Though conservative on church doctrine, he has criticised priests who refuse to baptise babies born to single mothers.
In doctrine, baptism is that first and essential step towards future eternal life. If you want to be really crude about it, that Mommy (sans confession) is going to the eternal flames is no damn reason that babby is too.
Damnit, I\’d be entirely astonished if any Catholic priest refused to baptise a child, or indeed give extreme unction. And BTW, you don\’t need a priest for baptism anyway: if one\’s available that\’s great but they\’re not actually required for that one. Nor, amazingly, for marriage*.
Sure, OK, we all know I don\’t believe these things: but priests are actually supposed to.
On the other hand it\’s going to be very, very, interesting with Il Papa and the Argentine fascist dictatorship. And blimey, a Jesuit? Bit like a civil servant becoming PM.
*Bonking is, in strict terms, marriage. And it\’s very definitely true that if, say, a shipwrecked couple decide to commit to each other in the absence of a priest then that\’s a marriage as valid as any other….according to Church rules. As to the baptism, water and the sign of the cross do. I am one of those baptised twice (and no, I don\’t mean \”born again\”) as a twisted cord meant immediate baptism on the grounds that I was probably dead/dying then the one where I could cry lustily as the extended family looked on.