Are we hearing the Death Knells of the Catholic Church?
I am quite sure now that often, very often, in matters concerning religion and politics a man's reasoning powers are not above the monkey's.
- Mark Twain in Eruption
Pope Benedict XVI resigned, hardly a monumental loss. This is a pope who (1) stated that condoms spread aids; (2) insulted the Islamic world, causing global riots, and (3) welcomed a bishop who denied the holocaust back into the fold. www.nytimes.com 2/12/13
If one were to attempt to decipher the path that the Catholic Church has chosen over the last few decades, one would have a difficult time refuting the theory that the Catholic Church is on a direct path to self-destruction. It would be difficult for any Hollywood screenwriter to come up with a better script for the demise of the Catholic Church than the Pope and the College of Cardinals have written.
Pope Benedict XVI, was appointed in 2005 as the new Pope upon the passing of John Paul II. From 2002 until his appointment, he was “Dean of the College of Cardinals”, virtually assuring himself as a strong possibility to ascend to the Papacy. The College of Cardinals historically appoints an anachronism to be Pope, in order to continue the devolution of the Catholic Church. In appointing a notoriously conservative candidate to be Pope, it continued to point the Church in the wrong direction. There is clearly no purpose in moving into the future when you can live in the “glorious” past.
Why exactly do we call it a College of Cardinals? Is it perhaps a deliberate attempt by the Church to give us a false perception of an erudite group of leaders, rather than to expose a group of self-serving individuals, more concerned with preservation of power by the Catholic Church than in serving its constituency?
Tracing back to the 15th Century, where the Catholic Church sold “indulgences”, i.e. forgiveness for sins through payments to the church, we see a pattern of power and greed over true charity. In the early 16th century, the most ignominious of all these indulgence “hawkers” was clearly Johann Tetzel, a German Dominican friar. Tetzel sold indulgences to people who desired to move a relative who was “stuck in purgatory”. By confessing sins and “paying a premium”, one could now get someone into Heaven! This system of indulgences continued until a “heretic” named Martin Luther published his “Ninety-five Theses” in 1517, condemning this entire practice.
There is a specific reason for bringing up the 15th and 16th centuries. While the Catholic Church had named several popes in the 20th century, were any of them really living in the 20th century or were they simply relics, with 15th century values, simply residing in our century, but not really living here?
In 2007, Pope Benedict began his reign with the reintroduction of Latin into the Mass as an attempt to return to “traditional values”. For many years, the Church had “tolerated” the use of many different languages, rather than Latin, with a specific goal of bringing the youth back into the fold. But at 85 years old, one can hardly have expected Pope Benedict XVI to have related to the current generation. (Maybe he should have enlisted Whoopi Goldberg to help!)
In the spring of 2012, the Vatican condemned American nuns as a group, accusing them of “serious doctrinal problems”. Suppressing the speech of second class members of the Church, i.e. nuns, because “women should be seen and not heard” became the theme of a 2012 papal edict. How Old Testament!! Kathy Sherman’s song of freedom titled “Love Cannot Be Silenced: The People’s Response to the Vatican’s Investigations of the U.S. Sisters” is a perfect example of how nuns are responding to the vile treatment by church superiors.
The last decade has truly enlightened us to the incredible proliferation of sexual abuse of young members of the church by priests. There have been numerous criminal cases, legal settlements, and cover-ups. Simple extrapolation tells us, with little doubt, that these abuses have been going on long before it came to light in the media. A recent conviction, Msgr. William J. Lynn, was sentenced on July 24, 2012 for the deliberate cover-up of sexual abuse. “Lynn was head of priest personnel for a dozen years and was one of the highest-ranking officials in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia. Lynn was the first church official to be tried for what many see as an unaddressed crime in the decades-long tally of abuse throughout the church: No U.S. bishops or officials who covered up and enabled the abuse had previously been held accountable in criminal court.” www.washingtonpost.com 7/25/12
In my opinion, the most egregious offense in the abuse cases took place in August 2012. The Rev. Benedict Groeschel, a Franciscan friar defended priests who sexually abused children by blaming some victims for "seducing" them. He further stated that first offenders should be excused with simple probation, i.e. no jail time. To exacerbate the situation, one must understand that, for years, the NY Archdiocese has been sending “wayward priests” to Rev. Groeschel for counseling. While not a priest in the NY archdiocese, Rev. Groeschel has also taught at the seminary. That is the equivalent of letting a convicted drug dealer run a hospital pharmacy department. www.nytimes.com 8/12/12
If things weren’t going badly enough for Pope Benedict XVI, along comes Karen L. King, a Harvard University professor who brings forth the discovery of “The Gospel of Jesus’ Wife”, a papyrus fragment in Egyptian Coptic, opening up the possibility that Jesus was married. Oops! So much for the doctrine that Catholic priests can never marry and have to be celibate. www.nytimes 9/18/12
For the last two weeks, the New York times has been inundated with articles on lawsuits by religious organizations, primarily Catholic, opposed to Obama’s proposals to have insurance companies pay for birth control. In 2013? Do we not have enough teen pregnancies and unwanted children in this country? When does intelligence overcome religious doctrine? And for the record, most of the Catholics with whom I am acquainted choose to use birth control.
Note: Before everyone starts accusing me of Catholic-bashing, please remember my blog castigating the Orthodox community of Kiryas Joel? How about my references to the atrocities under Sharia law? I am an equal opportunity basher of religious hypocrisy.
Charles Darwin was a very religious man. Prior to publishing his monumental work “The Origin of Species”, Darwin went through a terrible time of internal suffering. Darwin knew that the publication of his ideas and widespread acceptance would impact his family and his life, but more than that, would be in direct conflict with all the teachings of the church. But Darwin knew that his research was important to science and to the world. There was no real choice. The “Origin of Species” is based on one very important premise; that which does not evolve will eventually die out!
Does anyone hear the bells ringing?