Over at the headquarters of the National Organization for Marriage, they’re busy popping open the champaign and celebrating the ascension of Pope Francis I. After all, Pope Francis, like his predecessor and his predecessor’s predecessor, is pretty anti-gay, right? After all, Francis I has called same-sex marriage an attack on God’s plans, and declared adoption rights for same-sex couples to be discriminatory against children.
NOM executive director Brian Brown even wrote:
As you have no doubt heard, the Catholic Church has a new Pope! Pope Francis (formerly Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio of Argentina) is a humble man and a dedicated servant to the poor. He is also an outspoken advocate for God’s design for marriage as the union of one man and one woman.
I believe Pope Francis will follow in the steps of Pope Benedict XVI and provide a consistent and strong voice in support of marriage and children. Our prayers go out to him as he leads the world’s over 1 billion Catholics in the weeks, months, and years ahead.
Yes, in the past Pope Francis wrote about marriage:
“Let’s not be naive, we’re not talking about a simple political battle; it is a destructive pretension against the plan of God. We are not talking about a mere bill, but rather a machination of the Father of Lies that seeks to confuse and deceive the children of God.”
With regards to adoption rights, Pope Francis wrote:
“At stake is the identity and survival of the family: father, mother and children. At stake are the lives of many children who will be discriminated against in advance, and deprived of their human development given by a father and a mother and willed by God. At stake is the total rejection of God’s law engraved in our hearts.”
Before Brown and Maggie Gallagher crack open the bubbly, maybe they should take a closer look at this whole thing. As far as I am aware, not a single Cardinal in the College of Cardinals supports same-sex marriage or LGBT rights. In fact, Pope Francis’ words are pretty much in line with what everyone including Pope John-Paul II said about homosexuality.
The problem for Brown and NOM is that Pope Francis is not the kind of man who would get deeply involved in politics. Yes, he wrote a couple of letters to the President of Argentina. What he did not do is threaten to excommunicate any Catholic politician who voted for same-sex marriage. In fact, Pope Francis has come down harshly on priests who interfered too much in politics, from the looks of things.
Yes, he did pull a priest out of the public eye for breaking ranks and supporting same-sex marriage, but that is, like it or not, ‘fine’. It was his diocese, and while stifling to debate, it was well within his power to do so. The fact that he did not intervene directly or threaten the members of the Argentine Parliament with excommunication for daring to support same-sex marriage actually bodes ill for NOM.
You might be wondering why…well, that is easy. If Pope Francis lives up to the man whom he apparently took his name from- St. Francis of Assisi- then he may be a big problem for the likes of Brown and the other activist Catholics out there. Where Cardinal Dolan of New York has been willing to go full throttle into American politics, Pope Francis has appeared to be reluctant to get involved in secular politics.
If this holds up, then Brown could find himself and his group in deep trouble largely because they will be unable to rely on the Church for funding or support. If Pope Francis really pushes that the Church stick to their own and stop interfering with the political orders of other nations other than expressing his displeasure, Brown could find his funding cut severely, and the support he has gotten from various local bishops, priests and cardinals gone.
So, Brian, don’t celebrate too soon.