Friends and regular readers of this blog will know that I am not religious. Not even spiritual, although I have more respect for spirituality than for organized religion. It is therefore safe to say that there is likely very little that, say, the Catholic Church -- as an institution -- could do to earn my respect. It is with this background that I come to the selection of a new Pope.
The Pope holds such a high-profile position within the world, it's difficult to ignore him, secular leanings or no. Jorge Mario Bergoglio (or, as he is now known, Pope Francis) ascended to the papacy just three days ago, yet there has already been a flurry of opinion about who he is, what he stands for, and where he might lead the church over the next few years.
Some speculation about the Pope has come from Catholics whom I know. Their thoughts range from disappointment that is leading them to renounce their Catholicism, to sort of a wait-and-see attitude, to a reverential "His Holiness" tone. It could be argued that none and all of those responses are fine. Religion is, after all, a very personal experience between human and god (or at least it should be).
For those who have left, or are thinking of leaving the Catholic Church because the new Pope is far too conservative for their liking, that is a sentiment I can very much relate to. On a personal level, I don't care for him much because he seems to be continuing the mantra of his predecessors, that gay people are "evil." There has also been some condemnation that he didn't take a stand during Argentina's 'Dirty War,' and he would seem to have rather non-modern views on women in politics.
Regardless of where mine and yours opinions may lie with respect to the papacy and, in particular, the new Pope, what seems clear is that the Catholic Church is the antithesis of a temporal government. This is as it should be. It is, in theory, the word of God, structured and spread by an organization that is supposedly of His choosing. Therefore, the notion that this new Pope has failed in some way because his views are not liberal or modern enough would seem to be inappropriate.
As stated earlier, I am neither religious nor spiritual. The views given on such subjects by an agnostic are, obviously, suspect and singular to the person espousing them. Yet it would seem prudent to wonder if a desire to see the Catholic Church -- nay, any church -- to evolve its views to fit modern sensibilities is a product of a human brain rather than a godly sentience.