1148 The South Rises
No, no. Not that south. The southern hemisphere. The Church of Rome has picked a fellow from Argentina to lead it as pope. Pope Francis is no kid. He’s 76. But he looks vigorous and friendly.
No, no, not that kind of friendly... the kind of tickle-monster friendly of a Jerry Sandusky or the pseudo devout kind of friendly of the too many priests caught with too many young boys and an occasional underage girl. REAL friendly. In the more traditional use of the word.
But friendly isn’t enough to decontaminate the kind of poison that’s been this institution’s hallmark for too many years, maybe too many decades.
The electing cardinals have elected the first pope from the Americas. But Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio’s family roots are in Italy. So they’ve elected the first non-Euro pope in 1200 years, but only sort of.
This guy’s strong suit, as is the strong suit of many Latin American bishops and cardinals, is his powerful stand on poverty. He’s against it. And in his years in the church, he seems to have done all one can to combat it.
This is called doing the right thing. Now, all he needs to do is do the right thing in a wider context.
It’s time to quit covering up the excesses of the clergy in any organized faith. Child abusers, check kiters, money launderers and all kinds of other ne’er do wells.
This problem is in no way unique to catholicism. But because of the church’s size, power and financial clout it’s a great place to start cleaning up.
Chances are pope Francis, as he now is known, won’t do much to interfere with the mechanics. It’s not for us to evaluate that kind of thing. It’s unlikely he will allow priests to marry or women to become priests. Don’t look for any breakthroughs on abortions or birth control.
But as a huge, multinational corporation, this outfit needs to clean house, to throw the felons to the proper wolves instead of sweeping all this stuff under the rug.
The Vatican Bank needs to clean its books and to disavow those who allegedly have been using it as a mechanism of money laundering.
If pope Francis can shine some light on this rats nest, he may someday become the third guy known as St. Francis.
At his age, he may have enough time to bring the troops and the institution into line. He has the clout. Let’s hope he has the will, the vigor and the determination.
--Speaking of institutions in tatters, the governor of Michigan has named a manager to try to straighten out the miserable mess in Detroit. With the nation’s largest ever municipal bankruptcy waiting in the wings, Kevyn Orr has his work cut out for him. Corruption aplenty aside, it’s the money class that has bankrupted the city by screwing up and killing America’s single most important industry, building cars and trucks.
I’m Wes Richards. My opinions are my own but you’re welcome to them. ®
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© WJR 2013