Over the past week Pope Francis has gotten a lot of attention for himself over comments about atheists. Though, I appreciate his admitting that we are decent people I was not really all that impressed. After all, it is no different from praising someone for admitting that water is wet. The fact that it generated so much attention is the more notable point. It reveals just how narrow minded and bigoted society can be.
It should also be noted that there are two major assumptions being made by media and society as a whole in regard to the Pope's attention grabbing homily.
1. he is sincere in his statements
2. his statements will translate into practice
As I have previously written ("New Pope, Same as the Old Pope 4/21/13) there are reasons to suspect that this Pope's outreach is simply a public relations ploy. So, though I would like to believe he is being sincere and will actively seek to end the practice of marginalizing and demonizing non-believers I am not going to go on those assumptions.
If the Pope is sincere he should announce some type of policy that would forbid church employees/representatives from smearing atheists. Publicly apologizing for all the nasty shit the church has done and continues to do would be a notable gesture as well.
Just a few of the pieces from this past week:
Pope Francis Says Atheists Who Do Good Are Redeemed, Not Just Catholics
Heaven for atheists? Pope sparks debate
Atheists Like What They See In Pope Francis' New Openness