Thank you, Katha Pollitt, for challenging the media lovefest for Pope Francis, and also for challenging the pass that even progressive journalists have given him and the Catholic Church [“The Pope’s Blind Spot,” Sept. 28/Oct. 5]. Have we forgotten that this pope leads an institution that excludes half of the world from its formal leadership? Or that this same institution is responsible for the death of a Hindu woman in an Irish-Catholic hospital because of its refusal, on religious grounds, to perform an emergency termination of her pregnancy, which would have saved her life?
Have we forgotten that this pope and his institution oppose condom use to prevent HIV/AIDS? That this pope and his institution are opposed not just to abortion but to virtually all forms of contraception (as well as sex education), even though hundreds of thousands of women die from risky pregnancies? That this pope and his institution have forced young girls raped by relatives to carry the resulting pregnancies to term, leading to childbirth by children, as recently happened in Colombia? That this pope decries poverty, but ignores the connection between poverty and fertility rates, fertility rates and overpopulation, overpopulation and climate change?
Yes, this pope is more liberal and personable than others, and he seems to care about poverty. But the current Saudi Arabian monarch is also a bit more liberal than previous leaders. So is Iran’s leadership. Yet we still feel obligated to critically evaluate their institutions and policies.
Pope Francis, for all his gentle ways and concerns about poverty, still represents a hierarchical, authoritarian, patriarchal, ideologically narrow, science-challenged, anti-democratic, powerful, and powerfully rich institution—one convinced that its truth is the only truth!
Carol C. Mukhopadhyay
san mateo, calif.
Thank you for your articles about Pope Francis [Sept. 28/Oct. 5]; I appreciated all three. In “A Vision So Old It Looks New,” Nathan Schneider expertly tracks the Catholic Church’s tradition of egalitarian economics. However, two corrections must be made to his article—one perhaps minor, one very major.