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Il Papa

This Pope has a history of conscience, charity (in the most religious sense), commitment to the welfare of the congregations under his direct care, and of human beings in general. Many churchmen, of all denominations talk the talk, but he talks it less than he walks it, and he talks it a lot. At 76, he doesn't have a great deal of time left do make whatever changes he could in the church--had he come to the position in his 60s, time would have been more on his side. We see how the office ages our Presidents--it ages popes as well, perhaps more. One quarter of the population of the US identifies as Catholic (either practicing or "recovering"). The worldwide population is massive. And he is the shepherd.

I'm sad because I suspect he was selected BECAUSE he is older than many, and they believe any of the substantive changes he would like to make will never happen because he won't be alive to see them through. Granted, they thought the same of John XXIII (who in my family was always called "The Good Pope," and who spearheaded Vatican II), and they were wrong there. But I fear that the Jesuit who seems to live more like a Franciscan than many in that order will leave no lasting mark--and he is one who I think could save the church. Oh, I don't think he'd allow for the ordination of women, or that priests could once again marry (they used to, for the first 1100 years of the church), but I think his concern for social justice, and his reputation for compassion, could, if he is given enough time.
I am sad because I think the College of Cardinals elected him because they think he will die, but until then it will give them breathing space to prepare for the one they really want. And I fear what that could be.



( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
Mar. 13th, 2013 07:16 pm (UTC)
I think some of them know that change is coming, but they want to put it off as long as possible. The structural problems with the church aren't going to vanish like some fad.
They hope that gay people will vanish.
They hope that people will forget the sex abuse scandals.
They will hope no one sees the connection between the expectation of celibacy of the clergy and sexual misconduct.
They hope women will become silent and submissive bystanders to running the church.
They will continue to deny contraception as a reasonable option.

More of these things build up, and the church has ignored them, hoping they would go away somehow. They need to act, or they will make themselves ridiculous and extinct.

Mar. 21st, 2013 04:00 pm (UTC)
I don't think the Church has any hope of any of that. The hope is that people will turn from sin and to Christ. That will solve most if not all of these problems. Celibacy is a discipline. Requiring celibacy will continue to make the pool from which priests are drawn smaller. There are married priests, priests from other churches who are already married and then convert to Roman Catholicism. They are accepted. This is the only thing that I see the Church changing, the requirement that priests remain celibate and unmarried. It is the only thing that is reasonable to change.

Women are not required to be silent nor to be bystanders. Artificial contraception is not a reasonable option for a Catholic.

Now, if you aren't Catholic (as I am not) you don't have a dog in this fight. If you are and don't want to follow the doctrine of your Church, by all means, find another place where you will be happier. There are plenty of churches that will allow you to do whatever you want. The Pope is the spokesman for God. God makes the rules. Pope is not a legislative position.
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )