The “retirement” of Pope Benedict XVI forced many Catholics around the world to assess their faith once again. Like many Catholics, I believe the problems plaguing the Church today is rooted in human weakness and in an anachronistic male view of the world, not necessarily based on spirituality or faith.
Immersed in Catholicism since birth, eight years of compulsory Catholic theology classes in high school and college, personal researches of various books of faith including the Holy Bible, Talmud, Koran, Torah, I-Ching, Book of the Dead, A Course in Miracles, the works of Lao Tzu, principles of Buddhism etc, years of looking outward then more importantly inward, have lead me to my present belief system. I do not profess to be a good Catholic. If the pope finds out what spiritual truths I truly believe, I may be excommunicated. However, if I choose to attend mass most Sundays, that’s entirely my prerogative and none of anyone’s business.
Real changes in the Catholic Church will not occur with a new Pope. If the Catholic Church is to survive, there will have to be major changes starting with the following: First, stop looking the other way as far as pedophilia in the priesthood is concerned. Keep in mind that priests do not become pedophiles, but pedophiles become priests.
Get to the root of the problem and deal with it effectively. 2nd, elevate the nuns to become priests. Women can run the Vatican as well or better than anyone. 3rd, celibacy among clerics should be a personal choice, not mandated by the Vatican. These three issues are of prime importance.
No, the Catholic Church is not a democracy, but it should be in these days and age. It is in a sense a patriarchal oligarchy. It has been that way since Europe adopted Catholicism during the Dark Ages. I doubt that was the intention of the original disciples which included Mary Magdalene, Mother Mary and several other women of Nazareth. It is time to fill the shoes of the Fisherman with women’s feet if Catholicism is to endure.
My wife and I still observe the rituals of the Catholic Church that we grew up with. We don’t eat meat during Fridays in Lent, we observe the Holy Days of Obligation, we are aware of the Liturgical calendar and we attend mass regularly. These rituals help us build and maintain traditions although we don’t consider ourselves “fundamentalists”. I do not condone the Catholic claim that it is the only one true religion even if they have the direct lineage to St.Peter (which they do). That goes for all the divisions and sub-divisions of the Christian protestant religions. I believe that people can “find” God in their own chosen paths and that includes non-Christian religions.
As “Christians” (Catholics included), we do not have an exclusive monopoly on God because God is in all of us. Neither do I believe that the bible is the only book of tenets through which one could find enlightenment. I believe in inclusion, not exclusion. I do not believe in the “superiority” of one particular race or civilization. I believe that what we do to others, we do to ourselves because there is only One of us here. The powers in Rome should be mindful of this connectivity of all human beings.
If the issues of pedophilia, equality of women, celibacy and diversity of beliefs can be addressed and dealt with effectively by the Vatican, then the Catholic Church will continue to exist for another millennia. Otherwise, we will continue to see its decay within and ultimately be brought down because of the mistrust of the remaining faithful who are dwindling in numbers. It is time to give up the Machiavellian patriarchy and let women have an equal say in the Catholic Church. That is a good place to start.