Tuesday, 12 February 2013

Reflection on the Resignation of Benedict XVI

from the website of RC Church in England and Wales
I’d love to be able to write something ‘nice’ after the resignation of Pope Benedict. 

It’s not up to me to judge him or his papacy.  Jesus called us to love.  He called us to leave the weed amongst the chaff.   There are big questions that need facing by the RC Church at this time.  Perhaps Benedict recognised this in his resignation speech.

“in today’s world, subject to so many rapid changes and shaken by questions of deep relevance for the life of faith,”
I’ve no idea what Benedict thinks these questions are. Many would only be guessing if they thought they knew. 
If the church is to be catholic it should embrace all, be here for all and respect all.  It cannot continue to sanction, impose, discipline and divide. Judgment is for God.  If it is to continue on it’s present course, it’s judgments will only be to promote its own theology of Church and not the Gospel of Jesus,  who taught us to forgive 77 times and let those without sin cast the first stone.
I wonder where this Biblical wisdom is when it comes to sanction and excommunications.  The Church prefers to oust people, who have served the church for decades, who raise these difficult questions whilst dragging its feet to condemn the sexual abuse of children by its clergy.  
Why does the church view people of the same sex who love each other as being ‘intrinsically disordered’ whilst sanctioning the killing of others in a just war – in contravention of the 5th commandment.  How can it care for the unborn child, fight for the rights of the elderly, yet still sanction killing?
As for Biblical wisdom . . . . Scripture scholarship has made great leaps and bounds in the last 100 years.  When we speak of ‘Gospel truth’ we have to question what that truth is? For example, many accept the Magnificat as the words of Mary when they are a re-working of old testament passages.  Since Charles Darwin, the creation of the world in 7 days has been called into question and biblical scholarship supports the view that the Genesis account is a story, albeit a theological one.
Dare I mention the details of the nativity story ? This too is considered in the same way as the Genesis account of creation, as a theological treatise, by biblical scholars.  Why then does the Church of St Mary Major in Rome publicise it’s relics of Jesus crib ? Is this an honest church?  Is this what some in the church would propagate as truth?
We need a church that is a mature church.  We need a church that promotes reality and truth.  Not a truth that excludes, but one that unites. We need a church that encourages a spiritual maturity rather than a culture of immature dependence where it’s members are expected to pray, pay and obey. Of course, no organisation is going to be all things to all people.
Jesus subjected himself to the Cross.  The church, in its wisdom, appears not to subject itself to anything, let alone accept it’s own immolation as Jesus did.  Let’s not forget, Jesus is the son of God – God incarnate, Immanuel – God with us. It appears that the Church values ‘tradition, over and above the teaching of it’s Saviour.
So what of the future ? It will be in God’s hands. God has no hands on earth but ours, as St Theresa of Avila said. God calls us all to love.  Was God waiting throughout all of history and pre history for the ‘exclusive’ hands of the Roman Catholic church ?  I think not.


Bishop Terry Flynn said...

So right Father, the Gospel message of love is lost the moment we start to regulate and set any form of limit to that love. Exclusion is the tool of the weak and insecure. Understanding of the other, the different, is based in being truly humble in our self knowledge. Jesus judged none because he truly understood his father's love for all.

Anonymous said...

Where does the church sanction killing?

Anonymous said...

Sure, I accept that Our Father loves all his creation, but does this mean we must endure same sex marriages in his church?

Contemplative Catholic said...

The Catechism of the CC 'sanctions' just war [2302-2317] and execution
[2258–2330]. How can the church 'endure' killing, yet not accept same sex marriage, where two people wish to make a life long commitment of love to one another ?