Wednesday, February 13, 2013
Because You Haven't Heard Enough About the Pope
I know my parents love me very much. We have a great relationship and I am very thankful that the odds were in my favor when I was born to them. However, they have never been very good at the mushy stuff and procrastinate about it until the very last minute. One example of this is the letter my father wrote me for my confirmation preparation. He referenced waiting for a new pope and the man hadn't even been dead for a week.
Our retreat that prepared us for our confirmation was the week John Paul II died. I was 15 and I was just seeing my doubts become cemented as confirmation drew closer. Like many other young people JPII had been the only pope we had known in our lives and we didn't know any other way for the church to present itself. Child abuse allegations were really beginning to snowball, but the extent of the cover ups was still a ways off.
In his letter my father described the Catholic church as a living body that changes and adapts to what happens to it, and in a way he is right. I see now that each pope paints the church a different way. John Paul II had a way to get people to respect and be positive about aspects of the church even if they disagreed. We know now that a lot of it was a steaming pile of shit, but the man was pretty good at public relations.
In 8 years Benedict XVI has managed to completely destroy any residual good feelings people may have had for the Catholic church. He has revealed the church for what it really is: a child abusing, criminal protecting, social justice preventing, death aiding institution based on the hateful myths of desert dwelling thugs. I'm not sure it's damage that can be reversed even if they picked the most liberal pope out there. People are catching onto them now, and I know I am not the only young former Catholic who felt the election of Benedict was a strong force in their deconversion.
I will watch the selection of a new pope with interest. How it plays out is going to impact the path of not only the church but of secular organizations. A conservative pope that pushes the anti-gay, anti-condom, cover up child abuse agenda is going to chip away at the faith of many. There will be those that cling to the hardcore or cultural catholic angle, but I don't see numbers or donations to the church headed in a good direction. A more liberal pope, while not shaking people's foundations so hard, will hopefully still make people question how the church can justify swinging different directions so quickly.
I'll end with a video from CNN I found rather interesting and highlights many of Benedict's mistakes (not that I find the breaking of faith a bad thing ;P)