Papal Hoopla

During our recent travels, I would check in with the Celebrity News Network (that is what the initials stand for, isn't it?) to catch up on world news.  Almost without exception, the reports were focused on Pope Francis and his visit to Cuba and the United States.

There is little doubt, from what I have learned, that the Pope is a kind, humble and generous man; his comments on tolerance and his devotion to the poor and disenfranchised add to his positive image.  Of course, as a naturalist, I am also pleased that he has expressed concern about global warming and its disproportionate effects on impoverished populations.

On the other hand, his Church, and organized religion in general, have been responsible for a great deal of human suffering throughout recorded history.  Even Pope Francis, admired by most Catholics and many non-Catholics alike, will not likely alter Church dogma when it comes to gay marriage, women's rights, contraception and other important social issues; neither has he adequately addressed the scourge of sexual abuse among his legions.  To win my support, he would have to admit that organized religion is a divisive force in human society and that our focus should be on kindness, cooperation and generosity, not on rituals, ancient scripture and entrenched dogma.  Unfortunately, I don't expect that to happen.