The resignation of Pope Benedict XVI was a major surprise to the Catholic Church and to the approximately one billion followers around the world. For six hundred years, the position of Pope was a job until death. The role of Pope has changed from being a leader of the faith with the addition of being the CEO of a huge and vast financial and political empire.
In this day of believing that there is a conspiracy behind every major event, the circumstances of the Pope’s resignation is getting increased scrutiny as the process to elect a new pope proceeds. There are revelations of financial improprieties, power struggles, and, strangely, sexual misdeeds at the highest levels of the church hierarchy. Some think that the Pope departed ahead of a secular inquisition into the whole Vatican hierarchy.
The election of the Pope is a highly secretive process, but we know that the Cardinals are all men that have risen through the ranks of the priesthood. At the successful conclusion of the voting to reach agreement, a puff of white smoke announces that a new Pope has been chosen.
In that moment, there is a very significant transformation in the life on one former Cardinal. That man who is now Pope has become infallible in his decisions relating to religious matters. Given the scandals recently within the community of Cardinals, Bishops and various other titular members of the Catholic hierarchy, conferring infallibility on the new Pope is a responsibility that may be reconsidered.
If the new Pope were to decide to support marriage of the clergy and contraception, and the Pope is infallible in matters of religious dogma, what would be the outcome of these decisions? There is a Chinese curse that states, “May you live in interesting times.” The next Pope is going to live the curse due to the sins of the fathers.
In today’s changing times, there are hundreds of millions of Catholics that are practicing birth control. There are untold numbers of Catholics that do not believe that the Pope is infallible on religious matters.
The person that becomes Pope is going to need significant divine intervention to steer the Catholic Church for the duration of his papacy. May he be blessed with divine guidance to the benefit of mankind and the Catholic Church.
The recent resignation of Pope Benedict XVI has put the Catholic Church in the headlines and the minds of many. The issues within the Catholic Church are not unique except where some policies such as celibacy of the clergy have conflicted directly with human nature . Future articles will address the problems that powerful religious leaders of other faiths have undergone and continue to face.
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