The down-to-earth Pope has also been known to take taxis or buses to church and cook his own meals. The Pope’s unpretentious roots go back to his upbringing. Raised by a full-time mom, Francis earned two college degrees in philosophy and chemistry and later went on to teach high school chemistry. Personally, I think his ability to teach a bunch of teenagers science and live to tell the tale makes him qualified for anything. And when he’s not cavorting around doing Popely duties, he’s cracking jokes. When told that people might judge him for taking a walk in his robes, Francis responded: “In Rome you could walk with a banana on your head and nobody would say anything.” So I’m pretty much sold.
His name is Francis/Jorge.
Jorge Mario Bergoglio (which is a fun name in itself) chose as his official Pope title Francis, thus shattering my belief that Popes were required to be named John Paul, Pius, Clement or Benedict. The name reflects his loveable nature as I’m sure he knew the universal rule that states one cannot hate a person named Francis. It also opens up opportunities for fun nicknames like Fran-Fran, which is always a plus.
He’s does not support gay rights.
Not only is Francis against gay marriage but, on the topic of gay adoption, he was quoted as saying: “Gay people adopting children is an act of discrimination against children.” This seems a bit extreme, if you ask me. In a time where open-mindedness is becoming more of the standard, Frannie seems to be stuck in the past, a fact that is not too surprising considering conservatism is a prerequisite for Popehood, in most cases.
He’s against abortion and contraceptives.
Before you pro-lifers start condemning me for this point, note that all of the opinions in this piece are my own. I do not mean to say that you cannot worship Fran-Fran as if he were a God. In fact, I’m sure his picture would look really good in a home-made shrine. I’m simply stating that I disagree with his belief on this because I’m a long-time advocate for the “Teens will be teens and have sex regardless of what you tell them” argument and I would rather have a bunch of sexually active but careful teenagers than see one more episode of Teen Mom or 16 and Pregnant.
He’s against euthanasia.
While euthanasia is still a topic that I myself have yet to understand, the Pope’s adamant stance on the issue makes me slightly uneasy. According to Francis, human suffering is a cornerstone of life. When Jesus died on the cross, he was willingly subjecting himself to pain for the betterment of others and as a result, we should follow his example. All of this seemed almost like a logical argument until Francis came out with this quote: “Euthanasia is a false solution to the drama of suffering, a solution unworthy of man.” This statement irks me, not because I’m euthanasia’s biggest fan but because it reminds me of the claim some people make that suicide is for the weak. You cannot understand another person’s suffering. You will never be in their exact shoes, you will never feel the pain that they’re feeling and if a cancer patient on their sixth round of chemo wants to drop out a little early, you don’t have the right to tell them “No” simply on the basis that “euthanasia is for quitters.” There needs to be a better argument than that.
In the end, the Pope’s beliefs should be taken with a grain of salt because it is very unlikely that we will be seeing a flamboyant leader emerge from a system that has condemned liberal ideas since its inception. With that in mind, I would rank Pope Francis as HOT for his progressive views on poverty, his humble nature, and the fact that he looks significantly less terrifying than the . But now, I’ll turn the question over to you. What say ye about the new Pope Francis? Hot or not? You decide.
Image via The Guardian.