Is Pope Francis about to become a new Henry VIII?
Finally, this dynamic Pontiff is starting to make a real difference
Is the Pope still a Catholic? Up until a week ago the answer would have been a definitive yes. Regardless of the fact that liberals worldwide have gone slightly potty for this, admittedly likeable, Pontiff, not much has changed on the doctrinal front within the Catholic Church. It's not supposed to. That's the point.
When Bertrand Russell dismissed Thomas Aquinas, one of the Church's most brilliant thinkers, by saying that there was "little of the true philosophic spirit" in him, he was referring to the fact that Aquinas could not follow an argument wherever it led. Catholic dogma determined in advance where he could and could not go. So far, ditto with Pope Francis.
Despite his modest comments about not being in a position to "judge" gay people - his admission that even atheists could be saved (the Vatican, appalled, was quick to point out that he didn't mean this literally); his charming habit of washing the feet of prisoners and calling total strangers up for a chat or his admonition that the Church had become "obsessed" with abortion, gay rights and birth control and risked becoming a "house of cards", Catholic dogma is still determining in advance what Pope Francis can and cannot do.