The Requisite Papal Post


“And now let us begin this journey, the Bishop and people, this journey of the Church of Rome, which presides in charity over all the Churches, a journey of brotherhood in love, of mutual trust. Let us always pray for one another. Let us pray for the whole world that there might be a great sense of brotherhood.”

Pope Francis

Pope Francis, by Milt PriggeeAmong the billions of people around the world who are not Catholics, many look upon the papal pomp and circumstance with a certain measure of curiosity ranging from the benign to the banal to the belligerent. The personality cult surrounding the pontiff is a strange enough, given the bland personalities required for such a storied and bound office, but even those who see nothing more than a bunch of old men playing dress-up might take a note about reverence. In tumultuous times that often seem devoid of solemn respect—well, that is the question, is it not?

Modern perceptions of religion are sharply caricaturized. One need not give over to religious belief in order to acknowledge that cynicism toward mystical fantasy need not include derision of ideas like sanctity and veneration. Perhaps this is a classic first world problem, a contrast that stands out clearly amid American affluence; we have the luxury of such discussions.

But the world needs next Medici pope only slightly less than the next Honey Boo Boo; there is only so much modernization critics of the Catholic Church can reasonably demand. Imagine Rick Santorum as pope.

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Today in Talking Points: Special Valentine’s Day edition


A special Valentine’s Day edition of Today in Talking Points:

    Washington state Governor Christine Gregoire celebrates after signing marriage equality into state law.  February 13, 2012.  Photo by J. Trujillo/SeattlePI.com

  • Washington state Governor Christine Gregoire signed marriage equality into law on Monday. The Evergreen State is the seventh to recognize and allow gay marriage.
  • The Washington Secretary of State’s Office has revised its designation of the ballot referendum against marriage equality after mistakenly assigning it a number already used.
  • Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum faced protests as he denounced Washington’s marriage equality law during an appearance in Tacoma.
  • New Jersey Governor Chris Christie is next up in the gay marriage debate. He intends to veto a bill establishing gay marriage in the Garden State, despite public opinion in favor.
  • Abbie Goldberg and Katherine A. Kuvalanka published an article on marriage equality for the Journal of Marriage and Family. Much of the February issue of JMF is dedicated to considering marriage.
  • Columnist and poet Michael Kindt considers one of the studies published in the February JMF, about marriage and cohabitation.
  • What is more romantic on Valentine’s Day than rape? Well, okay, that might seem a bit crude, but FOX News commentator Liz Trotta is suffering the slings and arrows of politics and general decency after arguing that women entering the military should expect to be sexually assaulted.
  • Meanwhile, in Uganda, one Simon Lokodo, the Minister for Ethics and Integrity, raided a gay rights workshop in Entebbe. Workshop organizer Kasha Jacqueline Nabagesera reportedly escaped the raid and is still at large. Ugandan MPs are once again trying to increase legal penalties for being homosexual, though the death penalty is expected to be dropped from the bill.
  • Two Catholic priests in Colombia are dead after allegedly hiring their own hitmen. Reports suggest one of the priests had contracted HIV, but relatives insist that the murders were part of an armed roberry, and Frs. Richard Piffano and Rafael Reatiga were not involved in a homosexual relationship.