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 POLL: Given the Catholic Church's insularity and intolerance, is there any hope for a reformer as pope?

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Given the Catholic Church's insularity and intolerance, is there any hope for a reformer as pope?
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PostSubject: POLL: Given the Catholic Church's insularity and intolerance, is there any hope for a reformer as pope?   Fri Mar 08, 2013 9:38 pm



It was so like the Curia: distressed by leaks to the Italian press from Italian cardinals about the machinations of electing a new pope, the hierarchy muzzled the Americans. U.S. cardinals were ordered to stop holding press conferences every day, in which no secrets were revealed, but prelates at least talked openly about the needs of the church. Simultaneously, Vatican insiders were alleged to be cassock-rushing the conclave with the aim of holding on to both the papacy and their own power. Cardinals not permanently ensconced in Rome were pushing for more time to take a broader measure of each other.

I hope that when the cardinals finally enter the Sistine Chapel to choose a successor to Benedict XVI, they will comprehend that nothing so became his papacy as the manner of leaving it. I’m not referring to the helicopter that whisked him away—an image so at odds with his richly venerable Renaissance appearance after he took the Medici vestments out of 16th-century mothballs. At least the Pope, with a measure of genuine humility, at the end affirmed that the papal office is just that—-the position, not a person anointed permanently through debility and even unto death. It was the most striking, uncharacteristically progressive decision of his reign.

Otherwise, Benedict left the church weaker not stronger, more remote from the people in the pews, frayed at the center, in decline in the heartlands of Europe and North America, and languishing even in the most Catholic all continents, South America. The decline is the consequence of Benedict’s rule and the decades-long dominance of his predecessor, John Paul II, whose genius in communication concealed or excused his inquisitorial absolutism. The official church, the top-down governance imposed from an eyes-wide-shut Vatican, is incompetent, insular, intolerant, and in thrall to the narrowness of the two popes who have appointed every single one of the cardinals who will determine for whom the white smoke will now rise over Saint Peter’s.

The incompetence is beyond dispute. The Vatican Bank, a fount of scandal for 40 years, is being investigated for money laundering. Thanks to the pope’s butler and Lord knows who else, VatiLeaks revealed a pattern of unholy intrigue and backstabbing in the Curia, wide-ranging allegations of corruption, a back-scratching overpayment of $350,000 for a nativity scene, and a bribe to secure the burial of a Mafia operative alongside cardinals and popes. And don’t forget that this Curia let the pope go off the rails when he delivered a disastrous speech quoting a medieval Byzantine emperor’s statement that Islam brought nothing but “evil” to the world—and then when he lifted the excommunication of a Holocaust-denying schismatic bishop.

Chicago’s conservative Cardinal Francis George says that the next Pope has to “face [up to] reform of the Curia.” That verdict is widely shared among the prelates who aren’t hunkered down in a Curia that is more Roman than Catholic, a self-referential bureaucracy that is more maladroit than managerial.

An Italian journalist who follows the Vatican closely told me that “if this were any other institution, it would be out of business.” Of course, it has survived a two-millennium journey of many missteps and misdeeds. But a scriptural guarantee that it will endure is not an invitation to cling to old and failing ways—and to let God take care of the rest.

more -- http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2013/03/08/the-catholic-church-is-insular-and-intolerant.html?source=socialflow&account=thedailybeast&medium=twitter
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