The Washington Post really hates the Catholic Church. See the top of Saturday’s Style section, which spotlights a group of “superprogressive” feminists and lesbians with boyish haircuts playing a board game critical of the papal election process. It's a "womyn's conclave" in oh-so-leftish Mount Rainier, Maryland, complete with a demand for "pink smoke."
The end of the story by Monica Hesse highlights how they all look forward to the deconstruction of the Vatican and the scattering of the Catholic hierarchy to install Pope Dorothy I:
After two hours, representing a six-day conclave, a new pope is selected. The new pope will be Anice Chenault, 36, a program manager for the Department of Housing and Urban Development. She immediately declares that she will go by Pope Dorothy, after Dorothy Day, the social activist and anti-poverty champion who founded the Catholic Worker movement.
“I think I’ll be a pants-wearing pope,” she declares thoughtfully, as she’s not a big fan of dresses. Pro stem-cell research. Happy to welcome gay priests or female priests or any kind of priests who feel called to the priesthood. Her first order of business will be to deconstruct the Vatican. “And scatter the hierarchy,” she adds.
“Viva Pope Dorothy.” The women in the room lift their glasses and applaud. “Viva Pope Dorothy.”
Someone needs to ask the Post why a group of feminists and lesbians who wanted a female-organized LGBT-welcoming church wouldn’t just join the Episcopalians, and their Katharine Jefferts Schori, who thinks of her church as something like a supportive group of whales? That’s on their wavelength. Instead, they must fight the world’s largest church. Everything must be remade to mirror "superprogressivism."
Hesse explains several radical church “reform” groups are represented at this apparently newsworthy game night, just hours after Pope Benedict flew away from the Vatican in a helicopter:
There are no men playing on this night, so the newly elected pope is going to be a woman. Specifically, it is going to be a 20- or 30-something woman from a super-progressive movement, such as Call to Action or the Women’s Ordination Conference — an organization working for gender equality in the Catholic Church — both of which are represented here. Specifically, a Jewish rabbi would have a better chance of becoming pope than anyone at Graham’s house, but no matter, the chili is excellent, and there’s wine.
The headline was “A papal conclave that thinks pink: Left out of official Catholic ritual, these women play the pope game at home.” The game is explained this way:
“Vatican: Unlock the Secrets of How Men Become Pope” was designed in 2006 by a man named Stephen Haliczer, a emeritus professor of religion at Northern Illinois University. He seems to have a sense of humor: At one point in the game, a cardinal is kidnapped by a group of Muslim extremists; however, he manages to convert the kidnapper to Christianity and is awarded 30 points.
Via Harper's, we learn some of the cards focus on how the Pope will die badly:
The Pope dies after contracting the Ebola virus during a trip to Africa. Your suggestion that he not eat a stew of monkey brains and cassava root is now seen as well founded. Earn twenty influence points.
The Pope dies when the Popemobile rolls over after hitting a truck carrying bananas. Your earlier warning that the Popemobile was unstable is now seen as evidence of your sound judgment. Earn twenty influence points.
You play a leading role in the general congregation’s decision to perform an autopsy on the dead Pope’s body and are credited with helping the Church avoid rumors of foul play. Earn twenty cardinal votes.
The heroine of Hesse's story is Kate Childs Graham, self-described "Catholic nerd," proudly gay and Catholic. Fresh off a stint with pro-abortion "Catholics for Choice" she is presently a senior speechwriter for AFSCME:
She loves being Catholic. She was raised Catholic. She went to Catholic University. She and her partner, Ariana, were married by an ex-nun, and their toddler, Asher, was baptized in a Catholic church.
Still, it’s a struggle and a cognitive disconnect to love something so deeply that sometimes seems not to love her back. She was devastated when the bishops of Maryland — her adopted home state — banded together last fall to oppose same-sex marriage.
“We just have to keep doing the work of being the church that we want to be,” she says, on her activism.
Shortly after Benedict announced his resignation, she polled several friends in the progressive Catholic movement on what qualities they’d hope to see in a new pope. She turned these thoughts into an article for the National Catholic Reporter: They wanted someone who was willing to open Vatican decision making to new voices. Someone who was transparent. Someone who was open to dialogue on controversial issues such as sexuality and gender. A non-white man would be nice, to force European and North American Catholics to look beyond their positions of privilege. [Try not to laugh when they ask for an "apolitical" pope.]
“The next pope won’t impact my faith — the people I surround myself with impact my faith,” Graham says. “But he will impact my life.”
Whoever the new pope is, he will have been selected by an electorate that is 100 percent male and 100 percent wrinkled. [?] If it seems sacrilegious to reduce the selection of the new head of the Catholic Church to a game that appears to be entirely out of stock on Amazon.com — well, keep in mind that Graham’s living room is the only conclave to which the players have been invited. This night is about disenfranchisement, faith and board games.