PZ Myers[1]

There are a lot of issues in the Catholic Church that we all ought to find repugnant, say, child raping and forced birth and disease spreading policies, and I don’t see Pope Francis changing a thing about church culture on matters that are important.

Pope Francais in 2013.

Pope Francis is the new pope of the Roman Catholic Church, there are many relatively insignificant innovations connected with him. His name is new, a pope from outside Europe is new etc. [2]

What does all this show? The Roman Catholic Church is so heavily bound by tradition that even minor innovations like a new name appear remarkable.


Pope Francis has a habit of hinting at changes to Church doctrine that may amount to nothing.


In important matters like allowing contraception, Gay equality, and similar issues Pope Francis is traditional like the rest of the Vatican. [4] One difference has emerged, Francis doesn't obsess on a few sins, like Homosexuality, remarried Divorcees, Contraception and abortion the way the Roman Catholic hierarchy traditionally do. Indeed Francis fears ""the moral edifice of the church is likely to fall like a house of cards"" [5] unless there is a change of emphasis. [6] Francis believes a range of other sins (notably financial sins) matter at least as much as contravening the Church sexual teaching.


Pope Francis agrees with Roman Catholic teaching and says homosexual acts are gravely sinful. Despite this he insists gay people shouldn't be shunned and should be allowed among Roman Catholics. In other words gay people should be accepted among Roman Catholics but should feel scared about sin whenever they do anything sexual.


Pope Francis has opposed growing inequalities in wealth before the papacy Francis continues to condemn "greed looking for easy gain" which can be interpreted as uncaring capitalism. [7] The most likely response of greedy, selfish capitalists to pious exhortations will be , 'business as usual'.


Pope Francis urged world leaders to control financial markets more strenuously and urged leaders to help poor people more. [8] Dealing with the financial crisis the pope criticised unbridled capitalism and claimed it is a "tyranny" that judged human beings purely by their ability to consume goods, and that the "cult of money" was hurting people. [9] Francis criticised growing inequalities in incomes and called on governments to control markets for the common good. [10] [11]

All this may lead to action by governments to improve the situation of people on average and below average incomes. We have yet to see.


Unfortunately Roman Catholic opposition to contraception reduces the value of anything the pope or the Roman Catholic Church generally does for poor people. Atheism Wiki doesn't know whether on balance the RC's do more good or more harm to poor people because their opposition to contraception causes incalculable damage. In this area as in many areas of social science accurate data and accurate calculation is literally impossible.

  1. There’s just one thing very many, very large poor families badly need and the popes up till now wouldn’t give them.
  2. That’s easier access to contraception.

How do poor families get their children an education which will lift the next generation out of poverty? That’s a very hard question for many poor families but one important factor is spacing out children so parents don’t need to pay too much at any one time. Opposition to contraception by Francis and other Roman Catholics makes spacing children out much harder.

  1. Then even in rich countries paying for quality education for many children is impossible.
  2. Then in the Third World getting enough food to prevent children starving becomes the priority and education becomes an impossible dream.

Possible change

  1. Does Francis really not understand the link between large families and enduring poverty? If he doesn't that means surprising ignorance for someone who lived most of his life in a Third World nation and says he cares a great deal about the suffering poor.
  2. In autumn 2013 Francis had been telling others in the Roman Catholic Church to stop obsessing over a few sins (including contraception) and to attend to a greater range of sins. Where this will lead is currently unclear but there could be less pressure on poor people in the Third World and in developed countries to have so many children they remain trapped in poverty.

Expensive poverty[]

Pope Francis refused to move into the luxurious traditional papal apartments in the Vatican. Instead he’s living in comfortable apartments suitable for visiting cardinals. None of this has reduced the expense of maintaining a pope, the papal apartments cost roughly the same to maintain empty. [12] Instead of ordering his own meals the pope is eating with other priests so and meals for very many priests now need to be made fit for a pope. [13]


—Pope Francis[14]

Dear young people, don't be afraid to marry. A faithful and fruitful marriage will bring you happiness.

Encouraging people to be faithful is good. A fruitful marriage where the children are planned and spaced out can lead to happiness. A family that gets unmanageably large because contraception is forbidden is a recipe for misery involving both parents and children.

In the 21st century people tend to get married later than they used to and that's a good thing. Firstly people wait till they're more sure they're right for each other. Secondly if they start their families later the families are less likely to get too large.

Conservative Christians and practising Roman Catholics are already tempted to marry before they're sure about their relationship. After all they're not supposed to start sex earlier and young people tend to be eager for sex. Now Francis encourages fruitful marriages. That could mean more believing couples marrying and starting families before they're sure about the relationship. Later there will be children growing up in unhappy marriages or children facing the trauma of their parents divorce.

—This quote isn't from Francis[15]

A Vatican survey on family-related issues has found “a huge gap” between church doctrine and what many Catholics practice and believe, according to Archbishop Paul-André Durocher, president of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops.

Like so many in the Roman Catholic hierarchy Pope Francis tries to turn the clock back.

Adaptation to Western nations[]

Up till now Cardinal Bergoglio as he used to be focused on appealing to Argentinian and Latin American opinion because that was where he was influential. Bergoglio couldn't foresee that he would become internationally important. Now that Bergoglio is Pope Francis he may or may not modify his views to take account of world opinion. less than a year into the new papacy we don't yet know.

See also[]

External links[]

There is a good and a a bad side to Christianity, see the category page


  1. The lesser evil is still evil
    1. Pope Francis is Argentinian and it was a wonderful innovation when the Cardinals chose him since Jorge Mario Bergoglio was the first non European pope for very many centuries.
    2. Pope Francis is the first with his name and it was a wonderful innovation when he chose that name because he is the first pope with a completely new name for very many centuries.
    3. Pope Francis asked the crowds in St Peter's square to pray for him before he prayed for them it was a wonderful innovation because that hadn't happened before.
    4. Pope Francis is a Jesuit and that's wonderful because we never had a Jesuit pope before.
  2. [1]
  3. Pope Francis I: Homophobic Bigot From
  4. The moral authority of the Roman Catholic Church is based on supposedly divinely inspired texts up to 4,000, 5,000 years old for the Old Testament and 2,000 years old for the New Testament as is all Christianity, see Christian morality for more. Additionally Roman Catholics teach that The pope and the church hierarchy sometimes have divinely guided authority. The Roman Catholic Church is weighed down by millennia old scripture and also by centuries old, sometimes over a millennium old teachings from popes and Church councils who were sometimes morally corrupt. Too much Church teaching is out of step with 21st century thinking but because it's supposedly divinely guided they're stuck with it. Is it any surprise that Roman Catholic moral authority is collapsing?
  5. Pope Francis: Church too focused on gays and abortionPope Francis sets out vision for more gay people and women in 'new' church
  6. Pope Francis uses Easter address to denounce 'greed looking for easy gain'
  7. Pope Francis hits out at global 'cult of money'
  8. Pope blames tyranny of capitalism for making people miserable
  9. Pope Francis attacks 'cult of money' in reform call
  10. "We've Returned to the Golden Calf" – Francis on Money
  11. The real importance of the pope's living arrangements is that he meets many people and his minders can't control what they tell him.
  12. We recently found out a favourite dish Francis really enjoys is “colita de cuadril”, see Eat Like Pope Francis With Swiss Guard's New Pontiff-Inspired Cookbook That’s roast sirloin Argentine style and it certainly isn’t the cheapest cut, also roasting meat takes a long time and needs expensive fuel. Really poor people would have just a little cheap meat boiled or stewed with cheap ingredients like Rice, Pasta, Potatoes, Pulses other cheap vegetables. It looks like the Vatican chefs have got to him and persuaded Francis to dine a little bit luxuriously.
  13. The Pope’s Valentine’s Day Message: Get Married
  14. Pope Francis triggers debate on family issues

External links[]