Pope Francis is a bit like butter, which is to say that lately, he’s been on a roll. FFRF Co-President Annie Laurie Gaylor has had to explain a few things to him in recent weeks. Obvious things, such as hitting children is unacceptable and mocking religion is not a crime.
Well, he’s stepped in it again. NPR reported that the pope delivered his condemnation of all Catholic cardinals, archbishops, bishops, priests, monks, and nuns in St. Peter’s Square on Feb. 12. The 78-year-old purported virgin said, “The choice to not have children is selfish.”
You could be forgiven for thinking this is the least self-aware statement ever made. But Francis had more to say, “A society with a greedy generation, that doesn’t want to surround itself with children, that considers them above all worrisome, a weight, a risk, is a depressed society.” This, coming from a man who lives with hundreds, perhaps thousands, of other unmarried, childless prelates — “the clutch of hysterical, sinister virgins” as Hitchens so memorably phrased it. By this standard, and this should come as no surprise to my readers, the society that is the extensive hierarchy of the Catholic Church is the greediest society the world has ever known.
And do other facts, aside from their selfish childlessness, suggest a greedy society? They do. From lavish homes, to tax exemptions, to owning more than 175 million acres of land worldwide, to the vast, corrupt wealth stored in banks around the world and the Vatican Bank, to the absurd wealth within the Vatican itself, these unfruitful men seem to be far more concerned with wealth and power than with children. And when they do concern themselves with children, it is often in an illegal and despicable manner.
Finally, we ought to pause and wonder why the Pope is desperate for his followers to reproduce. Which puts us right back where we started, with a group of greedy celibates growing fat off the poor. That is why the world would be a better place if it were free from religion. It’s time that Pope Frank understands what Thomas Jefferson wrote, “that the mass of mankind has not been born with saddles on their backs, nor a favored few booted and spurred, ready to ride them legitimately, by the grace of god.”