Here's another entry in my list of odd things that I’ve experienced in my lifetime – seeing a Pope resign. This hasn’t happened in about 600 years. Being raised in a strict Catholic family but having lapsed years ago, I still have respect for the role of The Pope. It must be a tough job being infallible. Pope Benedict XVI did make the right decision in this case, something that Pope John Paul II also should have done. Seeing John Paul II’s health deteriorate while The Church continued to cart him out was pathetic. (It made me wonder who was really running The Church during that time.) Finally, we have a Pope who is smart enough and has enough respect for the office that he can say he is too pooped to pope.
And of all the burning, critical questions as to what will happen to him after he leaves the office, at least we have the answer that he will no longer wear his beloved red shoes, changing to a pair of simple brown loafers.
There are questions whether Pope Benedict’s inability to handle the rigors of the office is the only reason he is leaving. Talks of sex scandals in The Church have exploded. If Pope Benedict is unable to deal with the demands of addressing this issue, it is right for him to move aside in the hopes that someone will step up and handle the issue once and for all.
The conclave will soon begin to select a new Pope. Again, it’s a boys club that will make the choice. It is tragic that the Catholic Church continues to demean the role of women in The Church and in the world. Is it too much to ask to get a new Pope who will make some radical changes, like women for priests and allowing priests to marry? I am not holding my breath on this issue. The Church seems to think that God, Jesus, and likely the Holy Spirit is a male and that no female could ever be good enough to have a leadership tole in The Church. Maybe if The Church was more open minded about women, we wouldn’t have a clergy peppered with so many sexual deviants.
All that said, I do believe that the majority of The Church’s clergy are good people, as is many of The Church’s members. Sadly, though, The Church has been slow to throw the bad apples out. Whoever becomes the new Pontiff needs to bring The Church into the 21st century in more ways than one. The last Pope to attempt to re-energize the Church was Pope John XXXIII in the late 1950s and early 1960s. Sadly, The Church seems to have gone backwards at a rapid pace in the last decade, and The Church needs a Pope who is willing to stop that trend and make a more contemporary Church. The question now is, are there enough Cardinals willing to elect someone who is up to that task?
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