New pope gets lukewarm reception from Danish leaders

Francis just another “older white man” with outdated views on gay and women’s rights, many say

Development minister, Christian Friis Bach (Radikale), has expressed disappointment in the Catholic Church’s decision to elect Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio as the new pope.

Bach said the newly-named Pope Francis has shown commitment to fighting for the poor, but has a questionable record on the rights of women and gays.

During his time as archbishop of Buenos Aires, Pope Francis called gay marriages satanic and “a destructive attack on God's plan”.

"I had hoped we would get a more progressive pope,” Bach told Politiken newspaper. “The Vatican has already shown itself as one of the fiercest opponents of gay rights, and there is nothing to suggest that this pope is any different. But we can of course hope.”

Bach said that Francis’s early statements do not seem to indicate that he is a champion of women or gays.

The equality and church minister, Manu Sareen (Radikale), agreed with his colleague.

"I regret to say that I am in complete disagreement with previous opinions expressed by this pope,” Sareen wrote on his Facebook page. “The oppression of women and homosexuals in the name of religion is unacceptable.”

Socialdemokraterne's equality spokesperson, Rasmus Horn Langhoff, called Pope Francis just another in a long line of “older white men” and said that he wished that the church would have tried something new.

Nicholas Villumsen, the equality spokesperson for Enhedslisten, went as far as to say Francis’s election was “harmful”.

"The Catholic Church continues its problematic and conservative dogmatism,” Villumsen told Politiken. “It is deeply damaging to the fight for gay rights and against AIDS around the world.”

Søren Søndergaard (Enhedslisten) said that while serving as a priest in Argentina, Bergoglio did nothing to stop the military junta which was notorious for murder and mayhem.

"Between 1976 and 1983, the Argentine military junta tortured and threw parents alive in the sea, and gave their children to military officers, all with the tacit acceptance of Jorge Mario Bergoglio,” Søndergaard wrote on Facebook.

A statement from the Mothers of the Plaza de Mayo, the association of women whose children disappeared during Argentina’s military dictatorship, seemed to back up Søndergaard’s assertion. The group contrasted Francis, who has been criticised for not confronting the dictatorship, with the 150 or so other priests who were killed during the junta.

“About this pope they named, we have only to say, ‘Amen,’" Hebe de Bonafini, the group’s president and longstanding critic of Francis, wrote in an ironic statement.

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