pope queer icon

Is the Pope Trying To Become a Queer Icon?

Because he’s really missing the mark

pope trying to be a queer icon
Photo by Nacho Arteaga on Unsplash

There is little I admire more than personal growth. 

It’s not easy to look yourself in the mirror and acknowledge that you’ve been wrong about something your entire life. And taking it a step further and actually doing something is even harder.

But pretending to change so it seems like you changed is not a good look, and what the pope is doing is really fucking weird.

It seems like the pope is trying to become something of a queer icon.

Just a month ago he was telling us all about how down with trans people he was. And today I learned that he’s apparently in favor of formally blessing same-sex couples.

I know, it’s a whirlwind of events. And, if you’re like me, it gave you a brief moment where you thought, “Wow, maybe the church really is open to change.”

Well, let me put the kibosh to that little musing because this big ‘ol vat of weak sauce is some weak-ass bullshit.

What he ACTUALLY said

Before we go any further, I would like to make one thing very clear — he supports blessing same-sex couples…and that’s it.

To give you an idea of how little this gesture was, here’s a couple of things Pope Francis had to say about it:

“Blessings offered shouldn’t be confused with marriages.”
“Marriage is a lifelong union between a man and a woman.”

So yeah, the headline was much better than the actual thing.

First of all, that’s barely even a gesture. The blessing doesn’t mean anything, and the pope did his absolute best to make sure we knew that.

He made a whole big thing about how this isn’t even remotely related to marriage and made sure we were reminded that same-sex couples are still wrong in the eyes of god.

It feels like he’s throwing gays and lesbians a bone by putting on a performatively tolerant facade.

He doesn’t really want to do anything to support our lifestyles. He just wants to make it seem like he’s cool with us.

And if that wasn’t enough, I feel like this final quote really drove his point home:

“Those seeking a blessing should not be required to have prior moral perfection”

If that isn’t one of the most tactfully crafted, fucked up statements I’ve ever seen, then I don’t know what is.

If there’s one thing that I took away from being subjected to nearly half a decade of Catholic school, it’s that everyone’s a sinner. That’s the whole point of confessions and baptisms — to absolve us of all our sinful ways.

And obviously, the pope knows this. He knows no one has achieved “moral perfection”.

Yet he still makes a big point saying you don’t need “moral perfection” to receive his blessings. Why would this be? Could it be because, I dunno, he thinks homosexuality is immoral?

It sure seems like it to me.

Everything about what the pope said, from drilling in our heads that these blessings aren’t to be conflated with weddings in any way, to reminding us who he thought should and shouldn’t get married, to even almost explicitly saying that homosexuality is immoral suggests he thinks anyone who isn’t straight is inferior.

If anything, it feels like he’s your classic mean girl: pretending to be nice while simultaneously talking shit and making you feel bad about yourself.

It just feels like he’s looking for any way to boost church attendance.

He needs butts in pews

Church attendance has been on the decline for a long time. Per a study from the Pew Research Center, church attendance has decreased by 7 percent over the last decade.

So anytime I see something like this, my initial gut instinct is always to be skeptical of the message that’s being peddled, as well as the motive for peddling the message in the first place.

And in this case, the more I looked into this, the more I felt my skepticism was justified.

It all felt like a hollow gesture to put butts in pews and bucks in donation baskets.

It all felt like a weak attempt by the pope at turning himself into some sort of an iconic queer ally.

But, unfortunately for him, this “morally impure” person saw right through his charade.

All I got from his little gesture was a reminder of why I will never go back to church.

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