Monday, February 11, 2013

The Pope Retires




Pope Benedict XVI has announced his decision to retire.  Let’s hope that the Catholic Church will get a liberal and visionary Pope.

Benedict XVI was one of the most conservative popes of the recent times.  He failed to tackle certain important issues that rocked the church, particularly related to sexual matters.  The Church’s attitude to homosexuality has always remained ultra-conservative and Benedict XVI did not help to understand the issue in any intelligent light.  The issue of priests’ marriage was shelved conveniently even when the misdeeds of many priests, particularly instances of paedophilia, rocked the Church many a time.  The ordination of women as priests was not given due consideration.

A year before Benedict XVI was anointed the Pope, he was described as his predecessor’s “Grand Inquisitor” by theologian Hans Kung.  Pope John Paul II and Cardinal Ratzinger (who later became Pope Benedict XVI) together persecuted many theologians who advocated liberal and sensible approaches to contemporary problems.  Under their leadership, the Catholic Church remained one of the most obscurantist religions in the late 20th century.

There’s much that a good Pope can do for the Church.  In his history of the Catholic Church Hans Kung suggests that the Church should support:

·         a social world order: a society in which human beings have equal rights, live in solidarity with one another, and in which the ever-widening gulf between rich and poor is bridged;
·         a plural world order: a reconciled diversity of cultures, traditions and peoples...
·         a world order in partnership: a renewed fellowship of men and women in the church and society...
·         a world order which furthers peace

The Church has always remained a very narrow institution with unabashed holier-than-thou attitudes.  A broad-minded Pope can make the Church a meaningful and relevant institution in the 21st century.

12 comments:

  1. Hope the same for all religions today... The need of the hour is to use the faith that people have in religion, to spread love and more humaneness, instead of antagonism and ill-will...

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    1. True, every religion stands much in need of reformation today.

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  2. I think every religion needs some sensible leaders. We lack that in every sphere ...

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    1. Yes, Aram, the leader does make a lot of difference. Emperor Constantine made all the difference to the Church in his time. A good Pope can revolutionise the Church.

      We lack good leaders in every sphere today; so true.

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  3. “Let’s hope that the Catholic Church will get a liberal and visionary Pope.” – Who was the last one, the one who did something (Vatican II) in the 1960s? He was liberal only to the extent that he was marginally to the right side [Left is right!] of the entrenched powers.

    “Benedict XVI was one of the most conservative popes of the recent times.” I am not disputing this, but it was only in the fact that his conservatism was of the in-your-face kind – vis-à-vis Muslims, Jews, Liberation Theology, Anglicans – you name it. He learned well at the feet of his predecessor, John Paul II. John Paul II had his reasons, was a product of Poland and Communism. No such easy way out for Benedict XVI.

    EVERY ONE of the things Hans Kung suggests that the Roman Catholic Church support is a NON-STARTER!

    “A broad-minded Pope?” Ouch, that hurts this atheist’s sentiments!

    Raghuram Ekambaram

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    1. John XXIII was the one who started the Vatican II with the intention of "opening the windows" of the church to the world. But the poor man did not live to see the end of the Council. His successor Paul VI was too conservative to implement John's vision. John Paul I wished to combine the large-heartedness of John and sternness of Paul (hence the combined name) but was not allowed to (by nature or by design, I can't say for sure). Shall we look forward to a John XXIV?

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  4. God knows what tempests raged in the heart of Pope Benedict XVI. Only time will tell if "Broad-minded Pope" will be a reality or an oxymoron.

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    1. Uma, John XXIII was one such Pope. John Paul I would have been too, I think; but he died before he could prove himself.

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  5. All religions are good - they teach you to be better human beings - in touch with your humanity. Unfortunately, religious heads have another agenda - to ensure their religion is promoted over other religions come what may. That is why they don't punish the people who are supposed to be the stalwarts but who, instead, make other people's lives miserable by their ugly actions. Great post, Matheikal.

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    1. Yes, KayEm, it's the hidden agenda that spoil religions.

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  6. Excellent blog. I concur with what you say; "A broad-minded Pope can make the Church a meaningful and relevant institution in the 21st century."

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    1. Thanks, Gracy. Nice to see you here.

      A leader makes a huge difference, yes!

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