Pope Francis’ new clothes: Why his progressive image is white smoke and mirrors
Don't buy his populist rhetoric. The new pope is every bit the sexist homophobe as his predecessors
Anna March, The Weeklings
The Weeklings THE IMAGE OF Pope Francis is that he is a breath of fresh air, more progressive on social issues than his predecessor and a kinder, gentler pope. But when the facts are examined, you see that he is none of these things. There is an enormous disconnect between who the pope really is in terms of his policies and his public relations image, as crafted by the Vatican’s PR man, previously with Fox News. The current PR mission is all about reversing the incredible decline in fundraising under the last pope from the U.S. Catholic Church in particular. Pope Francis has made any number of statements that seem to indicate change and progress that are not reflected in policy. In fact, in the wake of such comments from Pope Francis, the Vatican often makes a point to explicitly state that no church policy has changed.
While the pope transmits a populist vibe—particularly about the economy— he is an old-school conservative who, despite his great PR, maintains nearly all of the socialpolicies of his predecessors and keeps up a hardline Vatican “cabinet.” He has done virtually nothing to change the policies of the church to match his more compassionate rhetoric. People excuse the pope, claiming that he doesn’t have much power to make changes, but this simply isn’t true. Further, it is ludicrous to suggest that a man who denies comprehensive reproductive health care (including all forms of birth control including condoms and abortion) and comprehensive family planning is a man who cares about the poor of this world. The bigotry of homophobia and sexism cloaked in religion are still bigotry and sexism. By giving to the church, American Catholics aren’t supporting “progress,” they are supporting oppression and in this way are complicit in the bigotry, sexism, and oppression of the church.
Pope Francis to the rescue of a church in financial crisis
People in the U.S. have fallen hard for Pope Francis. According to polls conducted byThe Washington Post/ABC and CNN, his approval ratings with Americans are sky high. “Seven-in-ten U.S. Catholics also now say Francis represents a major change in direction for the church,” according to a poll conducted by the Pew Research Center. In truth, while he is a PR darling, the new pope aligns closely on social issues with his predecessor, the wildly unpopular Pope Benedict XVI.
The wheels were set in motion to change the perception of the church before Pope Francis was elected. In March of 2010, Pope Benedict XVI had only a 40 percent favorable rating in the United States. By June of that year, the U.S. Bishops were planning a PR campaign to soften their image and attract the younger generation. Shortly thereafter, the Vatican hired Greg Burke, a former Fox News correspondent, as a senior communications adviser reporting directly to the Vatican’s third-ranking official, Archbishop Giovanni Angelo Becciu. The New York Times points out that Mr. Burke had previously met Cardinal Timothy Dolan, the archbishop of New York, and “did not rule out that being known by the cardinal might have helped him get hired.” Clearly, the American cardinals have a great deal of influence over Vatican PR, given how much Vatican funding comes from the U.S. Burke is a traditionalist, a celibate, a member of the conservative catholic alliance Opus-Dei, and his spiritual practices reportedly include self-flagellation, in keeping with Opus Dei traditionalists.
The new sexist, nun-hating, poverty-perpetuating, pedophile-protecting homophobe is the same as the old sexist, nun-hating, poverty-perpetuating, pedophile-protecting homophobe, but gosh how the media loves him
Full article: http://www.salon.com/2014/06/22/pope_franciss_liberal_reformer_image_is_all_smoke_and_mirrors_partner/