Happy Birthday, New Pope! You Are Now Gay

So today is New Pope's birthday, and he got it off to a rollicking start by inviting four homeless people -- they live in the streets near the Vatican -- to join him forMass and breakfast. A little later in the day, he'll be visiting with members of his favorite Argentine soccer team, San Lorenzo, because you know how popes love them some sportsball.

Also, New Pope got himself another nice little birthday present: Gay magazine The Advocatenamed Francis its "Person of the Year," based largely on that one cool thing he said about gay folks. We dunno, considering that Frank still opposes gay marriage, and for that matter, isn't moving to revise the Church's position that it's OK to be gay as long as you don't do anything like have gay sex, The Advocate's move feels maybe a little optimistic, like giving a Nobel Peace Prize to some guy who went on to send death robots all over the place. But hey, a gift is a gift -- it's not like he's going to send it back.

Also, too, it should be noted that there are a lot of gay people having fits on the Twitters about how the Person of the Year award really should have gone to Edie Windsor, the plaintiff whose case led to the SCOTUS throwing out DOMA, and we're inclined to agree, because she didn't just say a nice thing about not judging, she went and got some judges to do a very big thing that had some huge and immediate effects. And now that The Advocate has passed her over this year, she's going to have to wait for some kind of special Lifetime Achievement award, like Peter O'Toole did, and that ain't right.

Still, maybe there's some reason to hope that New Pope is actually gong to do some real reforming, not just saying the right things -- see for instance the good thing he did Monday: he removed a vocally anti-gay, anti-abortion cardinal, Raymond L. Burke, from the "Congregation for Bishops," the Vatican committee that selects new Bishops and sends them diagonally across the chess board. This is a pretty big deal, because of the whole who moves up in the batting order thing, and is also a major diss to Burke, who was the fine defender of the faith who announced that if it were up to him, John Kerry would never be able to take communion, because abortion. Burke had also done some very public tut-tutting about New Pope and his crazy call to back off all that Culture War stuff a skosh:

“One gets the impression, or it’s interpreted this way in the media, that he thinks we’re talking too much about abortion, too much about the integrity of marriage as between one man and one woman,” Cardinal Burke said of the pope in an interview with EWTN, a Catholic broadcaster. “But we can never talk enough about that.”

And now he will have more time to talk about it, but no ability to select Bishops who agree with him. Cardinal Burke will be replaced by Cardinal Donald Wuerl of Washington, a moderate who directly disagreed with Burke on the issue of letting pro-choice Catholic politicians take communion. This really seems like a serious change in direction from John Paul II and Ratzi, who were intent on building a Vatican farm team of rightwing bishops everywhere. In addition to giving Burke the boot, Francis also removed Cardinal Justin Rigali, who resigned last year as archbishop of Philadelphia after criticism of his mishandling of priest abuse cases.

So hey, Happy Birthday, New Pope. It almost looks like you're getting that supertanker to turn a little bit, which is kind of impressive considering the momentum it had built up for the last three decades. Now, if you could maybe make some more public actions against the abusive priests? No, of course we're not satisfied.

[ TPM / The Advocate / NYT]

Doktor Zoom

Doktor Zoom's real name is Marty Kelley, and he lives in the wilds of Boise, Idaho. He is not a medical doctor, but does have a real PhD in Rhetoric. You should definitely donate some money to this little mommyblog where he has finally found acceptance and cat pictures. He is on maternity leave until 2033. Here is his Twitter, also. His quest to avoid prolixity is not going so great.


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