A lot of people seemed to get really excited about the election of the new pope, as if the Catholic Church were crowning a new king or queen. People seem to really like kings and queens. I don't. I've always hated kings, with a few exceptions, like Martin Luther King Jr., Nat King Cole and Howard Stern, the so-called "King of All Media." I like them. While we're at it, let's add in Larry King. He's a pretty good king too. I feel the same about queens, except for drag queens, Freddie Mercury's Queen, Queen Latifah and maybe Dairy Queen once a year.
All the people who got so excited were right to think of the pope as a king or queen, because that's really what he is: a king or a queen. He did get "elected," but what kind of an election was that? I mean, how many women voted in that election? Oh, that would be zero. Because women can't be priests, they can't be bishops, and because they can't be bishops, they can't be cardinals, who are the people who vote for the new pope. I guess women don't count, then. On the other hand, I'm pretty sure that he got a lot of gay votes -- or to be more precise, a lot of anti-gay gay votes from the anti-gay gay bishops in the College of Cardinals.
I also wonder how many of the excited people had even heard of Jorge Mario Bergoglio before he became Pope Francis I. It would have to be almost nobody except for a few Argentinians. They like him because he's their guy. It's sort of like rooting for your soccer team. Some of the people who had never even heard of Cardinal Bergoglio expressed the hope that he might effect positive change within the Catholic Church. It's hard to see what that hope is based on. All the evidence suggests that Fr. Bergoglio is a decidedly old-school successor to the Chair of Saint Peter. The church denies accusations that Fr. Bergoglio was involved in the kidnapping of two Jesuit priests carried out by the Argentinian military junta in 1976. However, there is no denying that Fr. Bergoglio never once spoke out publicly against the junta's "Dirty War," a reign of terror that included kidnapping, torture and murder of opponents of the government. Supporting totalitarian regimes is very old-school Catholic. In fact, Fr. Bergoglio's silence would put him in perfect alignment with one of his illustrious predecessors, Pope Pius XII, who never said or did anything to oppose Adolf Hitler and the Holocaust.
We also know that the new pope is vehemently anti-gay (see "Pope Francis Against Gay Marriage, Gay Adoption" by The Huffington Post's Cavan Sieczkowski). He also strongly opposes women's reproductive rights. Anti-gay and anti-woman: That's pretty much the heart and soul of old-school Catholic teaching and hypocrisy. And what about the child sex abuse scandal? What will the new pope do about the fact that the Catholic Church is now rightly viewed by many people as the Universal Church of Disgrace? I wonder how many predatory priests are still priests in good standing? How many of them are bishops? How many are cardinals? How many sexual abusers or protectors of sexual abusers voted for Fr. Bergoglio?
When the new pope supports the freedom and equality of all people regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity, and when he shows the world that he has the courage to expose and prosecute every child-raping priest in the Catholic Church, I'll have some respect for him. If such a day ever came, there would actually be reason for excitement. Until then, I'll hold the confetti, but I won't be holding my breath.