So, we have a new pope. Or rather, THEY have a new pope.
A little background. I'm a former Roman Catholic. And my family was not simply cafeteria catholics, we were in, deep. I spent 12 years in catholic school, I served alter, I taught CCD, I played folk mass for years. My father was a deacon whose bridge partner was the monsignor, I was a lay eucharistic minister. I met my ex on the altar (she was playing music, and noticed me singing in the congragation), I was married by a bishop. I spent my honeymoon in Medjugorje, stalking the Blessed Virgin Mary. So yeah - hard core.
More to the point, I was the sort of little kid that the catholic church targeted for priesthood - bullied, learned, fey, gender non-conforming. Over and over throughout my life, I was approached - by priests, nuns, adults - with the question "have you considered a vocation?". Which is what the catholic church did with little proto-queer kids back in the day. It explains a lot of the sex abuse scandals, IMHO, with a bunch of repressed gay men in positions of power and access to young men. On the other hand, I suspect had I been born in the gender I now inhabit, I probably would have made a fine nun...I had mad crushes on most of the nuns in my life.
So.....fast forward to today. I'm adamantly non-catholic; I've been officially uninvited from partaking in the sacraments (thanks to an annulment that my ex sought, which resulted in the church peering rather closely at my gender transition). My issues extend past my own stuff - I would support married priests, women priests, LGBT priests, LGBT marriage, birth control. Pretty much the full litany of women's issues (although I'm not a fan of abortion, if I ruled the world it would remain legal but we'd track and reduce the number through birth control, education, and support for unplanned / unwanted pregnancies. And truthfully, my own spiritual quest has taken me way beyond christianity - not sure I can or will ever believe in the "one god, one savior, one path" aspects of most christian sects.
However - I am quite delighted to see this pope elected. A humble, man of the people (reportedly, he got on the bus with the other cardinals last night, rather than take the papal limo / motorcade) - he's most recently lived in a humble flat, taken mass transit, cooked his own meals. And today's news, he swung by the residence / inn where he had been staying to settle the bill and pick up his luggage. There is something of the buddhist in this new pope....and humble spiritual seekers of all flavors are welcome in my world.
And to my facebook and twitter fans / friends wailing and gnashing teeth about women's issues, GLBT issues, etc. - well, what do you expect, he's a faithful Roman Catholic and that's the church's policy - they would never elect a pope who believed otherwise. If you identify as Roman Catholic and those issues are important to you, get out. I believe the church will change only if / when it loses all the cafeteria catholics whose hypocrisy allows them to pay lip service on sunday and then go vote and live the way they want. If you are not Roman Catholic, it's not your problem. Get over it.....