Pope Francis – radical or reactionary?

What do we think of the Pope? It all seems a bit complicated. One minute he’s telling the US Congress that “we, the people of this continent, are not fearful of foreigners, because most of us were once foreigners,” and that they have to take climate change seriously. Speaking in Bolivia in July, he called unfettered capitalism “the dung of the devil.” Since he arrived in America, right-wingers have described him as “anti-capitalist Pope”. On the other hand, the Catholic church still continues to oppose marriage equality at every opportunity. Back in February, Francis compared any account of gender which “does not recognise the order of creation” – such as those which validate the lives of trans people – to the use of nuclear weapons. On Thursday, the Pope canonised the missionary Junípero Serra, who oversaw a regime of horrific brutality against Native Americans in California, where colonisation and conversion went, as so often, hand in hand.

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