For Immediate Release
Contact: Paul Fidalgo
Phone: (207) 358-9785

Secularist Group Pessimistic for Church Modernization Under Pope Francis

March 14, 2013

On the occasion of the election of Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio as Pope, Center for Inquiry president and CEO Ronald Lindsay released the following statement:

“As with anyone taking on a position of substantial responsibility, in which decisions can affect the lives of millions, we sincerely hope for the best for Pope Francis. However, even leaving aside the fact that the institution he oversees is based on a fundamentally false understanding of reality, at this stage one cannot be too optimistic about the prospects of Francis bringing the Church into the 21st century. Indeed, even the Church’s dipping a toe into the 20th century seems unrealistic.

“Like much of the Church’s hierarchy, his views stem from beliefs and myths formed in previous millennia. For example, his prior hateful statements about same-sex marriage, calling it a ‘move by the father of lies to confuse and deceive the children of God,’ indicate a mindset that gives priority to dogma over basic human compassion. His labeling of the adoption of children by gay parents as ‘discrimination against children’ shows a backward and almost flippant view of the plight of those who suffer from genuine discrimination.

“We can only hope that Pope Francis proves our pessimism wrong, but all evidence suggests a continuation of a most unfortunate status quo for a deeply troubled, and troubling, institution.”

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The Center for Inquiry (CFI) is a nonprofit educational, advocacy, and research organization headquartered in Amherst, New York, with executive offices in Washington, D.C. It is also home to both the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry and the Council for Secular Humanism. The mission of CFI is to foster a secular society based on science, reason, freedom of inquiry, and humanist values. CFI‘s web address is

Note: This has been corrected to reflect the pope’s views on gay adoption, wrongfully attributed in a previous version to his opinions on abortion.