A Permissive Pope for a Permissive Age - The American Spectator | USA News and Politics
A Permissive Pope for a Permissive Age
Pope Francis (YouTube screenshot)

Jorge Bergoglio’s pontificate beyond parody continues apace. The latest papal farce revolves around his reiteration of support for homosexual civil unions. In a new documentary, Pope Francis says that homosexuals “have a right to a family. Nobody should be thrown out or be made miserable over it. What we have to have is a civil union law — that way they are legally covered. I supported that.”

Previous popes hated the sin and loved the sinner. Pope Francis shrugs at the sin and doesn’t trouble himself with the soul of the sinner.

Treated as thrillingly new — headlines giddily spoke of the “first” papal endorsement of gay civil unions ever — the pope’s remarks represented merely a restatement of a position he had taken as archbishop of Buenos Aires.

“He explicitly permitted a homosexual couple to adopt a child,” recalled the renegade liberation theologian Leonardo Boff after Bergoglio’s election. Boff pointed to that as one of the reasons he had confidence that Bergoglio’s papacy would prove revolutionary.

As archbishop of Buenos Aires, Bergoglio had an open reputation for toying with Church teaching. That’s why the papal nuncios under Pope John Paul II and Benedict XVI stayed away from him. According to Argentinian journalist Elisabetta Pique, they ignored Bergoglio’s recommendations for bishops: “They would get his lists and drop the names he submitted. Adriano Bernardini, the papal nuncio under Benedict XVI, did not like Bergoglio at all. Bergoglio was accused of not defending doctrine, of making pastoral gestures that are too daring, and of not arguing publicly and with greater determination with the Argentine government of the time.”

Pro-family activists complained that Bergoglio was useless in the culture war. He didn’t want to fight it himself and didn’t want anyone else fighting it either. He told Catholic organizers of pro-family protests not to hold them.

His elevation to the papacy only hardened this stance. In 2015, he invited a transgender activist to the Vatican. The activist, Diego Lejarraga, arrived with a fiancée in tow. The press declared the meeting an “important gesture of acceptance of lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender Catholics.” Flattered by this press, the pope congratulated himself for recognizing the “he that was her but is he” and mused, “Life is life and you must take things as they come.”

The pope was less cheerful after meeting Kim Davis, the Kentucky clerk who was imprisoned for declining to issue gay-marriage licenses. He authorized his aides to tell the press that the meeting, which occurred during his visit to America, represented nothing more than a random rope line greeting. “The only real audience granted by the Pope at the Nunciature was with one of his former students and his family,” added his press secretary. It turned out that that “former student” was Yayo Grassi, a homosexual caterer. Grassi and his boyfriend received a papal blessing from Francis. Afterwards, a relieved press ran such reports as, “Vatican distances Pope Francis from Kentucky clerk Kim Davis. Meanwhile, the Vatican confirmed that Francis met with a gay friend and his partner a day earlier.” The grateful cast of Saturday Night Live depicted Pope Francis in a skit untangling himself from Kim Davis’s embrace.

Francis is a permissive pope for a permissive age. Previous popes hated the sin and loved the sinner. Pope Francis shrugs at the sin and doesn’t trouble himself with the soul of the sinner. This has thrown Church officials into a state of pitiful confusion, with some consoling themselves that Pope Francis only opposes magisterial teaching “personally.” (That sounds oddly reminiscent of the old trope that the Mario Cuomos “personally” supported Church teaching while voting against it.)

Meanwhile, the gay mafia in the Church rejoiced at the news and gushed over a new dawn for LGBT Catholics. The Jesuit James Martin, the leading propagandist for LGBT causes in the Church, declared victory, delighting in the pope’s recognition of a homosexual “right” to a family.

Not even Evelyn Waugh could have kept up with this upside-down state of affairs in the Church. It is a measure of the decadence of Catholicism that Pope Francis and Joe Biden sound indistinguishable these days. Should Biden win, he will join the pope on the world stage as an immensely powerful figure. But instead of demonstrating the ascendancy of Catholicism, it would mark its meaningless nadir — dismal proof that the post-Vatican II Church has not changed the world but been horribly changed by it.

George Neumayr
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George Neumayr, a senior editor at The American Spectator, is author most recently of The Biden Deception: Moderate, Opportunist, or the Democrats' Crypto-Socialist?
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