Pope Francis, the hippest, most bro'd down Pope since Pope Brad the Chill (not a real pope), just did a long interview with an Italian newspaper — and it was the stuff of right wing nightmares. During the interview, the head of the Church stopped just short of chiding modern church leaders who are "obsessed" with gays and abortion, remarking that preoccupation with genitally-related moral issues detracts from Catholicism's overall mission. Guys: I think I've got a soul-crush on the new pope.
Turns out, he's not more of the same shit in a different hat, as Lindy mused he would be earlier this year. He's different. Think more friendly barefoot youth pastor who can play the guitar, less rigid Nazi gold hoarding pedophile protector. Upgrade!
The New York Times clipped some of the money bits from the Pope's interview (emphasis added, obviously):
We cannot insist only on issues related to abortion, gay marriage and the use of contraceptive methods. This is not possible. I have not spoken much about these things, and I was reprimanded for that. But when we speak about these issues, we have to talk about them in a context. The teaching of the church, for that matter, is clear and I am a son of the church, but it is not necessary to talk about these issues all the time.
The dogmatic and moral teachings of the church are not all equivalent. The church’s pastoral ministry cannot be obsessed with the transmission of a disjointed multitude of doctrines to be imposed insistently …
We have to find a new balance; otherwise even the moral edifice of the church is likely to fall like a house of cards, losing the freshness and fragrance of the Gospel. The proposal of the Gospel must be more simple, profound, radiant. It is from this proposition that the moral consequences then flow.
"FRESHNESS AND FRAGRANCE OF THE GOSPEL?" Why is the Pope turning me on?
His Bomb-Ass Holiness also went on to clarify that his "controversial" (if you're Antonin Scalia) statements on gays the other month ("Who am I to judge?") wasn't directed at gay clergy, as concerned Catholic homophobes were quick to speculate. Nope. He was talking about all the gays. Even the INCREDIBLY GAY ones.
When it comes to women, the pope is super duper against female priesthood, but is into something he calls the "feminine genius," which I hope isn't just code for "baby havin'."
Women are asking deep questions that must be addressed. The church cannot be herself without the woman and her role. The woman is essential for the church. Mary, a woman, is more important than the bishops. I say this because we must not confuse the function with the dignity. We must therefore investigate further the role of women in the church. We have to work harder to develop a profound theology of the woman. Only by making this step will it be possible to better reflect on their function within the church. The feminine genius is needed wherever we make important decisions.
I'm far from the only one crushing hard core on Pope Francis. The Atlantic Wire calls him "pretty rad," The Daily Show christened (AHAHAHA PUN INTENDED) him "World's Greatest Father," and even the professional mom-disappointers at VICE are stoked about him. Sarah Silverman's a fan, as is MSNBC's Chris Hayes. The Times reports that since he's donned the mitre, record crowds have been showing up to see Francis's public appearances. Twitter is exploding with Papal adoration today. It's bizarre.
Francis is basically the Beyoncé of organized religion.
Whether Francis's crowd-pleasing speeches are purely a rhetorical smokescreen designed to distract disenchanted followers from the church's loud Santorum-y reputation or indicators of a newer, less assy global Church presence remains to be seen. But, for now, voluntarily attending mass has never looked less awful to this lapsed Catholic.
Image via Getty, Hearts via Dodai Stewart