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Pope Francis Signals 'Historic' Shift for Catholic Church, Publicly Supporting Civil Unions for Same-Sex Couples

Originally published at http://www.commondreams.org/news/2020/10/21/pope-francis-signals-historic-shift-catholic-church-publicly-supporting-civil-unions

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I hope Catholics realize that this Pope is the only thing that stands between Catholicism and a major loss of its flock.

Besides declaring Trump to be the Antichrist, His next move has to be support for contraception.

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And the rights of other animals.

According to the Catholic Church (in which I was raised and taught this), “Brute beasts, not having understanding and therefore not being persons, cannot have any rights. The conclusion is clear. They are not autocentric. They are of the number of THINGS, which are another’s: they are chattels, or cattle. We have no duties to them…. Nor are we bound to any anxious care to make [their] pain as little as may be. Brutes are THINGS in our regard: so far as they are useful to use, they exist for us, not for themselves; and we do right in using them unsparingly for our need and convenience….” Jesuit Joseph Rickaby

When it comes down to human needs and human pleasures (and almost ANYTHING will do) versus animal lives and suffering, all the major religions fail. As long as animals are given no moral standing and abusing them is not considered a sin and a crime, religious statements/commands are empty abstractions without a follow-up shift in doctrine.

Jun. 19th, 2015 05:13 pm Pope Francis is no ally of mine

by Pax Ahimsa Gethen

It seems every time Pope Francis, the current head of the Catholic Church, suggests that we might not want to torture or outright kill people who don’t look or act like us, progressives fall all over each other to embrace him as an ally. Saying “If someone is gay and seeks the Lord with good will, who am I to judge?” landed him on the [cover of The Advocate] as “Person of the Year”. And now, saying “It is contrary to human dignity to cause animals to suffer or die needlessly” has garnered the praise of animal rights organizations…

Let’s look behind the curtain at what this man is really about. As head of the Catholic Church, Pope Francis supports equal rights for one and only one category of people: Straight cisgender monogamous human males. He does not support reproductive rights for women (or anyone with a female-assigned reproductive system). He does not support same-sex marriage. He does not support gender transition. He does not support anyone other than straight cisgender men taking leadership roles in the Catholic Church.

In these regards, he is no different from any other Pope before him. Many individual Catholics feel differently, but it is the Pope specifically who is being praised by LGB and animal rights organizations. And as a queer trans person, I cannot tolerate this hypocrisy. This Pope, like all other Popes before him, is unapologetically sexist, heterosexist, cissexist, and speciesist. [The Church’s doctrines and dogma speak for the Church.]

I chose the words “heterosexist” and “cissexist” rather than the more familiar “homophobic” and “transphobic” to highlight that I don’t necessarily believe Pope Francis hates or is afraid of LGBT people. But whether he loves us or hates us is irrelevant; he is oppressing us. He makes theism, celibacy (in the case of gays and lesbians), and non-transition (in the case of trans people) prerequisites to his acceptance of us as worthy humans. Having compassion for someone and not outright condemning them is not allyship. If the Pope - or anyone else - does not support full and equal rights for all people regardless of gender or sexual orientation, he is not an ally.

In animal rights terms, the Pope’s language about “needless” suffering and dying is a welfarist smokescreen unless he follows it with a clear declaration that animals are not property for humans to enslave and kill for their flesh, eggs, milk, or any other purpose. Again here, it does not matter whether or not the Pope truly loves animals. I disagree with those who say that you cannot simultaneously love animals and be non-vegan. It is entirely possible, sadly, for someone to love an animal and still believe it is OK to enslave and kill them, because we live in a deeply speciesist society.

What matters is the perspective of the victim: The animal who is suffering and dying. And all farmed animals suffer and die needlessly, regardless of whether they are imprisoned in a factory farm or a backyard. As long as animals are considered the property of humans, this will not change, no matter how many encyclicals the Catholic Church releases talking about the value of animals in the eyes of the Lord. It is lip service, it is political, it is empty. “Humane” farming is the ultimate betrayal, visible in the terrified eyes of every fish, pig, chicken, calf, and lamb whose throat is slit for their flesh, skin, eggs, milk, or wool. Animal farming itself is, indeed, “needless”. But you won’t hear that from the Vatican.

I don’t want to hear about baby steps. Humans who make purchasing decisions are adults, not babies, and don’t need a religious figurehead to decide for them whether or not to enslave and kill animals for their meals, clothing, and entertainment. As a queer black trans human who seeks total animal liberation, the Pope is no ally of mine.

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I was going to say, there is little merit to expanding or condoning “civil rights” for people that already have this as equal protection. He exempts “spiritual protection” which it is bit much considering he doesn’t have the authority or exclusive rights on spirituality. You provided a larger context.

Thank you for your well reasoned post.

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…and for a woman’s right to choose.

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The right to choose genie is never going back in the bottle.

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Taken together with last week’s momentous BBC HARD TALK 23 minute uninterrupted interview with half of the identical twin brothers Rob and Paul Schenck who have served for decades as leaders within the worst politicized segments of the Evangelical Movement, the Pope’s remarks remain isolated without the weight of Catholic Community discussion.

This Pope has not led by any efforts at convening a public and ecumenical forum for the faithful to discuss such radical re-thinking that he himself has engaged in during his time on the job. Nor has he drafted any new papal encyclicals to be circulated and discussed. That was the least that the global church-wide sex scandals and abrogation of legal responsibilities seemed to require.

However, it is fascinating and pregnant with possibilities that despite Rev. Rob Schenck having published a memoir about a year ago explaining his Pilgrims’ Progress from anti-abortion terrorist and political activist that carefully explained the rigorous internal steps that led him to a public mea culpa for not only helping forge what he now calls the deal with the devil that the U.S. Evangelical Movement made in lining up to support Donald Trump and before that the tacticians behind the Reagan-Bush MORNING IN AMERICA campaign led by the massive recruitment of apolitical evangelicals via the GOP tacticians who founded the Moral Majority (Ralph Reed) and got the Religious Right Wing (coordinated and organized by political consultant Frank Luntz) Identity Movement of New Conservatives to demonize Liberalism (except for Neo-Liberal E-CONomics which the Gospel of Prosperity wholly supported under their preferred secular name of Neo-Cons), Rev Rob Schenck and his brother Rev Paul Schenck have not been seen as news-worthy to much of any U.S. corporate-captured News Media.

Except for a brief lone segment on CNN with Christine Amanpour that triggered no herd instinct among national journalists even before the pandemic and this year of national leadership political campaigning with the courting of support from all communities of faith.

Check this BBC interview one-on-one out on HARD TALK last week. I thought I knew a lot about the formation of the Religious Right Wing and Moral Majority from the pool of mostly apolitical Evangelicals back in the 1980’s. The main academic researcher into that movement never had much entry into mainstream media but back then I was working in alternative media and sought out her work. Sara Rose Diamond as she was working on her PhD at U.C.-Berkeley was all over the community radio (Pacifica Foundation and College radio coast to coast) and left wing press explaining her findings in her two landmark studies. Sara Diamond left the increasingly gypsy life of adjunct college instructors and became a practicing lawyer and doesn’t seem to be sourced much with the rise of the Cult of Personality and the Cult of Q Anon to shed light on the dynamics within the political activation of the U.S. Evangelical movement.

Yet, not until troubled sleep and insomnia with the OPB station playing through the wee hours did I begin to hear and see where we as a nation need to go, together, regardless of our Identity Politics and fractured faith-based failures at a truly Public Interest form of policy-making.
~https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/w3cszc6z

Oregon Public Radio or OPB is the state-wide franchise on NPR that I find to be so much a part of the ideological indoctri-NATION of the corporate caliphate’s form of inverted totalitarianism to borrow Sheldon Wolin’s concept and the very mainstreaming and Americanizing of Fascist socio-political dynamics. Overnight they carry the far more Public Interest feed from the BBC overseas World Affairs program HARD TALK. I was sweating in bed after these 23 uninterrupted minutes in deep discussion with truly useful antagonistic yet knowledgeable interrogation by BBC host Stephen Sackur. When it was done I began to see where I needed to go for a whole ground-level view of how Evangelicals came to support such clearly opportunistic and base movements that were fomenting fascism here in the U.S. under full political and corporate cover.

While I always saw the hierarchy of the Evangelical Movement as being in it for their own benefit and personal privileges, I retained respect for a few dear and committed life-long friends who had been swept up, apparently like the brothers Schenck in an idealistic and conscience-based church-based movement. The socio-political arm of the movement, or the Political Economy of the movement (relevant since Evangelicals overlap ethnically with the Protestant-based Gospel of Prosperity) despite clearly having enough critical thinking skills working to be able to reconcile where this was all leading.

Check this out and let U.S. all hold Joe Biden to such a standard of Mea Culpa and self-explanation for his political career of being the Democrat In Name Only from the bank secrecy legal fiction state of Delaware, should Biden-Harris be the winners of the upcoming election. I was in tears listening and identifying with much of Rev Schenck’s clearly difficult transformation and steps out of an ideological hole he finds he and his twin brother had dug within their all-too-successful perches atop the Evangelical Movement.

Rev Schenck himself describes his going public, regardless of the lack of support from any segment within the U.S. branch of the Evangelical Movement which the brothers and other like-minded Evangelicals are trying to save and redeem as being a kind of “Public Confession.”

I have more reading and investigating to do on my own with the available documentation I didn’t know about until this broadcast, but clearly there are solidly reasoned new positions these brothers have taken that are motivated by the prospect of the dissolution of the U.S. Evangelical Movement, which Rev Schenck links to what led the German nation to embrace Totalitarianism in the form of the NAZI Party as their democratically chosen solution to the German national problems after the terms of surrender of WW 1:
~https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/w3cszc6z

The Pope has some kindred spirits, if ethnically and theologically distinct from where the Reverands Schenck are coming from and returning to with a changed mission.

As members of the U.S. body politic though, we do need to revisit how it was that such a political force was recruited from a previously institutionally apolitical community of faith. Perhaps by a church leadership hierarchy and the GOP post-Nixon\Agnew\Watergate\Enemies List era revival just as Neo-Liberal E-CONomics were becoming the conservative Right Wing doctrines and dogma after the Neo-Cons overthrew Nixon, Buchanan, Kirkpatrick, Safire and Kevin Phillips et al who were the ideological drivers of the Paleo-Cons that still championed America First loyalty to the U.S.'s Post WW II socio-economic doctrines.

Our internal markets and world leading (organized, unionized labor) worker productivity and output was part of the mytho-poetics of that bi-partisan value system of the 1940’s and 1950’s that became something very different toward the end of the 1960’s and early 1970’s when one spoke politically of being an AMERICA FIRST-er.

That political\civics\identity loyalty for a few decades after WW II led to the bi-partisan privileging of U.S. manufacturing and market equalizers rather than protections when we were competing on global markets against less-developed and often impoverished nation-states where worker rights were non-existent and the only union organizing allowed was to join the union organized by the regime in charge of the government and military.

The results were the largest growth of a working middle class with access to affordable higher education and advancement in U.S. history. It also finally shifted U.S. from the collapse of Wall Street, Big Ag both victimized by a failure to regulate and then to enforce federal regulators led by hard science that ushered in the GREAT DEPRESSION after the panic and withdrawal of funds and public trust in banks and robber baron utility and transport monopolies along with industrial cartels. For all the talk now of a GREEN NEW DEAL, it is important to recall that even through the booming War Economy of the U.S.'s late entry into WW II (after our industries and energy sciences sold their products, services and consulting to all sides of both Euro Imperial World Wars, see Wiki for how the Koch Family built their Right Wing Conservative dynasty) and even after FDR’s gradual support for the original NEW DEAL guided by Public Interest advisors and federal agencies committed to Public Interest socio-economic outcomes like building infra-structure and regulatory agencies to restore trust in banking and domestic investment the U.S. economy did not really recuperate until the Post WW II programs that provided the very low-income subsidized public housing that our current President’s father Fred Trump built his family fortunes from.

SHRINK BIG GOVERNMENT? The Trumps led the rush to the spigots of government contracts and gave the Cold War Washington propaganda campaigns a way to beat back the 2 popular Democratic Socialist political parties that were eclipsing the bankrupt GOP and Dixie Crat led Democratic Party in popularity and support. Back then the Trump family were well-connected to both the utterly corrupt Democratic Party political machine that ran NY state and also the Liberal anti-corruption and Pro Public Development Reformers within the Republican Party like Senator Jacob Javits and NYC Mayor John V. Lindsay and the Paleo-Conservative yet Democratic Party NY State Governor Robert F. Wagner that went around the machine politics to build winning constituencies that produced some amazing Public Interest accomplishments that mitigated some of the racist exclusion on the ground as public services grew and opportunities along with worker rights were spreading back to the urban centers after the White Flight that attended the corruption plagued national efforts at Public Housing and infrastructure projects that still brought jobs back during the anti-war and pro civil rights movements of the turbulent 1960’s and reactionary back-lash of the 1970’s.

One of the Democratic Socialist political parties of the 20th Century was led by a reformist Protestant Minister named Norman Thomas who we rarely recall in our amnesiac mass media approach to our own national and regional history.**
~https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Norman_Thomas

The other Democratic Socialist party Labor organizer (with the Wobblies dba IWW), social activist and political challenger during the great early 20th Century Feudal Age that was marked not by any Working Middle Class expansion but rather by a concentration of wealth was led by working class rabble rouser and gifted debater and organizer, Eugene Debs.
~https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eugene_V._Debs

Debs rose to national political influence and prominence via public and painstaking persuasion during the late 19th Century and early 20th Century. His development of a political program led by Big Strong PUBLIC INTEREST-based Government came after a very long and slow recovery from the economic bust of the mini-depression set off by the financial industry known to economists and few others in mass media and public education as The Panic of 1873.

During the nadir of these dark times before much of any working middle class had arisen from the Feudal Lords among our U.S. Founding Fathers (no Mothers or Women Need Apply for Voter Registration and the U.S. Senate was selected by our republic’s landed leaders rather than by popular vote) the un-checked anti-competitive wealth and property amassed by the Robber Barons and what was known as The Gilded Age that led into the Great Depression there was the sort of revolutionary ferment from below the landed gentry, Captains of Industry and finance elite that many of our founders rhetorically not only anticipated after declaring independence from the British monarchy and its chartering of global corporations to advance their own Private rather than Public Interest.

Many of our nation’s founding fathers advocated regular revolutionary overhauls of the established government that on the ground could not bridge the divide between the flowery rhetoric and ideals of the founding documents capped by the Bill of Rights, yet also set U.S. on the path to what we ironically refer to as the Civil War by excluding vast segments of our population from political participation\representation.

That grass roots movement of participatory democracy was led by a labor leader and social activist from conservative Indiana. The state where white women cultivated the institutional Ku Klux Klan and helped mainstream its TERROR TACTICS politically, culturally and economically:
~https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Women_of_the_Ku_Klux_Klan

Women of the Klan as studied by historian and U.C. Press author Dr. Kathleen Blee was a tribal and racialist (White Anglo Saxon Protestant aka WASP) political and social advocacy for many of the same causes, as Republican President Teddy Roosevelt called his breakaway political party that challenged corporate monopoly anti-trust\anti-competitive subversion of the republic the PROGRESSIVE PARTY that International Workers of the World (IWW) struggled to forge in the New Nation and New World with leaders like Eugene Debs who wound up being imprisoned when his more inclusive political party and movement got too close to winning national electoral support:
~https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eugene_V._Debs

Mitch Ritter\Paradigm Sifters, Code Shifters and Song Chasers
Lay-Low Studios, Ore-Wa
Media Discussion List and Looksee

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Let’s hope that now 1,000 years or more of VATICAN demonizing homosexuals
will come to an end –

and that this message will quickly filter down to those who still try to prove their own
heterosexuality by attacking gays and lesbians –

It’s over – !!!

Now let’s keep working on the rest of the Vatican’s DEMONIZING and get that
stopped as well – !!

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And for a child’s right not to be used for sex.