5 Things Progressives Might Want from a New Pope

I’m not Catholic anymore. I’m not just lapsed. I’ve renounced. (Bring on that excommunication!) However, I was raised in the church and, even though I’ve spent years running away screaming, I’m still culturally Catholic. My family is still Catholic. Also, even though I don’t understand it, the pope still has a lot of moral authority and followers in this crazy old world. So, in a way, I feel like I have a small stake in who is chosen to be the next pope. This got me wondering, If I were going to build a pope, where would I start?

Women Priests

This seems like a no-brainer. In fact, Planet Money mentioned it as the most compelling way to expand the priesthood. The Catholic Church doesn’t have enough priests, and those priests aren’t where they need to be. A good way to fix that would be to get that stick out of your bum and allow more people to be priests!

If the Church’s own self-interest doesn’t sway the new pope, there’s an argument even less likely to sway: gender equality! Come on! There’s no rational reason to exclude women from the priesthood. Except if you think that women are inherently incapable of acting as a conduit to God. But that surely can’t be it, right?

Aggressively Deal with the Child Abuse Scandal

Let’s be honest. The Vatican hasn’t really done that good a job at dealing with all that child abuse stuff. And I’m the only one who has this opinion. In a recent poll, 70 percent of American Catholics think Pope Benedict and the Vatican did a crappy job at handling the child abuse.

Clearly, something has to be done, not only for the victims and potential victims of sex abuse, but for the credibility of the Church as a whole. Whoever the next pope will be has the power to change the culture of impunity that evidently permeates the hierarchy. If he doesn’t, it will be the ultimate slap in the face.

Stop with the Gay-Bashing, Already!

Seriously. This is getting old. It’s gone from strongly held belief to actively hurting people. (Ending adoption and foster care services so they don’t have to treat gay couples equally? Really?) This isn’t a matter of “religious freedom” anymore. It’s about being able to discriminate at will. And it’s totally not cool.

And that Abortion Fetish

Oh my god, next pope, please get over the uterus and all the things it does. For real. This is played out. We get it. Catholics think women are dirty and inferior. But you know what? All the time and effort put into forcing non-Catholics to live by Catholic dogma could be better spent working to address economic injustices that have a much more far-reaching effect.

Maybe Elect a Non-European Pope?

The Catholic Church is growing in Africa. Latin America boasts 39 percent of Catholics worldwide. Europe, on the other hand, has only 24 percent of the Catholic population. I know that the Catholic Church isn’t a democracy, but, you know, it might be nice if the pope actually represents Catholicism on the ground.

If I were a betting gal, I would never put any money down on any of these happening ever. But a girl can dream, right?


Related Posts:

Catholic Church Abuses, Another State Launches Investigation

Catholic Church Dumps Another Charity Due to LGBT Support

If You’re a Catholic Church Employee, You Don’t Have as Many Rights


Image credit: dslrtravel.com


Freya S.
Freya S1 years ago

These issues need to be sorted.

Eternal Gardener
Eternal Gardener5 years ago


Eileen B.
Eileen B5 years ago

I'm Roman Catholic by birth (including 12 years of Catholic school) and a Presbyterian by choice. Growing up, I was heartbroken that girls couldn't serve on the altar like the boys. We were never told why. Women have no real place in the Catholic church and what they can do is limited. After getting out of a Catholic girls high school there were basic teachings I simply could not accept, the first being the infallibility of the pope. I love my current church. Everyone is made to feel as if they're a vital part of our congregation. Our Pastor is a loving and caring woman ready to help any of us at any given time without passing judgment. She is loved by all who know her even if they're not members of our church. Our church is focused on diversity and inclusion. Women hold positions of authority by serving on Session, as Elders, and as Deacons. Several women have gone on to seminary and ordination.
The Roman Cathoilc church deseperately needs to leave the middle ages and join the 21st century. Catholic schools and churches are closing each week because membership has decreased and continues to do so. Interesting to note that a significant number of congregants at my church were at one time Roman Catholic. It's past time for the Catholic church to take a hard and honest look at itself to understand why so many are leaving and going to other churches. Somehow that doesn't seem at all likely anytime soon. If I could, I'd ask the pope to come to one of our services - Pastor Karen

Aud Nordby
Aud nordby5 years ago


Tammy Andrews
Tammy Andrews5 years ago

Please sign my petition to Pope Francis asking him to protect children from sexual abuse from Catholic priests. Thank you for caring and taking action.

Eric G.
Eric G.5 years ago

I do not believe progressives may expect anything from the new Pope. Being a Bishop, he supported the Argentinian dictators --Videla and others-- and so their proceedings. Let us not forget ESMA (the Argentina´s Navy School of Mechanics), the Death Flights, the political imprisonment and torture, etc. He can hardly be even a right-wing democrat on that background.

Therese Davey
Therese Davey5 years ago

Oh and the usual old chestnuts showed up in the article, people need to get facts not rhetoric. Condoms: 9% of Africa is Catholic, the Church is not stopping the other 91% wearing condoms, it just carries on caring for 30% of the worlds HIV victims regardless of their religion. Abortion: my church has never made me feel "dirty or inferior", I play an active role in my Church and I feel equally appreciated. We the Church believes life begins at conception and always will unless science can prove otherwise . And where exactly is it FORCING non Catholics to live by its dogma? Most of us live in democracies we can vote for change, there is only 1 Catholic state. Go to another hospital or school, protest with your state officials if they haven’t provided you with a choice. Our schools and hospitals have a Catholic ethos, but everyone is welcome. Child Protection: full reporting to police, convictions, compensation and counselling, child protection rules that make the Church the safest place for a child, (I'm a parish child protection person) inform yourself of the changes and real facts before you make judgements. The Church’s teaching on Homosexuality in the catechism (the teachings guidebook) "They must be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity. Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided. These persons are called to fulfil God's will in their lives and, if they are Christians, to unite to the sacrifice of the Lord's Cross t

Therese Davey
Therese Davey5 years ago

I’m a Catholic, not proud of some of its mistakes but proud of the fact it’s the largest NGO providing healthcare and education worldwide. Proud of the people of faith who die helping the poorest of the poor every year, its teaching on social justice, poverty and the environment that the media don’t seem to cover. I am proud it’s an unbroken line to Peter though some of the links were dodgy charters but like every organisation it has good and bad. I hope we get a healthy, spirit filled Pope, leading us to fearlessly defend the message of the Gospels, to love God by following his laws and loving others. I hope he is a listener and modernises the mechanics of the organisation I hope he continues the fight against unjust economic practices and relativism like the last one and fights for peace & the poor. I don’t want it to sell the Sistine Chapel, happy to let millions see it, employing 100’s and sending the money to Papal charities. Gods message on life and marriage has’ent changed. The pope who decided Artificial Contraception was wrong said it would lead to disrespect for women & for committed love, lead to marriage breakdown and unwanted pregnancies, was he wrong?? If you don’t agree with the Church’s teachings from the word of God leave, there are no locks on the door and there is a process for leaving. It’s the toughest job profile in the world not many are capable or able to do it, would you do it?

William T.
William T.5 years ago

No one cares what the progressives want from the Pope.

Joseph Belisle
Joseph Belisle5 years ago

Same here Mindy. I'm more than lapsed but not renounced though. I don't believe any person and their magic garb, finger or bestowment can excommunicate me from my Creator.

Women priests, not going to happen in the foreseeable future.

Handling the sex scandals any better? Not in the foreseeable future. It's not in their dogmatic makeup. The church can do no wrong. And no admission of guilt ever occurs unless the guilty are long since dead and the evidence is incontrovertable. They'll fight their way till hell freezes over and then fight on the ice.

Gay bashing and abortion go hand in hand. They'll never give up on these either. Just like the sex scandals and patriarchal silliness. It's not in their make up.

Non-European pope. Are Catholics and the heirarchy ready for one. I don't think so.

And any reformation, though direly needed to keep the Church valid for the masses, is not going to happen. Any and all of the changes above, even if only one happened, would cause a schism in the Church. So many Catholic fundamentalists are poised to break off if anything changes. They're already angry about the first and second Vatican councils.
It's sad that they embrace a disturbed belief in Christianity. Mostly harmless but the harm they do cause is unacceptable.