Goodbye, Benedict

I’m not a hater, although I wasn’t a fan.

I think it was wise and generous for him to resign.   We need not always stay in roles that we have taekn on.  Sometimes if we stay to long the office becomes the person and vice versa.  There is wisdom in avoiding that, if only to let our organizations reorganize and find ways to change.

I do believe Benedict was misinterpreted.  Sometimes his arguments, I suspect, were much more nuanced than could be articulated in the media.  Still, I share the sentiments of plenty of Episcopalians, Anglicans and Catholics that the institutional response of the church toward clerical abuse was inadequate, and it points to a larger tone-deafness of a hierarchy that seems far too distant from the concerns of the people.

I remain fascinated.  In my mind, the Roman Catholic church remains the only institution with the capabilities to challenge the onslaught of market forces internationally.  It is the main international organization that engages regularly with the most wretched of the earth.  By and large, it is controlled locally, rather than by the many aid organizations populated with prosperous Americans from Ivy League Schools participating in charity tourism.

Although many people have noted that John Paul II and Benedict have appointed all the current cardinals, I think it is too strong to assume that the individual bishops do not think independently.  Oscar Romero was a bishop who was considered conservative and meek – and he became one of the greatest proponents of liberation theology.  We do not know where the spirit will take the church.  We can still hope for openness.

Granted, in my darker moments I share the view of the reformers that the Roman church is a nest of vipers and finally beholden to the anti-Christ.  But then I remember that it is also a human body; and however imperfect it has many parts and many roles.  It has hospitals and schools all over the globe; and although it is run by men, it has schools for girls and women in places where there had been none.  It does its own work, without armies, across nations.  And I believe it has also formed plenty of faithful Episcopalians.

I still consider myself a catholic, in its reformed and humanist tradition, and wish the best for the Roman tree, and for Benedict.  I had hoped for more, but bless him in his quiet days.

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2 comments on “Goodbye, Benedict

  1. joeshepley says:

    “Granted, in my darker moments I share the view of the reformers that the Roman church is a nest of vipers and finally beholden to the anti-Christ.” — Brilliant! You would make the elder Martin Luther proud, despite the fact that nowhere in this post (or anywhere else that I can find) sdo you mention the fact that the Pope presides over Satan’s own earthly cloaca.

    And the fact that you paired this snarky, low-blow hit against the one holy and apostolic Church with an amazingly insightfult analysis of the challenges that the Church faces in 2013 is only yet another testament to your great wisdom and perspicuity–go on with your bad self, Papa G!

    With much love,

    Dr. J

    • joeshepley says:

      And accept my apologies for the typos in my comments: I thought I would have a chance to preview…or at least edit, but no dice. So my grammatical infelicities shall stand, for all the world to see–so be it!

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