Tuesday, March 19, 2013

The Pope...and Ultrarunning

I get why the Catholic Church (1.2 billion members) and its new pope are a big deal in the world. 

But I can't help but nod in agreement when I read the following (this was First Draft quoting Simon Hoggart).  Bolding is mine, for emphasis:

We used to say de mortuis nil nisi bonum (don't speak ill of the dead), but that's all changed with warts-and-all obituaries. Now we are incredibly nice instead about people who've just been promoted. Take the new pope. He seems to be an astonishing man of parts. Questions have been raised about his relationship with the vile Argentinian junta, but at the same time he is a plain-living revolutionary, having come from outside the Vatican curia, bringing a breath of modest fresh air from the new world. Yet nothing will change. He is against contraception, abortion, divorce, gay marriage and female priests. It's as if Lenin arrived at the Finland station in St Petersburg, announcing, "Comrades, I bring thrilling news! Things are going to carry on much as before!"
The link to Ultrarunning?  Just a simple analogy.  There have been uncounted discussions over the years on the Ultra List and other places about runners who complain about a particular race director's rules.  But the bottom line is that the race director gets to make the rules for their race.  Duh! 

If you don't like those rules, you either work to get them changed, or take your entry fee elsewhere, literally voting with your feet to run a different race.  

So it is with the Catholic Church.  The policies above are incompatible with my belief system, so I'm not a Catholic.  It's not that hard.  But despite the fact that the new pope seems likely to pursue policies that reflect genuine concern for the downtrodden and for nature--both good things--the point of the article quoted above is that no matter how kindly or good a man Pope Francis is, he still presides over a very conservative entity that does not recognize the full agency of women.  And for me that's the ultimate dealbreaker.


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