Ministers in Denmark have dubbed the newly elected Pope Francis “harmful”, expressing disappointment that the Vatican did not choose someone more progressive on LGBT and women’s rights, but remain hopeful that he may prove them wrong.
The new pope, Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio, the 76-year-old Argentinean, who will be known as Pope Francis, has in the past described same-sex marriage and gay couples adopting as a “destructive attack on God’s plan.”
The new pope has also said that same-sex adoption adoption is a form of discrimination and abuse against children.
Denmark’s development minister Christian Friis Bach, has said that he feels disappinted that the Catholic Church chose Bergoglio.
Bach did commend the pope’s track record of fighting for the poor, but went on to say that he questioned his record on gay rights and women.
Speaking to Politiken newspaper, he said: “I had hoped we would get a more progressive pope… 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.”
He said that his early statements did not indicate that he was any different to his predecessor, Pope Benedict XVI, who was adamantly homophobic.
Bach was not the only Danish minister to share his views on the papal election, as equality and church minister Manu Sareen, agreed with him.
Writing on his Facebook wall, Sareen said: “I regret to say that I am in complete disagreement with previous opinions expressed by this pope… The oppression of women and homosexuals in the name of religion is unacceptable.”
A spokesperson for political party, Enhedslisten, described Francis’s election as “harmful”. Villumsen said: “The Catholic Church continues its problematic and conservative dogmatism… It is deeply damaging to the fight for gay rights and against AIDS around the world.”
The Danish Social Democrat’s equality spokesperson Rasmum Horn Langhoff, said that Pope Francis was just another in a long list of “older white men”, and said that he had hoped the church would elected someone more progressive.