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Don’t expect change under Pope Francis

For those hoping for real change under Pope Francis beyond his cleaning up Vatican corruption, his approval of the unwarranted attack under Pope Benedict XVI on the Leadership Conference of Women Religious, representing 80 percent of the 57,000 U.S. nuns, for not heeding the Vatican’s self-serving dogmatism despite their devoted work in our schools, hospitals and for Christ’s needy was disappointing. Expect to see continuation of the hard line against gays in committed relationships being accorded recognition as marriages. Millions more will be spent on the Defense of Marriage Act, as if marriage was not in trouble long before gays began coming out en masse.

As well, expect continuation of the hard line against the use of condoms to protect monogamous women in sub-Saharan Africa from being infected by their HIV-positive partners, notwithstanding that millions were infected and many died of AIDS during the tenures of the prior two pontiffs and that a half dozen non-African conferences of Catholic bishops and several dozen cardinals and bishops have publicly stated use of condoms to protect these innocent women to be a moral imperative.

Instead the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops will continue to allege violation of our religious freedom in mandating the availability of contraception under health insurance coverage despite the fact that Humane Vitae, the birth control encyclical, was promulgated over objections of 90 percent of the cardinals, bishops, theologians and lay experts on the papal birth control commission. That encyclical has never been accepted by 90 percent of Catholics in the developed world.

William J. Schuch

East Aurora and Naples, Fla.