Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Maritally Misguided

The story "Kim Davis, Clerk to Refused to Issue Marriage Licenses to Gay Couples Met the Pope" made me retract my former opinion heaping mountains of praise on Pope Francis. Sometimes I jump the gun before I wait to see if anything else is known. Now I will say the Pope meets the martially misguided clerk who pays no attention to the feelings and rights of others wanting to be married to the one they love. Ms. Davis says no you can't because my religious views trump your happiness. I say an emphatic no they do not! As a public clerk she has the obligation to perform her public duties and if she cannot then find another who can. No one is telling her what to believe but she has no right to impose her private beliefs on the public while doing her public job.

Still, Pope Francis's message generally, except on this issue and some others, was a humane one. I do believe Davis CAN refuse marriage licenses to gays but must let someone else who will issue marriage certificates do so. It is the law after all.

I think some in the Papal Curia are at odds with Francis's other liberal positions. He did say on homosexuality "Who am I to judge?" So he speaks out of both sides of his mouth. I have no idea why he chose to meet with this divorced four times and had-children-out-of wedlock lapsed former Catholic.

I would love to ask Pope Francis: Does he think homosexuals who have been ostracized, bullied, kicked out of their homes onto the street by their parents, turned to drugs and worse attempt suicide are less worthy of his empathy and support? I do NOT get it and yes I am bothered by what he did and loathe looking stupid myself piling tons of praise on him.

I tried to love him and still think he is better than Benedict and many other popes before Benedict but Pope Francis disappointed me on this one. Maybe someday he will say by meeting Davis: Father, forgive me, I know not what I did.

Soft Landing

Cardinal O’Malley said “Pope Francis’s first visit to the United States was something akin to a national religious retreat.” Never, the cardinal said, had he witnessed a papal visit generate such widespread interest, particularly from non-Catholics. I am one of them. I cannot believe that I, who have been laser sharp critical of Vatican history, could find a Pope Francis so wonderful.

I put aside my disagreements as no one is perfect but, in general, this Pope gave many a soft landing on the sharp vicissitudes of life. I watched his visit, hours of it, because I was mesmerized by his stamina and the message he delivered to so many so many times. People (including me) are hungry for humane and smart leadership. Will he accept women priests, married priests, and gay humanity? He is not Superman of the Catholic Church but he has changed the tone and the general feeling that comes from a man who knows hardship, poverty and knows how to use his intelligence promoting kindness and humane policy for greater good.

He came here with painful stenosis, sciatica, one lung and who knows what other physical maladies that sometimes come with age. The amount he did and the stamina with which he did it were miraculous. He was amazing to me and made me think twice about mending fences that were broken in my own life.

In the end we are the sum total of who we were in life. I want to be remembered for the help I gave, the kindness I showed and the humane political policy for which I advocated.

Jesus is said to have said "Inasmuch as ye have done it unto the least of these my brethren ye have done it unto me." Rabbi Hillel summarized Judaism by saying as I have repeated often: "Do NOT do unto others that which you would NOT want done to you. All the rest is commentary."

I could not have said it better myself!