Skip to main content

Buy the Print Edition of Radical Second Things!

What Has Pope Francis Meant?

Recently, several articles have been released alluding to the health of Pope Francis. As much of a radical breath of fresh air as he may have been for some, Jorge Mario Bergoglio is 77 years old. He is an old man. His ideology, liberation theology of the sort popular in Latin America, is only new in the Vatican's halls of power. It has been around for decades and is only finally getting its deserved time in the spotlight.

People do not live for centuries. I know as well as anyone that death is waiting for all of us, patiently, and it will come whether we are ready or not. Francis has a good quarter century on this planet at most before he heads off to wherever he does.

Whether the rumors of illness are true or not, and the Vatican denies them, Pope Francis took the ailing body of Catholicism from life support to be able to run and play tennis within a very short time. One friend of mine, a self described former Christian, said that he really did not think that the Catholic Church would survive in to the twenty first century if it had another reactionary like Ratzinger in power and I agree. There is a long tradition of radical, thoughtful and, God forbird, socialist intellectual thought and action of a Catholic variant but, until Francis, it was hard to sell others on its validity.

With Francis, suddenly people like Paul Farmer, a human rights activists who has worked in the poorest parts of the planet, was being quoted by the New Yorker. He said of Francis' refreshingly radical rhetoric, "Even if it's just for show, keep showing it." Farmer has collaborated multiple times with Gustavo Gutierrez, a Catholic thinker who created Liberation Theology in the 1970s.

The Catholic Church's sins are storied - but they need not be as scarred on the church as they became. As horrifying as the sex abuse scandals were, American public schools are as filled with incidents of sex abuse on children as the Catholic Church. It was the response of the Church - moving priests in to different jurisdictions after they got caught - that really messed up the Catholic Church's image. While many have criticized Francis as just turning up the volume on public relations, the most significant thing he has done has been putting victims of sex abuse in to positions of authority in the Church.

Francis' simple human normalcy - talking about having worked as a bouncer, saying casually "Who am I to judge?" when asked about homosexuality - an answer which not only refuted conservative Catholics but also was a whole lot better than some sort of official announcement of Vatican policy toward homosexuals and a host of genuine, heartwarming photos with average people all made the Papacy human again.

A wealthspring of healthy and refreshing Catholic writing has already come up in a short time - the New Yorker article is added by this great one in The Daily Beast by Nathan Schneider - "12 Ways Catholicism is More Radical Than Pope Francis." Whatever his lasting contribution to both Christianity and to the world is, this website and articles like that wouldn't exist without his contribution. In only a short time, he has marked in place in cement as a historical figure of weight.


Popular posts from this blog

"Life is Much More Than Bratwurst:" A Chat With Rummelsnuff

A note - Blogging isn't free. Right now I provide gifts to my writers as a way of thanking people for writing. I would like to be able to afford to give them some sort of renumeration, even if it is small, for making this blog what it is. I'm in talks with a friend who may be able to help connect this blog, which has been in existence for one year now, with more religious communities dedicated to interfaith dialogue. Your donation will do a lot toward making that happen.

Rummelsnuff is awesome. If you don't know, he is Roger Baptist - a bodybuilding German singer who has toured abundantly in support of his music - an unusual composite of German industrial, drinking songs and electronica. Roger was nice enough to do an interview with me and took the time to answer in English, not his first language. Thanks so much, Roger!

First off, you have quite the physique? Can you tell us about your diet, your regimen, etc.?

Maybe I am lucky to like exactly the stuff, which is good for mu…

Eagles of Death Metal Go Alt Right

Hey all - remember writing is not free! If you want to see more of this, be sure to donate.

Back in 2010, I, along with my friend Alex Knepper, wrote about the prospective rise of the Alternative Right movement – a political organization of well dressed and well presented white supremacist who bring all of the hate, free of swastikas, shaved heads or all the usual turn offs of that ideology.
Alex’s article is up still at Frum Forum, a website of former Bush advisor David Frum. As one friend told me, I not only was right but more right than I thought I’d be about all of this. The world is changing very fast and it would take a profound change in human nature for the response to that change not to include a bit of reaction.
It’s much worse that I thought it would ever be. The forthcoming nominee of the Republican party blatantly flirts with white nationalists on his Twitter account, retweeting their material with abandon and refusing to condemn when pressed on it. Jesse Hughes, the lead …

"Proud Boys" and the Alt Right in the Bay Area

Now that NBC News picked up the Proud Boys story, here is something I wrote for a local Bay Area newspaper about them earlier in the fall. The newspaper was hesitant to write about the subject, as seems to happen when I want to write about the Alt Right. I interviewed Paul Bazille, a member of the Proud Boys group and everything. If the headline on the story seems different than this link, that's because I've changed it from what the newspaper wanted to one more appropriate for the story. Writing about this is frustrating - I'm torn between wanting to accurately portray the source, who put trust in me, and not wanting to seem sympathetic to the Alt Right, which I am certainly not. What that frustration turns in to is just not writing about it at all. The picture I took is from an anti-Alt Right protest in Berkeley.

Could a replay of Charlottesville occur here? The Bay Area has many of its own icons of a racist past that may be ripe for removal. UC Berkeley’s Barrows Hall, …

RST on Facebook

About Radical Second Things

Michael Orion is a blogger, writer, artist and photographer based in the Bay Area. Besides his maintenance and promotion of Radical Second Things, he contributes to the San Francisco newspaper SF Western Edition, where he writes about local non-profit organizations.

Mark Cappetta is a practicing Catholic and active LGBT activist. He has been instrumental in keeping Radical Second Things and updates the Facebook account almost daily.

Eva Gnostiquette is an artist, programmer, "future scientist," bi-trans girl and graphic designer. She voluntarily helped to create the first print issue Radical Second Things and designed our beautiful banners. Thanks so much, Eva!

Jordan Denato is a professional artist based out of Iowa. He took the initiative to illustrate both Jennifer Reimer's story and Michael Orion's Oscar Romero work. He has his own art studio, Tar and Feather Studios, and is a critical part of Radical Second Things.

Radical Second Things is a liberation theology themed blog that has clear cut goals - we see the structural decline of the United States and much of the west and hope to present alternatives that will offer "a preferential option for the poor" as more become vulnerable.

© 2017 Radical Second Things