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Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Five Suggestions to the Cardinals: Pope Benedict XVI - Auf Wiedersehen Gott segne Sie

As Pope Benedict leaves the leadership of the Roman Catholic Church, good wishes are deserved, in German:  Auf Wiedersehen Gott segne Sie (Good bye and God Bless You).

But, the challenging work ahead is in the diverse hands of the Cardinals of the Church, who were largely (as Cardinal Dolan expressed) caught by surprise by the Pope's historic abdication or resignation, to become a living Pope Emeritus. 

Although the Cardinals are not accustomed to accepting advice, especially from women, I humbly offer five priorities they must consider.  My advice is driven by a deep regard for the Cardinals who will need all the help they can get to protect the future of the Roman Catholic Church, at this precarious time.  As Pope Benedict so eloquently stated in his farewell address, there have been times during the recent turmoil within the Church when God was sleeping.  Although the Cardinals know they must completely eliminate the sexual scandals within the church, the future really depends on evangelizing and spreading the Gospels.  

So, let's wake God up, with these five points of advice.  Cardinals must select a Church leader who is willing to prioritize the needs of the Church over the traditions of the Vatican hierarchy. 

Following is my list:

1.  Married Clergy:  Select a leader who supports married clergy- St. Peter was married and there's no reason why his 21st century successor should uphold an antiquated man made law that's preventing many faithful men from ordination to the Catholic clergy.  Moreover, many sects of Catholicism allow married clergy, including the Eastern Rite.  

St. Matthew writes about how Jesus cured St. Peter's mother in law - so, it's confirmed, the first Pope was married! (Matthew 8:14)

2.  Latin:  Mass is a priority, but the regressive Latin Mass is not.  Rather than allow conservative factions in the church to dictate about the language of the Mass, the priority should be to bring the Sacrament of the Eucharist to as many people as possible.  Speaking Latin prayers in the Mass is absolutely fine, but Roman Catholics should not be separated from the Eucharist based on how Latin is included in the Mass, versus English or any other language.  Select a new Pope who can rise above conservative Latin Mass regressive.

3. Women:  St. Mary Magdalene was a disciple of Jesus Christ.  Therefore, the new Pope must be open to supporting women who desire to pursue ordination as Deacons, authorized to administer certain sacraments and minister to the faithful.

4.  Laity control - Roman Catholics support churches and parochial schools. Nevertheless, the Bishops decide what parishes live and which schools will survive.  There was a time when Roman Catholic Churches were not always formal structures, but communities of believers.  Roman Catholic Bishops should support, rather than obstruct, faithful people who want to protect religious institutions. Rather than closing churches and schools, the new Pope must support Bishops who will work to retain churches and schools rather than closing them.  Laity must have much more control over management of parishes and schools. Sacraments are the exclusionary role of the clergy and deacons, but management should be delegated totally to the faithful laity.

5.  Politics and women's rights-  Out new Pope must stop the clergy from being involved with political candidates or parties based upon abortion, at the exclusion of all other human conditions, especially in the United States. Sociologists will correlate abortion with women who are desperate, either because of their poor socioeconomic situation or because the pregnancy may have been forced.  Therefore, the new Pope must support women's rights and the root causes of abortion, and reign in clergy who obsess about abortion as a sin.  As every Catechism explains, a sin includes the intention of the sinner, as well as the act itself. The new Pope must take a bigger view about women's rights, if the spiritual priority of evangelizing will be successful, because women are the teachers of the faith.  Women rights and health care must be understood and supported by our new Pope.

These suggestion are not rocket science and they're certainly not my original ideas. Nevertheless, the new Pope will be successful if he takes my blog advice.  Although my presumption is haughty, I know these five attributes are vitally needed in our new Pope,so I pray this blog somehow finds him. 

Of course, to Pope Benedict, "Auf Wiedersehen Gott segne Sie".

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