Should People and Governments Shun the Totalitarian Catholic Church?

    By David Morris | 5 January 2012
    AlterNet

    When a totalitarian regime aids and abets the rape of tens of thousands of children one would expect it to be shunned by governments and citizens alike. And any statements it might issue on matters of morality accorded no respect.

    Why should we make an exception when the regime is the Catholic Church?

    That the Roman Catholic Church is totalitarian is undeniable. Church law itself makes this clear. Canon 331 declares the Pope “the head of the college of bishops, the Vicar of Christ, and the pastor of the universal Church on earth. By virtue of his office he possesses supreme, full, immediate, and universal ordinary power in the Church, which he is always able to exercise freely.”

    Canon 333 emphasizes the remarkable power this institution endows in one man, “No appeal or recourse is permitted against a sentence or decree of the Roman Pontiff​.”

    And whenever the Pope chooses he can issue decrees related to faith and morals that not only have the power of law but must be considered irrefutable, at least since 1870 when the Church declared the Pope “possessed of that infallibility with which the Divine Redeemer wished His Church to be endowed.”

    The entire hierarchy of the Catholic Church is at the mercy of the Pope. He appoints bishops and can impose his directives on the lowliest priests and nuns.

    I hasten to note that the Church was not always totalitarian. The first Christian communities were remarkably democratic. For at least the first 100 years after Jesus Christ​ was killed, during the time Matthew and Luke and John and Mark wrote the Gospels, women (yes, women) as well as men directly elected church leaders. But that was before a new religion metastasized into the world’s most powerful, centralized and enduring institution.

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