After Pope Benedict's Resignation, Expect More of the Same.

The XX Factor
What Women Really Think
Feb. 12 2013 10:59 AM

The New Pope Will Continue the War on Women and Gays. Accept It. 

A picture of Pope Benedict XVI is seen behind a window of a bakery in the village Marktl, the birthplace of Pope Benedict XVI.
A picture of Pope Benedict XVI is seen behind a window of a bakery in the village Marktl, the birthplace of Pope Benedict XVI, on February 11.

Photo by Christof Stache/AFP/Getty Images

With the recent announcement of his impending retirement from Pope Benedict XVI, excitable discussion and speculation about potential new directions for the Catholic Church were pretty much inevitable. There's a script we follow when the reins of power are handed over—whether it's a shift in who sits in the Oval Office, the throne or the TARDIS—that includes hopeful speculation that the next person will finally, finally enact changes the speculator has long awaited. But I beg of people to give up when it comes to the Pope. The kind of guy sitting under the fancy hat will no more change significantly than the fancy hat will change. This should be obvious, but sadly the internet is littered with articles like this one by Katie McDonough at Salon, where she interviewed a bunch of progressive Catholics about what they hope the change in what old dude sitting in the pope throne could bring to the church. Some samples: 

Amanda Marcotte Amanda Marcotte

Amanda Marcotte is a Brooklyn-based writer and DoubleX contributor. She also writes regularly for the Daily Beast, AlterNet, and USA Today. Follow her on Twitter.

I would return to the fold if my church pardoned third-world debt, allowed women to take birth control and if the Vatican sold its riches to feed and clothe the hungry, their flock....
My hope is that the next pope decides to put less emphasis on Paul and more on Jesus. Allow priests to marry, allow women in the priesthood....
The church needs to stop teaching shame. There is such a deep-seated belief that people are inherently bad that is taught from such a young age, the idea of original sin itself, that instills a sense of guilt and wrongness essentially from birth....
Advertisement

I feel bad that anyone wasted their time answering this question about what they hoped for in the next Pope, because that's two minutes that could have been better spent on more productive activities like staring at walls or scratching their ears. Spoiler alert: The next Pope is going to be an authoritarian old celibate picked by other mean old men for the purpose of telling the world that God has it out for gays and women. There will also be incense, to make it more convincing.

In the past few decades, the authorities in the Catholic Church have made it absolutely clear that they are doubling down on the sexism and obsession with punishing all non-procreative sex. For instance, your modern Catholic Church sainted a woman who died rather than abort. In the U.S., Catholic authorities have grown aggressive in recent years on the subject of contraception, moving beyond simply denouncing it to supporting legal strategies to prevent women from using their own insurance plans to buy contraception. This is the church that thought it wise to excommunicate a mother and a doctor who helped save a 9-year-old from being forced to give birth to a rapist's baby, but didn't bother to excommunicate the rapist, because abortion is a "more serious" sin than repeatedly raping a pre-teen entrusted to your care. The anger towards uppity women has even spilled into viciousness to nuns, who the Vatican expressly said should silence their opinions and accept that the male leadership "are the church's authentic teachers of faith and morals." 

 Greg Mysko put the realistic view of the future best: 

It would be refreshing for the Catholic Church to take a realistic view on contraception and abortion. But I don’t see that happening no matter who is chosen to be the next pope. There are many valid spiritual paths one can choose. Catholics have a choice.

It's important to understand the difference between hope and delusion. Shuffling around who the top mean old man is in a group of mean old men isn't going to change a thing. Even discussing the possibility of real change gives the church hierarchy more authority than they deserve. For this go-round of speculation about who the next Pope will be, the best response is simply, "Who cares?"

TODAY IN SLATE

Politics

The Irritating Confidante

John Dickerson on Ben Bradlee’s fascinating relationship with John F. Kennedy.

My Father Invented Social Networking at a Girls’ Reform School in the 1930s

Renée Zellweger’s New Face Is Too Real

Sleater-Kinney Was Once America’s Best Rock Band

Can it be again?

The All The President’s Men Scene That Captured Ben Bradlee

Medical Examiner

Is It Better to Be a Hero Like Batman?

Or an altruist like Bruce Wayne?

Technology

Driving in Circles

The autonomous Google car may never actually happen.

The World’s Human Rights Violators Are Signatories on the World’s Human Rights Treaties

How Punctual Are Germans?

  News & Politics
The World
Oct. 21 2014 11:40 AM The U.S. Has Spent $7 Billion Fighting the War on Drugs in Afghanistan. It Hasn’t Worked. 
  Business
Moneybox
Oct. 21 2014 5:57 PM Soda and Fries Have Lost Their Charm for Both Consumers and Investors
  Life
The Vault
Oct. 21 2014 2:23 PM A Data-Packed Map of American Immigration in 1903
  Double X
The XX Factor
Oct. 21 2014 1:12 PM George Tiller’s Murderer Threatens Another Abortion Provider, Claims Right of Free Speech
  Slate Plus
Behind the Scenes
Oct. 21 2014 1:02 PM Where Are Slate Plus Members From? This Weird Cartogram Explains. A weird-looking cartogram of Slate Plus memberships by state.
  Arts
Behold
Oct. 21 2014 12:05 PM Same-Sex Couples at Home With Themselves in 1980s America
  Technology
Future Tense
Oct. 21 2014 4:14 PM Planet Money Uncovers One Surprising Reason the Internet Is Sexist
  Health & Science
Climate Desk
Oct. 21 2014 11:53 AM Taking Research for Granted Texas Republican Lamar Smith continues his crusade against independence in science.
  Sports
Sports Nut
Oct. 20 2014 5:09 PM Keepaway, on Three. Ready—Break! On his record-breaking touchdown pass, Peyton Manning couldn’t even leave the celebration to chance.