Tuesday, April 19, 2005

More thoughts on the Pope

Now that I’ve had more time to think about it, I’m still just devastated by the news of the Pope. I heard a great thought a little while ago: shouldn’t it take more thought to elect the next Catholic leader than can be provided in the space of two days?

NPR just mentioned that Ratzinger is the one who upbraided Archbishop Hunthausen 20 years ago for daring to welcome gays and lesbians into our church. Great.

If there’s one thing the Church has done well in recent years, it lies in its efforts to reach out to other faiths, as John Paul II did with Muslims, Jews and other Christians. Now, according to ABC news, we get the guy who “blocked German Catholics from sharing communion with their Lutheran brethren at a joint gathering in 2003.”

He has been a serious roadblock in the wake of the sex abuse allegations: Ratzinger doesn’t believe the problem is endemic within the church, nor does he seem to feel that our rigid rules have anything to do with what happened. Notes the Boston Herald: “He tends to regard the abuse crisis as a result of the decadence of American society seeping into the seminaries and into the clergy, with the understanding that the American press exaggerates it because it's interested in sensationalism and titillation,'' said Stephen Pope, chairman of the theology department at Jesuit-run Boston College.

The Seattle Times found nervous Catholics at Seattle University, the college where I spent two years. Today’s article quotes Father Mike, an incredible Jesuit who I respect and love:

For Father Michael Bayard, a priest who performs ministry on the campus of the Jesuit university, the selection of Ratzinger "in some ways feels like a step backwards" for the church, especially given Ratzinger's earlier pronouncements against women in the church and homosexuality. But a friend provided comforting words, Bayard said, reminding him "we are a people of hope."

"We're people of faith and we have to trust this is the right choice," he said, "so let's give him the benefit of the doubt."

As a woman, I don’t think I can do that. I feel very alone right now, like my Catholic sisters and I have been left out in the streets while our brothers are invited inside the Church to celebrate. What happens now? Will Ratzinger continue to tell Africans that condoms can’t prevent the transmission of AIDs? Will he crack down on Jesuits like my friends at Seattle U, who are the only reasons I still cling to the faith today?

Supposedly, people are celebrating tonight. So why do I feel like I’m in a permanent state of mourning?


John said...

Keep the faith.

His time may not bring change, but change will occure.

and, thanks for visiting

Meg said...

Thanks, John. I appreciate your comments. You have a good point - one I'll try to keep in mind as the days pass.