Benedict’s Resignation Offers A Chance For New Beginnings

By Donald A. Collins | 11 February 2013
Church and State

(Credit: YouTube / screengrab)

If a corporate CEO with his record of managing this major entity had resigned, it might make a small news item in the Wall Street Journal.

However, not so in this case, not only because this is first papal resignation since 1415. Pope Benedict’s announcement on Monday, February 11, 2013 was a surprise, since most Popes die in office. He will step down at the end of this month.

Thus, the usual gathering of Cardinals will commence afterwards and the story will of course have legs, since the faithful must surely be pining for a less doctrinaire successor.

Catholics for Choice has just released a powerful denouement of the Catholic hierarchy in a video which airs the views of outstanding liberal voices such as Professor Daniel C. Maguire of Marquette University, (S.T.D., Gregorian University, Rome, 1969), [Systematics/Ethics], who “specializes in religious ethics focusing upon issues of social justice and medical and ecological ethics. He is the author of eleven books and the editor of three anthologies. Recent books: Sacred Rights: The Case for Contraception and Abortion in World Religions, (Oxford University Press, 2003); and Sacred Energies: When the World’s Religions Sit Down to Talk about the Future of Human Life and the Plight of this Planet, (Fortress Press, 2000). He is also the author of some 200 articles in professional journals and magazines, including Theological Studies, Cross Currents, Atlantic, The New York Times, Crisis: Journal of the NAACP, and Ms. Magazine.” Don’t miss this; see the video at the end of this article.

After watching Maguire and his associates cover the RC hierarchies views on all the controversial subjects, one wonders why there have not been more resignations by the RCC laity.

The Guardian’s John Hooper has offered a precis of Benedict’s tenure, which would give any observer a full understanding of why he might have chosen to depart ahead of schedule.

Pope Benedict’s resignation brings end to paradoxical papacy
Messages the former Joseph Ratzinger hoped to convey were all but drowned out by string of controversies

Pope Benedict XVI’s abrupt resignation on Monday heralds the end of a sad and storm-tossed eight-year papacy.

The former Joseph Ratzinger came to the highest office in the Roman Catholic church with a reputation as a challenging, conservative intellectual. But the messages he sought to convey were all but drowned out, first by a string of controversies that were largely of his own making, and subsequently by the outcry – particularly in Europe – over sexual abuse of young people by Catholic clerics.

Ratzinger had spent almost a quarter of a century in the Vatican, so it was reasonable for the cardinals who elected him to assume he understood it inside out, and would be keen to improve its workings. But, although he had been an influential and trusted lieutenant of John Paul II, the new German pope was a paradox.

On the one hand, he was intellectually remorseless. Not for nothing had he attracted the nickname “God’s rottweiler”. Yet, like many scholars, he was timid – wholly lacking in that desk-thumping vigour needed to foist reforms on clerics whose resistance to change is the stuff of legend.

As Maguire and his colleagues so eloquently advise, there are many ways to be a Catholic, many views on these controversial subjects, which can be held by “good” Catholics without any guilt, including the right to choose abortion, a same sex partner, or the right to enjoy sex without the need to procreate, since any contraceptive method couples choose, in or out of wedlock, should be ok to use to prevent a pregnancy or avoid HIV/AIDS. Gee, maybe Benedict’s successor will finally “get it” on such issues especially his rules about birth control which nearly all his laity ignore! Don’t hold your breath.

Former US Navy officer, banker and venture capitalist, Donald A. Collins, a free lance writer living in Washington, DC., has spent over 40 years working for women’s reproductive health as a board member and/or officer of numerous family planning organizations including Planned Parenthood Federation of America, Guttmacher Institute, Family Health International and Ipas. Yale under graduate, NYU MBA. He is the author of From the Dissident Left: A Collection of Essays 2004-2013.

From the Dissident Left: A Collection of Essays 2004-2013

By Donald A. Collins
Publisher: Church and State Press (July 30, 2014)
Kindle Store

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