It was a little disappointing when the secret conclave elected a man to the papal throne who seemed more reasonable than the demented old ideologue who had gone before. On the face of it, Jorge Bergoglio was more a man of the people than the bitter old Josef Ratzinger, former head of the Inquisition and enforcer-in-chief under Karol Wojtyla.
It was disappointing, but only because Ratzinger provided so much opportunity for ridicule compared to the reasonable, sane, kindly Pope Francis, and to be fair to him, Bergoglio has done much to be praised. He constantly attacks the remoteness of the Curia, he mixes with the common people and he does not lead an opulent life. In many ways, he’d need to be careful that they don’t murder him as they did Albino Luciani, otherwise known as John Paul I.
In his early utterances on homosexuality, Bergoglio asked the historic question, Who am I to judge?, and we all agreed. Who indeed? Who are you to judge, and who are your bishops to judge, and who are your priests to judge, and who are your Catholic ideological vanguard to judge? Who are the likes of the self-appointed Iona Institute to judge?
At last, we were thinking, a humble pope who understands that his opinion is just that. An opinion.
But masks are made for slipping, and so it came to pass that Jorge Bergoglio last week expressed his views on beating children.
It’s all right, this pope thinks, to hit a child as long as you don’t hit the child on the face.
One time, I heard a father in a meeting with married couples say ‘I sometimes have to smack my children a bit, but never in the face so as to not humiliate them’.
That’s because, you see, it’s never humiliating to be struck by somebody bigger, when they want you to obey them.
That’s why this sort of behaviour is legal among adults, isn’t that right? This is why bosses are allowed to hit their employees as long as they don’t hit them on the face, which would be humiliating. This is why the Pope is allowed to leap from his throne and kick the living shit out of any cardinal who disagrees with him.
How beautiful! said the Pope of the violent father. He knows the sense of dignity! He has to punish them but does it justly and moves on.
In other words, Slap! Take that you little bastard. Now shut up.
This is how the kindly new Pope sees parenthood, but why wouldn’t he see it that way, having no experience of it himself?
This week, Jorge Bergoglio came out with another gem.
Couples who choose not to have children are being selfish, according to a man who chose not to have children.
In a world where over-population is a huge problem, couples who choose not to have children are being selfish. They’re not being responsible. They’re not being sensible. They’re being selfish. They’re not even making a sacrifice, even though the concept of sacrifice is at the heart of Bergoglio’s ideology.
Somehow, in Pope Bergoglio’s world, when he makes a decision about his life, it’s a commitment, but when somebody else makes the same decision, it’s selfishness.
That tells you all you need to know about the Vatican and the apparatchiks who control it.
Including the kindly Pope Jorge.