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THE BUZZ: THIS WEEK'S HOT TOPIC

Believe it or not, new pope is a Catholic

Saturday, March 16, 2013 - 12:01 am

Well, the Catholic Church has a new pope, and the reaction from the progressive community has been shrill but predictable. Pope Francis is conservative and orthodox about religion! He isn’t going to bend on gay marriage or the celibate priesthood or abortion or female clergy! He isn’t going to change with the times!

Yes, as incredible as it seems, the new head of the Catholic Church is actually going to adhere to church doctrine. It seems not to occur to the critics that following the faith and trying to spread it are in the pope’s job description. People who do not like the church’s values are free to leave the church. If the church change’s its values to appeal to fashionable opinions, what good is it as an institution?

Many observers believed that by choosing the never-used-before Francis, the new pope was sending a strong message of a new start. And his first actions showed there will at least be a new tone in Vatican City. He went back to the hotel after becoming pope and paid his own bill, reports The New York Times. “He wore simple black shoes and an ordinary wristwatch with a thick black band . . .”

As the rest of the world waits to see what will substantively change (a greater emphasis on serving the poor, some believe), everyone will have to get used to having two popes at the same time for the first time in more than 600 years. We have an acting pope and a pope emeritus, and we still don’t know quite what the former Benedict XVI is going to do and how that will affect Francis’ job.