I don’t understand the wall-to-wall media coverage of the Pope’s death. I didn’t realize he was that popular.
I went to Catholic school from kindergarten through to Grade 13. All I learned about the Pope was that he was the top guy and he had the final say on everything. His name came up a lot in sex ed class. The nuns who taught the class told us we couldn't have sex until we were married “because the Pope said so.”
The Pope was always saying stuff that didn’t make sense to me. In Grade 2, I was told I couldn’t be an alter server because I was a girl. Why? Because the Pope said so. I was only eight years old at the time but it struck me as being profoundly unfair.
I don't have a problem with people who use religion to bring comfort or joy or meaning to their lives. I can respect that. What I do have a problem with is when religion becomes political. And the Pope was highly political.
It may seem hard to fault a man who preached love and compassion. But his love and compassion had boundaries that excluded women and gay men and lesbians.
To me, the Pope’s view on women and gay marriage and birth control is morally reprehensible. The AIDS tragedy in Africa is quite possibly the biggest health crisis the world has ever seen. Millions of people have died. Millions were children. And AIDS continues to march forward. It is staggering.
The Pope’s response? Don’t give people condoms because condoms will encourage people to have premarital sex. He even called contraception an “intrinsic evil.” What’s more evil? Condoms? Or allowing people to die of AIDS? It’s so backwards that I can’t even wrap my head around it.
The Pope, and millions of Catholics around the world, believed he was doing the right thing. But I can’t help but feel his deep beliefs did more harm than good.