Guest Blogger

Pope Francis Smacks LGBTQ People on the Behind

Filed By Guest Blogger | February 15, 2015 10:00 AM | comments

Filed in: Living
Tags: Catholic Church, corporal punishment, Pope Francis, spanking, spiritual bullying

Editors' Note: Guest blogger Warren J. Blumenfeld is a professor in the College of Education at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.


Pope Francis weighed in on the controversial issue of corporal punishment during a recent weekly audience at the Vatican focusing on the topic of fatherhood. He asserted that parents need to be firm but reasonable when disciplining young people.

"One time, I heard a father in a meeting with married couples say, 'I sometimes have to smack my children a bit, but never in the face so as to not humiliate them'," Francis said. He added that the man's remark was "beautiful."

pope-francis-facepalm.jpg"He knows the sense of dignity," Francis continued. "He has to punish them but does it justly and moves on."

So I take from the Pope's remarks that his intent was merely to smack LGBTQ people on the rump rather than punch us in the face when he stated at a Vatican conference in November 2014 that marriage is between a man and a woman and that "[t]his complementarity is at the root of marriage and family." He added that this male-female union is "an anthropological fact... that cannot be qualified based on ideological notions or concepts important only at one time in history."

He also asserted: "Children have the right to grow up in a family with a father and mother capable of creating a suitable environment for the child's development and emotional maturity."

Francis amplified his message in front of more than 1,000 families in the Philippines during a recent trip where he warned that "[t]he family is threatened by growing efforts on the part of some to redefine the very institution of marriage, by relativism, by the culture of the ephemeral, by a lack of openness to life." These forces, he said, are attempting the "ideological colonization of the family." Among other forces, this was also a reference to same-sex marriage.

The Pope took an additional swipe at our butts at another recent weekly Vatican audience when he gave his unqualified blessing to a Slovakian referendum outlawing same-sex marriage and adoption rights for same-sex couples.

He proclaimed: "I greet the pilgrims from Slovakia and, through them, I wish to express my appreciation to the entire Slovak church, encouraging everyone to continue their efforts in defense of the family, the vital cell of society."

Well, at least I take it that the Pontiff won't be smacking any gay priests on the behind any time soon, unless he has changed his initial position on the matter.

As new Pope, at an impromptu news conference aboard his papal jet in July 2013 -- while returning to the Vatican from Brazil after completing his first international trip where he spoke to millions celebrating World Youth Day -- he told reporters: "If someone is gay and he searches for the Lord and has good will, who am I to judge?"

So il Papa considers denying LGBTQ people (his children) the rights of marriage and adoption -- denying us the benefits, privileges, and responsibilities of legalized partnerships and families -- as a smack on the behind saving us the indignity of a blow to the face. I can only imagine what he considers a Vatican action that may bloody our faces.

I would say to Francis that corporal punishment of any kind represents an indignity to the target of the attack. No person has the right to hit another person, literally or figuratively.

verbal_abuse.jpgBullies hit others. Tyrants violate people's bodily and emotional spaces. Oppressive regimes disrespect their citizens' human and civil rights. Terrorists unjustifiably invade other countries' territories.

Francis and the Catholic Church have indeed hit us. They have violated our bodily and emotional spaces. They have disrespected our human and civil rights, and they have unjustifiably invaded the territories of our lives and our families.

Many of us had high hopes with Pope Francis's ascension to the highest position in the Catholic Church. He showed some signs of softening church policies on the position of LGBTQ people in the church. But unfortunately, through his words and deeds, he has blown away and smashed the initial smoke and mirrors he erected.

I find it disappointing since Francis showed us some indication that he could take the church out of the 17th century, where it has remained stuck for some time, and carry it on the wings of a dove into at least the 19th (if not the 20th or 21st) century regarding the concerns of LGBTQ people.

But alas, the dove has died, as has the hope. All we have to look forward to from the Catholic Church are some very sore buttocks for at least the next millennium or so. But by then, humanity will overpopulate itself to extinction through the church's ban on contraception and denial of women's reproductive freedoms.

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