After Pope Benedict’s resignation, everyone around the world was glued into the Vatican on 3/13/13 – a mystical kind of number ushering in a mystical carnivalesque kind of celebration, and a seemingly new beginning bringing together the past and the future with social media hashtags of #Whitesmoke and #Vatican trending into a new era of what will become of the Catholic Church. Well the white smoke came and left and I guess history has been made with a new Pope born in Latin America of Italian descent- hailing from Argentina- arguably the most European nation of Latin America. The other perhaps true history that has been made is that Pope Francis I is of the Jesuit order AKA The Society of Jesus AKA God’s Marines; Yes for those who don’t know there are different factions and wings of Catholicism as there are amongst Islam and other faiths – it seems we can’t even find unification within religions said to worship one God as Catholics debate how Jesuits with their long contentious relationship within the Catholic Church had finally gotten the control of the church that they had always wanted. Excuse my cynicism in not seeing this as much more than a symbolic gesture of a history making moment in a carefully played appeasement of giving the world the idea of change it hoped for while giving the Jesuit order the change it struggled for without shaking up too much of the look, foundation and inner workings of the church where “#WhiteSmoke” seems to have ushered in the same ol same ol, as we all just try to keep calm and carry on in welcoming Pope Francis I – hoping that by the grace of God maybe change may come in his mortal image.
The Catholic Church’s new Pope took the name Francis after the great Rebuilder ; yet will there really be real change in the re-building efforts of the Catholic Church or just a restructuring of the same ol same ol with less fancy Pradaesque shoes? The Church in of itself has become a multi-billion dollar corporation charged with tax evasion and money laundering allegations with so much pomp and circumstance, fancy regalia and extravagant pageantry that it is hard to continue to associate it with the poverty and servitude of Jesus Christ. Can there ever be change in the Catholic Church as we know it when so much of its leadership are rotten to the core in being so disconnected with the reality of humanity and the real world as we know it today? As Pope Francis I is set to tackle the many issues that have brought down the number of worshipers in the Catholic Church in the western world, where most of these issues such as homosexuality, pedophilia, contraception, the role of women in the church and other issues that have garnered media headlines, national protests and condemnation against the church; there are still those church leaders like Cardinal Wilfrid Fox Napier, the Catholic Archbishop of Durban,South Africa making international headlines by making statements like “From my experience, pedophilia is actually an illness. It’s not a criminal condition, it’s an illness,”.
Do Catholics around the world really realize what they are condoning & paying tides to, or better yet do they care enough to change the system and culture? You can’t keep saying it’s not ALL and these are isolated incidents when there are so many and when the establishment continues to harbor what most of the world sees as criminal behavior because they refuse to recognize that priests are no higher in their humanity than the flock they preach to, and putting them above the laws that we as mortals must abide by is catamount to worshipping false idols- which according to the church’s teachings is a No No! The saying says 1 bad apple does not spoil the whole bunch, but when there’s a whole bunch of bad apples in the patch being sold to the masses, then one must recognize that there is something gravely wrong with the crop and soil that it is growing from. Pope Francis I took the name of St. Francis of Assisi , his fellow Italian who was bestowed with rebuilding the church and deference to the poor– all of which Pope Francis I seems to have made his cause, either by divine order or by self-imposed will of his new era of papacy in declaring that he would like to see a Church of the poor for the poor.
Before Pope Francis I can attempt to say he will rebuild the church, let alone do what it takes to rebuild the Catholic church from recent shame to new glory, he and the church as a whole including its followers must first address the uncomfortable truths of the church. How can one build on a foundation that remains rotten and continues to deteriorate without first removing that which has rotted? How can one speak of the future when one does not protect those who will take over in the future? Catholics worldwide are complicit in their blind servitude that refuses to face the uncomfortable truth which has plagued the institution of the Catholic Church for centuries in being accomplices to what in the secular world is seen as criminal behavior of many kinds or just not using their pulpit to speak up against it. It seems far too many Catholics are more in interested in or have an inalianable desire to protect an institutional structure more so than the word, healing and teachings of God! As believers and of observers of all faiths, we must all examine and take full inventory and ownership of all that accumulates into the foundation of our faith because as we all head for judgement day -as the great Audre Lorde said “Your silence will not protect you“!
“Napier said he knew of at least two priests who became pedophiles after they were abused as children…. “Now don’t tell me that those people are criminally responsible like somebody who chooses to do something like that. I don’t think you can really take the position and say that person deserves to be punished. He was himself damaged.”… The Catholic Church has had its image deeply tarnished by a widespread child sex abuse scandal… Napier was one of the 115 cardinals in the Vatican conclave that elected Pope Francis on Wednesday, the BBC reported… The first non-European pope in nearly 1,300 years, Francis has signaled a sharp change of style from his predecessor, Benedict, for the 1.2-billion-member Church, which is beset by scandals, intrigue and strife… He said on Saturday the church should be poor and remember that its mission is to serve the poor.” READ MORE