Larry Flynt

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Pope Francis

With the mainstream media hailing the new pope as a cuddly, squeaky-clean messiah for the shamed and shit-stained Catholic Church, it looks like it’s up to HUSTLER—and a few diligent historians—to do the journalistic dirty work. Formerly known as Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio from Argentina, the new human hotline to heaven may have dropped his old moniker, but he still has some serious historical baggage. The closer you look, the more this papal savior resembles Pontius Pilate.

During his country’s military dictatorship and its “Dirty War” of the 1970s, when scores of resisters were killed or disappeared, Bergoglio honed his reputation as a guy who would gladly bend over for any junta that came along. After all, complying with dictatorships and fascism is a deep-seated tradition in the Catholic Church.

As local head of the Jesuit order at the time, Bergoglio stripped two priests— Orlando Yorio and Francisco Jalics—of their official functions, withdrawing the protections provided by the church. The priests were involved in helping the poor, an activity that smelled to the junta’s jackboots a lot like Peron ism. Anything Juan Perón and his wife Eva fought for—like democracy, trade unions and care for the underprivileged—was a scourge to the new regime. How dare Jesuit priests follow their vow of charity when they should be rimjobbing the new Butchers of Buenos Aires?

No sooner had Bergoglio made the priests unfair game than they were grabbed by paramilitary thugs and delivered to the torture chambers of the notorious detention camp Escuela Mecánica de la Armada, or ESMA. Later, when people started asking questions, the priests turned up drugged and naked in a field outside Buenos Aires. Yorio later testified that “Bergoglio never warned us. It was him who provided our names to the military.” The future pontiff, they charged, even lied to the priests’ families about their fate.

As if that weren’t disturbing enough, Bergoglio dutifully looked the other way while newborn babies were stolen from detainees and given to regime-friendly families. He claimed he didn’t know it was going on, but witnesses under oath swore otherwise.

Bergoglio has consistently invoked privilege and dodged questions about his complicity with the deadly regime that ruled Argentina until 1983. The Catholic Church, of course, denigrates the accusations as the usual anticlerical attacks. Anybody see a pattern here? People accuse the Catholic Church of disgusting deeds; the church denies everything; then it all turns out to be true.

The unsurprising revelations that the Catholic Church turns out to be rife with proven pedophile perverts is by far the Vatican’s biggest bummer these days. It tends to put a damper on parents handing their sons over for altar-boy duty when the job likely involves sucking off Father O’Diddley.

Witness the Grassi affair. Father Julio César Grassi was a priest in Buenos Aires who founded a charity called Happy Children. Creepy already, right? Turns out, the charity was his personal groping pen. Bergoglio and Grassi were bosom buddies, so the future pope vouched for him even though Grassi was a convicted child molester!

Pope Francis, whose name supposedly comes from St. Francis of Assisi (we suspect it was actually borrowed from Francis the Talking Mule) is obviously the clean-up guy whose job is to sweep the whole nasty childrape chapter under the chapel carpet. In full bury-the-bodies mode, the Vatican is loudly proclaiming that “what is important is what the Holy Father does now.”

What Bergoglio promptly did upon nailing the papacy was to get in some prayer time at the basilica where Cardinal Bernard Law happens to reside. Law is the arch – bishop emeritus of Boston, who fled to Rome ten years ago when his shitty practice of protecting child molesting priests hit the big fan. The archdiocese left behind by Dirty Uncle Bernie has since paid out over $100 million in settlements to victims.

Francis, of course, gave the old prick a big papal hug, something advocates for survivors of priestly abuse called “extraordinarily hurtful.” Sure, but ain’t that a Catholic Church specialty? First Grassi, now Law. Makes you wonder just how many pervert pals the freshman pope has.

Despite the humanitarian hype around Francis, his cultural attitudes are still stuck in the days of the Inquisition. When Argentina’s president pushed for a gay-marriage bill, Francis bayed that it was “a destructive attack on God’s plan” and “the devil’s work.” As for the pro-choice movement, it’s an insidious “culture of death.” Let’s be honest. Francis the Mule would never have become pope if he had any intention of rattling the church’s entrenched dogma about women, gays or anything involving penises entering anything (other than children).

Some pope-watchers do, however, speculate that Francis could soften up one bit of traditionally Viagra-hard dogma, namely the church’s old condom phobia—probably under pressure from the mass of fornicating padres. He’s even said the celibacy rule isn’t a matter of faith and “can change.” Time to bust out the blessed ultra-thins!

Ultimately, whatever good Francis might do, he is still the head of the world’s most relentlessly evil institution. The Catholic Church’s extended, Satanic history of corruption, torture, greed and perversity has caused so much misery and harm, it’s going to take more than one old coot in slippers to turn it around. The only pope we’d hail would be the last one. So our appeal to Pope Francis is this: Admit to the world that catholicism was a sick prank that’s gone on way too long and just shut the whole thing down. Sure, you’ll go to hell, but admit it: You were on your way there anyway.

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