Pope Francis asked the Catholic church to adapt to 'changing conditions of society'. He wants to soften the church's attitude to divorce and to homosexuality.
I'm baffled. I'm often baffled, but religion baffles me more than most things.
The issue is morals and ethics. What's right and what's wrong? Religions claim that morals and ethics come from their invisible friend (a terminology that tells you where I stand). Everyone else gets it from people around them. We change our morals and ethics as a society.
So, for example, slavery. This is now held to be wrong, very wrong. But for a long time, the religions supported it; the bible even lays down rules about how to treat your slaves.
And society's attitude to divorce changed, maybe 50 years ago. Now, if a couple find out after getting married, that they aren't right for each other, society accepts that they should go their separate ways, and not be chained together for ever.
Society's attitude to homosexuality changed, maybe 50 years ago. Now it's generally believed that what two consenting adults get up to, is no-one's concern except theirs. In 1967, the UK said "homosexuality is no longer illegal", and I think that Julian and Sandy helped a lot with that.
So now, Pope Gregory, may the Great Spaghetti Monster touch him with His Noodly Appendage, has decided that maybe gayness isn't as bad as they thought. But his bishops disagree. Who's in charge here? I thought Popes had a direct and infallible line to their invisible friend.
But here's the big problem. If your morals and ethics come from your invisible friend, as written down in your Holy Book, surely they can't be changed? The Holy Book didn't change, so how can the morals and ethics?
And if you can change your morals and ethics while the Holy Book remains unchanged (perhaps you've re-interpreted it to fit in with 'changing conditions of society'?) then what use is the Holy Book? Surely the obvious thing to do is move the Holy Book to the fiction section of the library, and concentrate on trying to keep up with the improvement in morals and ethics that us atheists are leading the way on.
But it's not all bad. Perhaps this will be one more nail in the coffin for the church.