I was away for a few days recently, an experience I cannot recommend enough. Few pleasures can compare with those that come undistracted by news media. What wonders it does for the soul! Of course, sooner or later, you’ve got to resurface and, in my case, that was at the airport where, amid a sea of countless masked strangers, I made the mistake of picking up a newspaper. A local columnist, whose name meant nothing to me, had been dipping his pen in a deep vat of vitriol. His target? Mother Church, of course, and the Pope who is her head. 

It was a bit odd, however, owing to his professed love for the current occupant, whom he commends for an otherwise “revolutionary approach to breaking so many barriers of Catholic dogma.” But, then, you see, Francis had actually gone ahead and restored one of those barriers. Which one exactly? Well, it was the one standing athwart same-sex unions, which had pretty much been in place since the founding of Christianity itself. For which transgression the pope was now seen as an impediment to human happiness.

It seems that His Holiness, when asked whether the Church might bless such unions, flat-out refused, which left the columnist feeling both angry and betrayed. “While I love this pope and understand he has the weight of trying to change 2,000 years of ecclesiastical teachings, he can’t have it both ways. He should not be preaching understanding, love and respect for people on the one hand, but on the other denigrating people for their sins. As the Good Book says, none are righteous, not one.” 

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