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World's Hottest Old White Man? A Few Reasons Why Native People Should Be Crushing on Sexy Pope Francis

Gyasi Ross has a huge crush on Pope Francis. Find out why.
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Move over Sean Connery—I have to be honest: there’s a new old, wrinkly white, Catholic dude in my life. That’s right, I have a “thing” for this new Pope.

Sorry Sean.

(In fairness, calling him the “new pope” is kinda strong, right? It implies that he’s kinda young or inexperienced; the truth is that every single one of these Pope cats is old. Calling him “new” is like calling Chris Weinke a “rookie” his first year in the NFL—I think he was like 42 by the time he made it, right??)

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But I digress. Completely not the point.

My “thing” for Pope Francis completely is the point.

See, this Pope is so cool that he’s borderline Indian, ‘cause we’re some cool people. “Almost Native”—that is his official Indian name. I just gave it to him. Officially. Deal with it. But why is he that cool? Why would some buffoon overlook 1000 years of the Catholic Church’s violent and terrible dealings with Indigenous people worldwide and bestow such a cool Indian name to him? We’re not overlooking anything. Ever. We can’t. I mean, the Catholic Church has been absolutely TERRIBLE in regards to Indigenous people—from 1095 when the Pope issued the Papal Bull Terra Nullius (“empty land”) that gave the right to claim any land in non-Christian areas. And then in 1452 when the Pope issued the a law called Romanus Pontifex, declaring war against all non-Christians throughout the world and authorizing the conquest of their nations and territories.

Bad, bad juju.

Then in 1493, the Pope issued a law called Inter Cetera, granting Spain the right to conquer the lands that Columbus sailed to and all lands that it might come upon in the future. Inter Cetera also expressed the Pope's wish to convert the Natives of to Catholicism in order to strengthen the "Christian Empire." So when we’re talking about violence against Native people, taking Native lands, violence against women, slavery, violence against black folks for the past 500 years…these laws were all the justifications that were needed.

We don’t overlook anything; but we acknowledge progress. And he’s making progress and that’s why I say that THIS particular Pope—Pope Francis—is the sexiest old, wrinkly white dude in all of the land.

Let’s explore.

  1. This Fly Pontiff is REALLY Trying to Create Reconciliation Between the Roman Catholic Church and Indigenous People. "I humbly ask forgiveness...for crimes committed against the native peoples during the so-called conquest of America." That is a HUGE freakin’ deal—the Pope, God’s Representative on Earth (according to the Catholic Church) just freakin’ asked forgiveness from freakin’ Native people for the Church’s crimes!!! Holy sh...I was literally floored when I saw that. Look, folks, ADMITTING something bad happened is the first step in reconciliation. ASKING for forgiveness is the next step…obviously ACCEPTANCE is the third and final step. Whether or not individual Native people accept the Pope’s attempts at reconciliation are one thing, but this man just ADMITTED that the Catholic Church did CRIMES against Native people and ASKED for forgiveness in good faith.

That’s a huge deal. It’s hard enough to admit that I was wrong when I leave the gas tank on empty; imagine asking for forgiveness for genocide, racism, slavery and religious bigotry. The United States issued a corny little obscure apology to Native people in 2009 that didn’t ask for forgiveness and didn’t dig into genocide or war crimes against Native people. It also specifically laid out that the apology wasn’t a legal basis for lawsuits; out of the two, the Catholic Church EASILY wins the sincere apology battle.

  1. This Sexy A** Pope Respects Mother Earth and Realizes the Damage That Humans Are Doing to Her. "Our common home is being pillaged, laid waste and harmed with impunity. Cowardice in defending it is a grave sin. We see with growing disappointment how one international summit after another takes place without any significant result." Wow. This dude is borderline hippie (Francis, were you at the Rainbow Family Gathering in the Black Hills??) and we all know that hippies are simply bad renditions of Native people. EVERY single other Pope saw the Earth as something to be used, exploited and developed for monetary gain; this Pope realizes that we have to treat this living creature, our “common home” with great respect to give future generations a meaningful chance at a high quality of life.

Love this guy. Sean who?

  1. This Gorgeous Priest Knows That We’re Stuck Together and so We Have to Figure a Way to Live Peaceably Together. “We want change in our lives, in our neighborhoods, in our everyday reality. We want a change which can affect the entire world, since global interdependence calls for global answers to local problems. The globalization of hope, a hope which springs up from peoples and takes root among the poor, must replace the globalization of exclusion and indifference!”

Wow.

A heart for the poor. Global answers to local problems. The water shortages in California (and really everyplace else)? Those are going to affect Natives just like they affect everyone else. No one is exempt. And at this point, especially in regards to environmental issues, it really doesn’t matter who started it. Blame games do not help find solutions. We’re stuck together.

The truth is that we’re not overlooking anything. The Catholic Church still has a LONG ways to go to be truly “progressive.” He’s been the best Pope, but that’s like being the best Washington Redskin—you still kinda suck. Still, I appreciate him trying –effort goes a long ways. With all of us. I think of his effort as similar to my trying to rectify my adolescent homophobia; we’re all learning. And in that regard, I really could go on about this guy. He has a heart for the poor. He doesn’t seem to be stuck on “salvation” as much as “survival as a species,” the same way Native people have always been. Practical. I’m at a pow-wow otherwise I would write more, but what this guy is doing is revolutionary and necessary.

I have always LOVED to criticize the Catholic Church because they’re been terrible historically. But it seems like this guy is trying to fix some of their horrible sins now. It’s far from perfect, but it’s MUCH better.

Love y’all.

Photo credit: The Other 98% Facebook page

Gyasi Ross, Editor at Large
Blackfeet Nation/Suquamish Territories
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