As a gay man raised a catholic – nay, Roman catholic – and as a Filipino over four and a half decades grown increasingly indifferent to religion for one reason or another, I viewed all the coverage over the selection of a new pope with a mixed bag of disappointment and detachment. It was disturbing to see all that papal fanaticism – really, any kind of fanaticism – full-on in the news, coupled with resignation to the fact that a lot of people really just can’t help themselves. It was for me at best a non-event, at worst merely a continuation of the same narrow-minded thinking that an elite few have chosen to plague the rest of us with.

I must admit I had some hope that the (reportedly) charismatic, multi-lingual, intellectually-gifted, Filipino Cardinal Tagle were chosen instead, mainly so that I at least could relate to him as a Filipino, as an Asian. For despite all my catholic protests, I find I still do want to remain connected to my spirituality. Plus there’s something powerful to be said about cultural affinity.

Sadly, that was asking too much. Clearly the catholic elite, the same group that waited four centuries to admit the Sun didn’t revolve around the Earth, will not elect anyone based on competency (alone) – for the devil that is politics rears its horns everywhere, even in a holy-land as the Vatican. Because even as the majority may say that Jorge Beroglio is the first non-European pope, only the blind can’t see he’s clearly still one, and not surprisingly he brings with him the same rhetoric. He calls homosexuality immoral, gay marriage an ‘anthropological throwback‘ and gay adoption ‘discrimination against children‘ (whatever that means).  

If there’s one thing this new pope does bring to me, it’s more questions.
What if anything do I have in common with an elderly white man.
Why should a religion tinged with so much scandal and excess still be held in high regard.
Should I choose to remain with an organization that itself chooses to shun me because I’m gay.
Habemus papam. Do I really have a pope.
The ultimate question maybe is, do I really need one.

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