It must be uncomfortable being Pope Francis, as he balances himself on the horns of a dilemma. To mix the metaphor, he needs to stand astride the fence with a foot planted firmly on either side of it. It fair makes yer eyes water.
On the one hand he has to fill his allotted role as the affable, avuncular, love, peace and tolerance-embracing contrast to his sinister predecessor, the former Nazi, Joseph Ratzinger, who, as Pope John Paul II's enforcer, orchestrated the child abuse cover-ups which are still damaging the Catholic Church.
On the other hand he has to defend and promote those Christians like Kim Davis who use their conspicuous piety as an excuse to persecute and deny basic human rights to the victims of their choice, blaming God and the Bible for their antisocial behaviour and demand for privilege, or see the haemorrhage away from the Catholic Church and into the lunatic fringe evangelical churches, increase yet again.
If not actually achieving anything very much in terms of practical, sustainable reforms of the Catholic Church as it struggles to keep up with the increasing influence of secular humanism throughout the civilised world, at least Pope Francis has been making some positive noises, albeit interspersed with some crass bloomers like seeming to announce that punching people is okay if they insult your religion or accusing Catholics who obey the Church's teaching on birth control of breeding like rabbits. He has tried, but failed, to change the church's official position on homosexuals - that basically they are a lower form of life and shouldn't have any rights - and has made some encouraging noises about climate change whilst doing nothing about the underlying cause - over-population.
And now, after talking about human rights, letting off those who have abortions as a, this year only one-off special offer, if they tell their priest about it, and more human rights, he managed to include the assumed right of Christians to abuse the minorities of their choice as a basic human right.
The right of a majority to deny human rights to a minority is a denial of human rights; the antithesis of what Pope Francis claims he wants to achieve. It's difficult to tell if the problem is that Pope Francis lacks the intellect to think this through; that he lacks the understanding to realise, in this case, one person's privilege is another person's repression, relegation to second-class status and dehumanisation, or if he lacks the integrity to risk the loss of support from the 'traditionalist', reactionary wing of the Church and stand up for the causes he purports to believe in.
But this is really the same old dilemma for the Catholic Church in particular and the Christian churches in general. The Bronze Age and Medieval morality enshrined and fossilised in the Bible and dogmatically presented as the unchanging, unchallengeable, eternal word of an omniscient, omnibenevolent god in order to make the Church's grip on power secure, is becoming increasingly irrelevant and an educated population is seeing through the charade.
People are taking responsibility for themselves and wresting the right to determine their own morality for themselves from the clutches of the church which usurped and subverted it nearly 2000 years ago. The only way the Church can ultimately come to terms with human progress is to abandon the central dogmas on which the power and authority of the clerics rests.
The dilemma for the Catholic Church is that if they change enough, they will cease to be Christian; if they don't change enough the people will cease to be Christian. If they do change they'll lose those who use religion as an excuse for hatred and persecution whilst posturing as our moral superiors and if they don't, they'll continue to lose those decent people increasingly repelled by the entrenched bigotry and in-group/out-group mentality. Either way, Christianity is reaching its own end times.
It doesn't need a blood moon to pressage that, just the unedifying spectacle of a Pope trying to stand astride a fence as more layers are built on top of it.
'via Blog this'