During a 2010 bishops meeting, Cardinal Bergoglio tried to broker a gay unions deal as "the lesser of two evils"
During the 2010 run-up to legalize same-sex marriage in Argentina, Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio denounced the proposal as “a destructive pretension against the plan of God.” But in private, former colleagues say the cardinal worked earnestly for a compromise on the issue.
According to a report in the New York Times, Bergoglio tried to persuade a 2010 meeting of Catholic bishops to support civil unions for gay couples.
Realizing that the gay marriage measure was sure to pass, the man who would be pope advocated for gay unions as the “lessor of two evils,” according to his authorized biographer, Sergio Rubin. “He wagered on a position of greater dialogue with society.”
“Bergoglio’s thinking was very clearly demonstrated both with what he said and in the message of his pastoral work,” said Roxana Alfieri, a social worker in the communications department of the bishops’ central office in Buenos Aires who was present at the 2010 meeting. “He didn’t want the church to take a position of condemning people but rather of respect for their rights like any vulnerable person.”
The bishops rejected Bergoglio’s proposal, while the Argentine Senate passed a measure to legalize gay marriage in July of that year.
Bergoglio failed to broker a church compromise on gay unions, but the incident may provide some insight into the new pontiff’s style of leadership.
As the Times notes:
As he faced one of the most acute tests of his tenure as head of Argentina’s church, he showed another side as well, supporters and critics say: that of a deal maker willing to compromise and court opposing sides in the debate, detractors included.
The approach stands in sharp contrast to his predecessor, Benedict XVI, who spent 25 years as the church’s chief doctrinal enforcer before becoming pope, known for an unbending adherence to doctrinal purity. Francis, by comparison, spent decades in the field, responsible for translating such ideals into practice in the real world, sometimes leading to a different approach.
But many who witnessed Bergoglio’s public hard-line persona — even while he quietly pushed for compromise — are not as convinced by the new pope’s apparent pragmatism:
“The reality, beyond what he may have said in private meetings, was that he said some terrible things in public,” Esteban Paulón, president of the Argentine Federation of Lesbians, Gays, Bisexuals and Transsexuals, said. “He took a role, in public, that was determinedly combative.”
In addition to supporting widespread protests against gay marriage, Bergoglio called the political battle to defeat the measure “God’s war” and denounced gay parenting as “the total rejection of God’s law engraved in our hearts.”
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Two-for-one for Everyone — West Wind Solano Twin Drive-In, Concord, Calif. This family-friendly attraction with several spots across the U.S. (including California, Nevada and Arizona) prides itself on offering first-run double features (save for premiere events) on the cheap — which is quite the deal, considering their 65-foot screens are among the biggest in the biz. And if you have great car speakers, even better: squawk boxes of old have been replaced with Dolby quality audio piped through your car’s FM stereo.
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A Hole (Lot of Fun) in One — Wellfleet Drive-In, Wellfleet, Mass.Built in 1957 and still offering original mono sound boxes for those looking for an authentic experience (or not, as FM stereo is available as well), the summer-exclusive theater hosts double features of first-runs on its giant 100’ x 44’ screen. Come for the movies, stay for the mini-golf and flea market (on select days).
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Go Big or Drive Home — Bengies Drive-In, Baltimore, Md. The only thing bigger than Bengies’ prolific history (57 years and going) is its main attraction — boasting the biggest theater screen in the U.S. at 6,240 square feet. That’s 52’ x 120’ of pure anamorphic presentation. Complementing its time capsule of a snack bar (unchanged since ’56), previews old and new occupy the venue’s old-timey intermissions between features.
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Proof That Film is Forever — Shankweilers, Orefield, Pa. While we’re on superlative street, consider stopping at this roadside treasure: America’s oldest drive-in. Operating since 1934, it may not have the frills and pony rides of nearby Becky’s Drive-In, but it’s defied hurricanes and the wear and tear of time. Worth the one-hour drive from Philly.
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The Gritty Hollywood Reboot — Corral Drive-In, Guymon, Okla. Like a slasher movie menace that died (several times) in the ’80s only to be rebooted years after, the long-vacant Corral Drive-In was resurrected and restored in 2009, providing big entertainment at a nominal fee. And if the $6 adult admission doesn’t make you feel like a kid again, the venue’s inflatable bouncers most definitely will.
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Bring Your Backyard to the Big Screen — Starlight Six Drive-In, Atlanta, Ga. As much a backdoor barbecue as it is a night out at the movies, this six-screen Atlanta drive-in encourages what most in the theater biz forbid: bringing your own food and grilling it. Those looking to add a hip twist of the theatrical to their Labor Day getaway need only stock the cooler and pack some brats or burgers for the Starlight’s annual “Drive-Invasion,” which features a hot-rod show, live music, and B-movies galore.
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