Pope Benedict XVI has announced that he is going to resign on February 28, 2013 due to deteriorating physical strength. Needless to say it is very uncommon for a Pope to resign.
On the bright side, they could hardly be worse. Except in that, by being slightly less evil, they would be more insidious. That would be worse, I suppose.
Damned if we do, damned if we don't, I guess.
'Les peuples passent, les trônes s'écroulent, l'église demeure.'
So far that's been true, Napoleon ... but I'm not certain I've found any absolute truisms as regards human nature. Institutions fail and fall, most frequently when they fail to keep up with the times. If the fall of the RC church has been slow to the point of being unobservable, it is at least in part because of its long history and an ability to adapt itself superficially while maintaining its core structure.
Right now, though, progress and human advancement has never been faster, and with that, the availability of information, good and bad, has never been greater. The RC church is discovering that there are fewer and fewer boulders to hide behind, as its own peccadilloes are becoming more exposed to public scrutiny. Ireland has literally turned on a dime with the revelation of the extent of incidences of priest child abuse there, and increasing attention to the "sins of the church" are coming from multiple quarters, particularly from US.
The church is wrong, Napoleon, and you and I both know it. We may not live to see its demise, but I have no doubt that said demise is underway.
The belief in the catholic church and a supernatural dimension is generally diminishing in the western world but not so in poor parts such as the Philippines and Africa where exploding populations still flock to the churches.
I feel that if an individual has a comfortable life affording physical and mental health, education, good surroundings and is not always in need, then they are better able to think rationally. The Internet is very important in liberating people with information and exchange and where would we be without it now ?
The church is wrong but where would all the poor unfortunate people of the world be without it ? I think we will never know.
Interestingly enough, though, we could raise every child on earth out of moderate absolute poverty, i.e., give food, clean water, shelter, medical care, and a 6th grade education to every person on earth under 18 who doesn't have those things, for less than the amount of money Americans alone give to churches on an annual basis. We give over $100 billion annually to churches. The food, water, shelter, and medical care would cost about $30 billion, while the primary education would cost about $60 billion.
I like that thought Humble.
I see the resignation as a sign of weakness. He could have made a courageous stand in remaining Pope while physically deteriorating. I don't think he would have been any less effective that way because there are any number of people that could have helped with his duties. If he had made such a stand people would have tended to feel sorry for him and to glorify him to the benefit of the Church. As such, I think he copped out. He certainly can't be labeled a martyr. In my opinion to the benefit of us all he has shown his true colors - those of being a coward when he could have been a hero.
The only way he could have been a hero was to turn over the records of child molestation, kept by the Doctrine of the Congregation of Faith (Inquisition), to the civil authorities of each country where molestation has been and is occurring, and given full cooperation to those authorities for the prosecution and imprisonment of the guilty. Then, while speaking Ex Cathedra (Mr. Infallible) on matters of faith and morals, let it be known that any immoral behavior by any member of the clergy with a minor would be dealt with in the strictest possible terms, including but not limited to criminal prosecution. Personal opinion is that the scandal has gotten beyond his control, so it's time to exit - stage right - and let someone else deal with the mess. Instead, he gets to lounge around Castle Gandolfo, with free medical care, sipping vintage European wines, eating gourmet food, and offering up incantations for the benefit of the poor.
No argument on any of the above, Pat. In addition, Joe the Rat means to irresponsibly dump the whole unresolved problem into his successor's lap. The problem with your proposed solution is that not Joseph Ratzinger, not Karol Wojtyla, nor any pontiff before any of them has ever learned how to play their cards face-up. They CAN'T; it's against their nature and their own indoctrination in the usages of secrecy. Being open in any measure simply is not who they are.
I'll bet that, if someone could actually ask Ratzinger himself about it, the whole child abuse scandal scares him shitless. It's already cost him Ireland, for all intents and purposes, and if things continue to track the way they have been, it may ultimately cost the church the entire first world. No great surprise, then, that Vatican City has turned its attention to Africa as a new source of
sheep faithful. Still, with the attention of those who have thrown off the catholic yoke on them, it may be that even that supposedly fertile field can be denied them. Cut off from a means of growth, they might be able to maintain a status quo for a bit, but in the long run, there is only one direction for them and that is DOWN.
And what we have to do is keep the pressure on.
I didn't mean that he could have been a true hero. I'm surprised that anybody could have interpreted it that way given the context. I meant that to his followers and fence sitters he could have appeared to be a hero by playing the martyr roll. Had he done that it would have been to the glorification of himself and the Church. It, however, would have required suffering on his part and he didn't have the guts to endure it. That's why I said I thought his resignation was a sign of weakness and that it was founded in cowardice. I need to be more aware that different people consider context to different degrees. I'm glad you love children so much because I certainly do and have posted about it many times.
Thank you for using the "C" word, John, because in the final analysis, that is what Joe is: a COWARD. He is running away and saddling the next pontiff with what continues to be the single most deleterious issue the RC church has faced in over a century. One hopes it will become the issue which us the final undoing of their little cabal, and it damned well should be.
The Roman Catholic Church is a morally bankrupt anachronism, if for no other reason than its utter failure to address and rectify its inarguable culpability in a sexual abuse scandal which encompasses a time far in excess of the current awareness of that shameful reality. It deserves all the accusation and derision that it gets and more.
And it is past time that benighted institution just plain went away...
Seeing all the folks with ashes on their foreheads today, I wanted to ask them about this. About how they felt about the "Holy Father" running away from the questions and cover-ups. About how they could stand with such a tradition, as it dwindled away. I didn't, as a student. Though were these my actual coworkers, people I knew better, I would have.