I spent some time with my grand mom in the village many years ago. I was a sickly child and my parents had to travel for a course. My siblings were with my uncle, but because of the fragility of my health, it was decided that my grandmother would be the best person to take care of me. I essentially did not go to school for about two months, and boy, did I enjoy being spoilt rotten by my grandparents; eating whatever I wanted to eat whenever (not like my parents who would cast dangerous glances at you when you try to scoop a third helping of milk). Anyway, my granny used to insist that I sleep with these really thick socks despite the fact that the weather was hot and humid. She talked about this rat that would chew on your toes while you slept and does it in a way that it feels pleasurable so you actually enjoy it in your sleep, not realizing that the soles of your feet are being chewed off. She believed this rat blew air on the skin, which generates a cooling sensation that deadens any conviction you might have to wake up in alarm.

Why am I talking about rats that chew the skin of sleeping people? Well, bear with me.

The news cycle has been buzzing with reports of Pope Francis telling a Chilean child sex abuse victim who met him in the Vatican that it was okay to be gay, that god made him gay and god loves him same. A lot of my friends sent articles about it to me via WhatsApp, hailing what the Pope said as refreshing and stating how it underlined the fact that Pope Francis is a reformer who has empathy and who wants to change how the Church treats LGBT people. Many of you probably already know I have no serious interest in religion; I mean, if I were filling a form and it got to the column on religion, I would of course tick Christianity, and if pressed about denomination, I would say Catholic, even though Cafeteria Catholic best describes how I feel about Catholicism.

Now here is the thing; for all his posturing, humility and openness, Pope Francis is both hilarious and dangerous.

I have talked about homophobia lite before and I have often said I prefer the “kill them, burn them” bigots because I know straight up that you are my enemy and so, I avoid you like a plague. However I am very leery of “allies” who you think have your back but really do not.

The world was introduced to Kim Davis in 2015 – the foolish white woman who had been divorced multiple times and who cheated on her husbands, but who believes that god (the white man’s god anyway) appointed her a moral authority to determine which marriage is valid and which is not. She is a Rowan County clerk in the State of Kentucky, who by law is mandated to sign off on marriage licenses otherwise such marriages would not be legal. Davis gained international attention in August 2015 when she defied a U.S. federal court order to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples, following the June 26 U.S. Supreme Court decision in Obergefell v. Hodges. She decided not to sign off on marriages of same sex couples, citing conflict with her personal values and faith (insert eye roll emoji) which really is illegal because the United States Supreme Court in a land mark ruling had made same sex marriage legal across the country. Her defiance led to her getting charged with contempt of court and thrown into jail, while both supporters and detractors hotly debated her stance in the national media. To the Right Wing crazies, she attained hero status. Eventually the State found a way out of the tricky situation and asked her deputies to sign these licenses (I do hope someone doesn’t go to court in the future to challenge the validity of those marriages because he would probably win. The law clearly states that it is the county clerk who should sign off).

Now Pope Francis visited the United States – and does what? He meets with Ms. Davis – who is not even Catholic by the way. We wouldn’t know this if, a few weeks of her release from jail, Davis hadn’t announced that she and her husband had met with the Pope on September 24, 2015, at the Apostolic Nunciature to the United States in Washington, D.C. According to Davis and her lawyer, Pope Francis told her to “stay strong” and gave her two rosaries.

Does a papal endorsement get any bigger than this?

Also note that the Vatican neglected to mention this meeting, and when Davis and her lawyer made it public, two days later, the Holy See Press Office issued a statement saying that “the Pope did not enter into the details of the situation of Mrs. Davis and his meeting with her should not be considered a form of support of her position in all of its particular and complex aspects.” According to Vatican spokesman, Father Thomas Rosica, the Pope met with several other people and rosaries were also given to these others in attendance; Davis was apparently not invited by the Pope to the Nunciature and that “the meeting may have been manipulated by her and her lawyer.”

Do you see how ridiculous this is? The Vatican really expected us to believe that a meeting with the Pope – the most powerful religious leader in the world and a head of state by the way – was crashed by two people? And that Pope Francis did not know who Kim Davis was? And could not remember speaking to her privately?


A friend of mine often says that “ally” is not a word in his dictionary, and now I see what he means (some other time, I shall talk about problematic allies). I much prefer the bigot whose hatred is clean and bare and whom I can masterfully avoid. Pope Francis is dangerous because he straddles the line between ally and bigot; what he is doing is dangerous and it serves no purpose. He goes about telling people in private how gays should be respected and allowed to be, but he never speaks to the College of Cardinals about changing the doctrines. Essentially he says we are welcome to his church, but we can’t be clergy and we certainly cannot access sacraments (Holy Matrimony is a sacrament by the way). So then what? We should be grateful that we are allowed to sit at the pews? How comforting. Also I am guessing that for us to be welcome, we are to remain celibate forever, yeah? Since heterosexuals can get married and have “legitimate sex”, but seeing as you won’t let me marry a man in your churches, I might as well stay celibate all the days of my life.

LMAO! OK again.

Many liberals are hailing Pope Francis as a reformer; one of my straight friends likens him to Lyndon Johnson, who may have been racist but still pushed for the passage of the Civil Rights Act in the USA in 1964. However Pope Francis is neither a reformer nor revolutionary. He is a very canny politician who is an expert in posturing. He straddles the fence in public, rattles the Right Wing, wins praise from the Left, but never really gets anything done because he never sets out to change anything.

Pope Francis is dangerous because he is so sleek, you can almost miss his bigotry. In a way, he is like that rat that cools your feet so you don’t feel the pain while he chews it off.

Written by Dennis Macaulay

[For the former edition of Dennis Macaulay’s Rantings, click HERE]

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  1. Mandy
    May 25, 07:25 Reply

    You think Donald Trump is the president of the flipflop organisation?
    Well, Pope Francis wrote the manual for the organisation. I have never seen a man who is neither here nor there than this religious leader.

    All this “God loves you the way you are” isn’t the first time that the Pope has made positive statements affirming the global LGBTQ community. In the past, Francis has claimed God doesn’t judge homosexuality and that the Vatican may be willing to recognize civil unions, even while censuring “unjust discrimination” against gay and lesbian individuals.
    “By thinking that everything is black and white, we sometimes close off the way of grace and growth,” he said.

    Then he goes on to compare the affirmation of trans identities to nuclear holocaust and mass murder. These individuals “destroy,” “plot designs of death,” and “disfigure the face of man and woman, destroying creation,” he said. “Let’s think of the nuclear arms, of the possibility to annihilate in a few instants a very high number of human beings. Let’s think also of genetic manipulation, of the manipulation of life, or of the gender theory, that does not recognize the order of creation. With this attitude, man commits a new sin, that’s against God the Creator.

    He also alleged that teaching transgender young people their identities are valid is “causing a world war against marriage.”
    “This is against nature,” he said. “It’s one thing if a person has this tendency and also changes sex. It’s another thing to teach this in school to change mentalities. This is what I call ‘ideological colonization.’”

    He referred to so-called “gender theory” as “indoctrination,” calling it “terrible” and “nasty.”

    He also took aim at medical transitions. He once claimed that gender-confirming surgeries and hormone therapy are a threat to society, intended to “cancel out sexual difference.”

    He further claimed these life-saving interventions are megalomaniacal. “Thinking that we enjoy absolute power over our own bodies turns, often subtly, into thinking that we enjoy absolute power over creation.”

    And despite his statements signaling support for civil unions, the Pope has openly condemned the full recognition of same-sex relationships, calling it part of “growing efforts on the part of some to redefine the very institution of marriage, by relativism, by the culture of the ephemeral, by a lack of openness to life.”

    According to the Human Rights Campaign, Francis backed a 2015 voter referendum in Slovakia which sought to ban LGBTQ couples from marrying. The issue never went to the ballot.

    Even as the Pope has called upon Catholics to apologize to queer people they have “offended,” he has never atoned for his own history of anti-LGBTQ remarks. He remains a fair weather friend (at best) to the queer and trans people whose lives could substantially benefit from consistent and affirming leadership from one of the world’s foremost religious figures. When the Pope speaks, nations listen.

    But for now, every step Pope Francis tentatively takes forward will just serve to obscure the two he already took back.

    • Henrie
      May 25, 11:56 Reply

      Your detailed elaboration of the pope’s two-faced nature on the subject is most insightful and that’s exactly what the problem is about. We don’t expect him to change the catholic church over night, that’s impossible. Yet a basic consistency in his views will go a long way in telling us where he stands. For now, he cannot be taken seriously.

  2. Ria
    May 25, 08:03 Reply

    I think you put it perfectly well. The pope is nothing more than an unglorified politician ??????. It’s sad that we are so used to receiving the barest minimum that the words the pope spoke in private but would not dare repeat in public is considered a “win” ??

  3. Mitch
    May 25, 10:21 Reply

    The Pope is just another politician who is an expert at straddling the line between acceptance and bigotry.

    He’s good at his game and he’s playing it well. Especially for the idiots who know little or nothing about human behavior, human complexities or the several facets of human personality – in this case, characterized by Nigerians.

    I just feel bad for people who are still looking to religion for validation. It ain’t coming any time soon. Validate yourself and Fucking get awake.

    Nonsense and Papal validation!

  4. Chiedozié
    May 25, 11:10 Reply

    1. The Pope is not a dictator. The Catholic Church has its own set of rules and checks and balances. No one, no matter how well-meaning, can change things overnight in a system like the Catholic Church’s which is rabidly conservative and “traditional.”

    2. The Papacy whose usual response to everything is no comment comes out and actually makes a statement debunking Kim Davies’ claim, but no, we believe Kim Davies, multiple divorcee and serial cheater who has a thing or two to say about sin and her beliefs, which she clearly holds dear enough to go to prison defending. OK.

    3. The stance of the Pope (insert his real name) on sexual identity while it might not be radically different from that of the church, is different enough to be significant.

    • Rapum
      May 25, 11:23 Reply

      Thanks for this fresh perspective. I totally agreed with the article until you wrote this. HOWEVER, the Pope could be more combative, for want of a better word, in his posture. He is a leader and if he truly believes in a cause, he should at least open the doors for conversation, make sure it is being talked about. What he has done so far feels like PR to me, and I feel that way for good reason. I am not suggesting that he is lying but that, unlike, say, Bishop Curry or Archbishop Williams Rowan, he does not seem bothered enough to do anything other than make ‘calming’ comments. We are talking about people’s real lives here, and it saddens me that this is all we get, posturing, and that we are supposed to be satisfied with it. That church is moving too slowly, and perhaps that has been the secret to its continued dominance, the illusion of absolutism. But is organizational posterity more important than truth?

      • Chiedozié
        May 25, 13:12 Reply

        Here’s how I see things:

        The statement in question didn’t come from the Papacy. It came from an individual who spoke with the person rather than the office of the Pope. Now as to what the Pope says in his official capacity, I do not give two fucks. But here we’re talking about something he reportedly said in private. Big difference. The church’s official stance on homosexuality is patronising and condescending, but a lot can be gauged from the reaction of the one person who actually heard the Pope say these things. How he felt and feels is a big indicator of the nature of the Pope’s statement to him.
        Because of how mixed up the person and the office of the Pope are, this is significant. This is literally God’s representative, so if he’s saying something significantly different from what the church has constantly preached in this way that puts his office and person to opposite ends of the aisle, it calls into question the humanity of the church’s stance, because here we are dealing with conflict between keeping up with tradition and doing what is only right and humane at this point in our evolution. This would definitely pull more than a few people in the church who have been ambivalent or unsure on these issues to a closer scrutiny of themselves and what they believe re: SIGNIFICANT. For those who would want to double down on the traditional rubbish, well that’s nothing new and it’s frankly insignificant in the larger scheme of things.
        As to the Pope posturing, homophobia is the problem of everyone but the burden of LGBT individuals. Keeping that in mind keeps you from being shocked when politicians do what politicians do: look out for the camera.

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