Holy smoke

12 Mar

Good times for the Vatican-watchers among us. Who will be the new pope? Maybe an African? Or maybe an Italian? One thing is certain: it will be a man. An old man, you can rely on that. And that like his predecessors the new pope will be against gay marriage, abortion and condoms, I’d bet my money on that too.
The 115 old men who will retire in the Sistine Chapel during the next days (average age: 71) do not have an awful lot to choose from. Because the main criterion for becoming pope is apparently still “testiculos habet et bene pendentes” (he has balls and is well hung). So what those men in dresses need to discuss all those days? It’s a mystery to me.
Fortunately, Dutch broadcaster RKK keeps us informed with a daily Pope journal, bringing us the latest news from Rome.
Meanwhile, the Holy See is not sitting still. God’s messengers are currently busy lobbying in New York, where the annual UN Commission on the Status of Women is being held. In an ad hoc coalition of countries like Iran, Russia and Syria the Vatican is hoping to stall a number of international agreements on women’s rights or, even worse, turn back the clock.
Not surprising, for an institution that prides itself on being an old boys’ network. But does that really keep the chimney smoking in the year 2013?
Fortunately even within its own constituency there are ever louder calls for change. “We need a pope who listens to women,” says the progressive organization Catholics for Choice. Rightly so. In order to remain relevant in a world where women, young people, gay men and lesbians together form an absolute majority, it might be an idea to look beyond old men. Or I am trying to be more Catholic than the pope here?

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