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stupid pope

September 23rd, 2003 · 10 Comments

If I believed that excommunication meant anything, I could get myself thrown out of the Catholic Church by calling the Pope stupid. I’ll grant you that he didn’t actually write the document that this article talks about, and it will probably be somewhat less severe when it’s officially distributed… but give me a break. Discouraging altar girls because it reduces the potential field for priests? Please. The potential field for priests is small because, for one thing, it’s a CALLING that not everyone has (and probably not everyone who thinks they have it should follow it), and for another, celibacy isn’t a lifestyle that’s very appealing to the young.

I’m concerned that the Pope is going to die soon — not because I have any particular fondness for him or his papacy, but because there will have to be a new Pope after that, elected from the College of Cardinals, which is more conservative than it’s been for DECADES. Which is, of course, thanks to appointments of conservative cardinals by the current Pope. In the US, there seems to be a lot of undue influence from unofficial groups of conservative laypeople, who want to go back to Latin Masses, and doctrines of Hell and Purgatory and plenary indulgences and a lot of other pre-Vatican II doctrines. It’s like they want to undo what Vatican II did — like they don’t think it counted.

Seeing all the weird stuff that’s coming out of Rome lately, I am questioning whether I want to belong to this church anymore. I’m not at a place of serious decision-making right now, and I certainly feel that the particular parish where I belong is a good place for me (”a traditional progressive church,” as Lucy says). But I’m concerned about where the larger church is going, and I don’t know that I want to be part of something that apparently values my son, but not my daughter.

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10 responses so far ↓

  • 1 chele // Sep 24, 2003 at 5:41 am

    Well said, and I feel the same way. I’ve struggled for years with the teachings of the Catholic church.. but 16 years of Catholic school stays with you! I believe that someday there’ll be an American Catholic Church that breaks away from Rome.

  • 2 cb // Sep 24, 2003 at 9:14 am

    I don’t know that I would want that, either… I like the connectedness of a worldwide church, and I think an "American Catholic Church" would be somewhat marginalized (and not recognized by Rome). I really just want the muckety-mucks to realize that it’s about inclusion rather than exclusion, and acceptance rather than fear, and Love rather than The Rules.

    True, about Catholic school… but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. :)

  • 3 J-spice // Sep 24, 2003 at 10:00 am

    I dont think the pope is capable of making any decisions anymore. Including what you link to or who has been appointed. I dont think he has had much say in anything in a very long time. He has people that are making all the decisions for him obviosly. The bottom line is he is incapable of doing the job and the church seriously needs someone that can make progressive and strong decisions. Not someone who is worrying about filling their Depends.

  • 4 matt // Sep 24, 2003 at 2:53 pm

    Christie - good for you! I wish that more Catholics were speaking in favor of inclusion. Keep talking, maybe someone higher up will listen.

    J-spice - While I don’t agree with many of the Pope’s policies, I have no doubt that he is in full control of his mental faculties. The reason that there hasn’t been a large voice calling for a new Pope from within the Church is that John Paul is still a bright, stong voice. His body is failing, yes, but his mind is still there.

  • 5 matt // Sep 24, 2003 at 2:53 pm

    Christie - good for you! I wish that more Catholics were speaking in favor of inclusion. Keep talking, maybe someone higher up will listen.

    J-spice - While I don’t agree with many of the Pope’s policies, I have no doubt that he is in full control of his mental faculties. The reason that there hasn’t been a large voice calling for a new Pope from within the Church is that John Paul is still a bright, stong voice. His body is failing, yes, but his mind is still there.

  • 6 christie // Sep 24, 2003 at 4:58 pm

    His mind is VERY MUCH there, and he does have final veto power over EVERYTHING that comes out of Rome. Of course other people make many decisions; it’s a worldwide organization involving over a billion people.

    I certainly don’t think the Pope is incapable of doing the job (I’d be interested to know what other people think that job entails). I just think he’s wrong a lot of the time (that’s another thing that could get me thrown out, BTW, as there is a standing doctrine of papal infallibility), and out of touch with modern progressive ideals.

  • 7 christie // Sep 24, 2003 at 4:58 pm

    His mind is VERY MUCH there, and he does have final veto power over EVERYTHING that comes out of Rome. Of course other people make many decisions; it’s a worldwide organization involving over a billion people.

    I certainly don’t think the Pope is incapable of doing the job (I’d be interested to know what other people think that job entails). I just think he’s wrong a lot of the time (that’s another thing that could get me thrown out, BTW, as there is a standing doctrine of papal infallibility), and out of touch with modern progressive ideals.

  • 8 J-spice // Sep 25, 2003 at 1:22 pm

    you mean world wide organizations are run by many people? I guess I never knew how they worked. :P

    My point was more, that I believe the pope has far less control over what happens in the catholic church than people believe.

    As for his mind, how is it that you know his mind is VERY MUCH there? If they can get a monkey to learn sign language I imagine they can get the pope to read off of queue cards (no I’m not meaning the pope is like a monkey). Maybe my hesitation to believe he is all there is due to every article I read with a reference to the Pope describes him as ‘The ailing Pope John Paul II’ …

    As for his job… I think many people compare the pope to a CEO of a company, which is a skewed way of looking at it. However, he DOES (or the people making the decisions) have a big impact on the way catholics think of their religion, no? So I guess his job would be to continue to promote the religion and be tough on those that are not furthering the cause from within?

  • 9 J-spice // Sep 25, 2003 at 1:22 pm

    you mean world wide organizations are run by many people? I guess I never knew how they worked. :P

    My point was more, that I believe the pope has far less control over what happens in the catholic church than people believe.

    As for his mind, how is it that you know his mind is VERY MUCH there? If they can get a monkey to learn sign language I imagine they can get the pope to read off of queue cards (no I’m not meaning the pope is like a monkey). Maybe my hesitation to believe he is all there is due to every article I read with a reference to the Pope describes him as ‘The ailing Pope John Paul II’ …

    As for his job… I think many people compare the pope to a CEO of a company, which is a skewed way of looking at it. However, he DOES (or the people making the decisions) have a big impact on the way catholics think of their religion, no? So I guess his job would be to continue to promote the religion and be tough on those that are not furthering the cause from within?

  • 10 cb // Sep 25, 2003 at 2:26 pm

    pppbbbblt. :)

    That’s an interesting way to describe the Pope’s job. Makes sense, in a lot of ways. I do feel that there’s also a fair amount of "defending the faith" (from various terrible influences, which I guess would include people like me) involved. That, to me, smacks of I’m-right-and-you’re-stupid… which is another facet of the problem that I’m having. It seems that a religion that has to defend itself so vigorously must have some idea that "mistakes were made."

    To get back to your point, many of the ideas that I have trouble with are not so much about the faith itself as the way that Rome evidently wants church to look. I don’t think those how-to-worship ideas are very important, and I think that focusing on them leaves aside more pressing issues (like admitting that some priests have indeed attacked children under their pastoral care — the US bishops crafted a policy, and the Pope blew it off).

    Influence: Not so much, not directly, for people like me. I’m not that important. But the US bishops, for example — the Pope knows who they are and can make their lives miserable if he chooses. It would also be very visible if they were to publicly flout papal authority. So, inasmuch as those people are directly influenced by the Pope, and they influence the parishes in each individual diocese, yeah, his fingers are in the pie.

    That’s all for now. I have more to say, but maybe not today.

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