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THE CATHOLIC CHURCH

February 23, 2013

During the US Presidential campaign, I collected a stack of notes as blog topics-motivated by the active opinion-sharing involvement and attempts to sway US citizens- by various Catholic clergy in the US.  Every time there was another incident, I made another note.  Every time I heard another politician use the “authority” of their Catholic faith as their support for discriminatory comments against women, gays, and other issues totally removed from the realm of politics and governance of the country, I made another note. Over the last six months of the campaign, the stack grew and grew but fortunately for readers, I resisted using religious faith as a central topic…for the most part.

I wasn’t perfect….A few times I spoke up as Republican candidates used their Catholic faith as justification for what I regarded anti-women/anti-gay positions; when the Vatican condemned the US nuns for failing to uphold church doctrine as relates to women and gays; and when a child was denied confirmation in the Catholic Church because of a picture of him holding a Vote No in a same sex marriage debate.  And when the Republicans argued we were a Christian country, I really had to bite my tongue and stop my typing hands from pointing out…not so fast.  But overall, I did better than I thought I would considering how strongly I feel on the topic, and how little the church has changed since the Middle Ages when the breaks with that church and the rise of the Protestants began to impact the Christian faith.

The pile of notes continued to grow concerning the constant interference of the Catholic Church in the business, government and daily lives of US citizens despite the fact that freedom of religion and tolerance for all are key principles guiding the whites who first came to these shores.  The First Amendment to the US Constitution guarantees freedom of religion; and the separation of church and state was clarified by Jefferson in the Treaty of Tripoli.  Yet, 200 years later, we seem to move closer and closer to needing another clarification.

And then, elections over, the world was a-buzz re the Pope’s resignation and we’ve heard a great deal since about successorship.  This morning, I found a comment I wrote that unfortunately the organization is so “in-bred”, it becomes hard to see any significant change ahead…although one can only hope.

 It would be nice to see that since the founders of the church 2000 years ago were not white, and most Catholics in the world today are not whites, that serious consideration is indeed being given to Cardinals from Brazil or Africa that made the “potential” successor lists compiled by the Press.  Not only would such a successor at least then have a chance to relate to his people instead of merely “rule”, but it also would be a signal that the Catholic Church recognizes the world is changing fast and whites are NOT necessarily the all-knowing.  And a long shot, but it might even give the church a means to free itself from the pomposity of Rome itself and be able to provide support to its flock in issues reflective of today’s world.

One does not have to alter core beliefs to be in touch; one only has to admit that the Catholic Church of today is NOT the Church of 2000 years ago; after all Christ and Peter were not whites. Nor is it the Church of 600 years ago when it was permissible for an (unmarried) Pope’s offspring to take their rightful “place” as leader of the church when a pope died – and continue the intrigues, wars, armies and killing conducted by their father.  

Somehow, a myth of infallibility evolved; a myth whose strains I have heard in pundit discussions in recent weeks – including a myth that the Catholic Church is the “longest surviving religion on earth”.  What?!!!  It may be the longest surviving Christian religion, but I expect even Jesus would be surprised to hear that mistruth…after all, he was raised in the Jewish faith….long before he gathered his first disciples.

And in the ensuing discussions about why the Pope resigned – the first in 600 years to do so-there have been several references to how difficult his time in the papacy has been because of the number of sexual scandals involving men of the church.  I have a clipping sitting here describing a church official advocating for women to be accepted into the priesthood…because it is so hard for priests, and church leaders to maintain their vows of chastity.  Note it was not advocating marriage for the men of the Church.…so for me, I read it to mean….if there was easy access to women priests, the men of the church would have a way to keep their sexual activities secret within the Church confines. 

And now this morning….a tiny note tucked away in the STRIB….announced that Pope Benedict has transferred Monsignor Balestrero to Colombia.  This same monsignor had been mentioned in papal documents leaked to the press that reported the pope decided to resign-not for health reasons- but right after receiving a dossier allegedly detailing a network of sex and corruption inside the Vatican itself.  [Note:  Later today, the Vatican refuted this is the reason for the retirement; maintaining it is indeed for health reasons.]

Sunday I watched a special on how King George V of England dragged the monarchy forward into the the 20th century; while his cousins around him who did not reinvent themselves simply disappeared.  I think the next pope, whomever that may be, would do well to follow George’s example.  It is time for reinvention and revision of thinking.

 

 

 

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