Soon after Jorge Mario Bergoglio became head of the Roman Catholic Church and changed his name to Pope Francis, Center for Inquiry US released a statement entitled “Secularist Group Pessimistic for Church Modernization Under Pope Francis”
“As with anyone taking on a position of substantial responsibility, in which decisions can affect the lives of millions, we sincerely hope for the best for Pope Francis. However, even leaving aside the fact that the institution he oversees is based on a fundamentally false understanding of reality, at this stage one cannot be too optimistic about the prospects of Francis bringing the Church into the 21st century. Indeed, even the Church’s dipping a toe into the 20th century seems unrealistic.”
Although my Canadian Atheist post on the Center for Inquiry US press release is no longer available, I remember the post criticized CFI for “sincerely [hoping] for the best for Pope Francis.”
Today, in a Huffington Post article entitled “A Muted Secular Welcome for Pope Francis,” Ron Lindsay,
I sincerely hope the pope’s trip goes well.
and goes on to show that even though he is the head of a secular organization with the mission “to foster a secular society based on science, reason, freedom of inquiry, and humanist values, he understands that Catholics enthusiastic about the Pope’s visit to the US:
His visit means a lot to millions of my fellow Americans. Although I do not share their religious beliefs, I can understand their enthusiasm and I respect their right to practice their religion, including holding mass events to celebrate the presence of the leader of their church.
Lindsay goes on to admit that “even those of us who are not Catholic seem to like Pope Francis” because, wait for it,
he does seem to be a more compassionate figure, as indicated, for example, by his taking steps to make the Catholic Church more welcoming to gays and lesbians.
It’s obvious Lindsay hasn’t read Stop Applauding the Pope“:‘s article “
Pope Francis is not a good person. He might not look so bad cloaked in the shadow of his predecessor, Pope Benedict, but I urge you to look at him in the light. Gauged on his own, and gauged against other more progressive, tolerant, and intelligent social leaders, Francis is revealed to be little but the latest and shiniest vehicle through which the Vatican can push its oldest and dustiest doctrines.
It is also obvious that what annoys Lindsay the most is the Pope has been invited to address Congress:
A bedrock principle of our secular democracy is that the government has no business interfering in religious matters, and it certainly has no right to show preferential treatment to a religious leader simply because many more Americans belong to his religious body.
According to Lindsay,
Congress should never have invited Pope Francis to speak, and, to show respect for our secular democracy, he should have declined the invitation.
Pope Francis would never have declined the invitation; Pope Francis has no respect for your secular democracy or any other country’s secular democracy.