Latinos love a good pope.

John Paul II was a rockstar when I was growing up in the ’80s and ’90s. His soft, amiable face was venerated in millions of homes, candles and rosaries wrapped around his likeness. He was a living saint, the embodiment of Christ.

Of course, that was before I discovered El Papa headed a multinational criminal enterprise of child rapists. When he got so old he would tremble and mumble, I began to think maybe he wasn’t God’s chosen spokesman here on earth.

There was no relief in the election of JP2’s successor, Ratzinger, who had been the prefect of the Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (or head of the historical Inquisition) for over two decades. Basically, Ratz was the guy charged with making sure the flock kept to strict Church doctrine and that no one found out about the priests putting more in the mouths of little boys than wafers.

But now that the last guy’s retired and has handed the papal crosier to an Argentine, Francisco, much of the Latino world seems to be re-Catholicizing. Latin America and Latino America alike follow Francisco like they follow their favorite celebrity. They know where he went this weekend and what he said. They talk about how he personally paid for his hotel stay on his first day, and how he washed the feet of two female prisoners on Holy Thursday.

The Catholic world buzzed when they heard he refused to wear the papal mozzetta the night of his election by saying, “The carnival is over.” Few people know he never said anything like that at all, but corrections don’t grab as much headlines as lies do.

Then, in late May, Francisco delivered a homily in which he said atheists were saved along with Catholics. Well, that’s not exactly what he said, but that’s how the gaga liberal media spinned it.

The pope was only expressing something anyone who’s read the New Testament knows full well, that Jesus came to save the entire world, not just the Jews of Roman Palestine. But only the nonbelievers who have no knowledge of Christ and His teaching. As for those who’ve heard of Jesus’ teaching and still reject Him, Paul the Apostle told the Corinthians what they should do with such people.

The media did little to clarify the pope’s remarks, and thanks to their fluff, some people now believe the head of the Catholic Church “might be an atheist.”

Most recently, on Monday, the media got another Vatican-sized boner when Francisco told reporters, “Who am I to judge a gay person?” That was the headline, and that’s what most articles opened with.

There’s only one, tiny problem: The pope didn’t quite say that.

You only need peruse a little further to see that Francisco isn’t pro-gay as the media would have you believe. The pope’s full rhetorical question was, “Who am I to judge a gay person of goodwill who seeks the Lord?” Ah! How ending a quote mid-sentence can change its meaning!

What Franky was explaining is, again, traditional Christ teaching on submission to the Lord’s authority and not passing judgment on others. Under Catholic doctrine, you can have homosexual feelings and still be spared from eternal hellfire, so long as you suppress those feelings, abstain from homosexual acts and give yourself over to the ethereal despot.

Nonetheless, that’s not how the media presented the story, and so gay rights groups are praising the pope’s apparent tolerance toward gays.

News sites mostly ignored the other thing Francis said during his flight from Brazil to his palatial headquarters. While the pope is okay with gay priests, he will never tolerate women in the priesthood.

Why the liberal media wants to clean up the Church’s image, I’ll never know. I thought secularism was a pillar of liberal politics, and so liberals shouldn’t care what any church official says — whether it’s “Love thy neighbor” or “Burn, baby burn.” The very essence of religion is incompatible with the secular goals most progressives should have.

That Latinos are gushing over Pope Francis is just as disgusting, albeit much more understandable. The Vatican displayed brilliant political skill in its election of the first Latin American pope, and Latin Americans and Latinos alike are doing exactly as planned by going easy on the new guy and his boogeyman organization.

Latinos have mostly shelved their indignation toward the Church over child rape, backwardness and intolerance. Now Latino Catholics have a lovable mascot again. It doesn’t seem like a good time to remind them of the terrible realities.

I shutter to think how Latinos will act when America elects its first Latino president.

If that ever happens, heaven help us.

 

[Photo: Abode of Chaos via Flickr]

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