Monday, February 11, 2013

Quote of the Day

. . . [T]here’s something in Benedict’s resignation statement that bears noting: “After having repeatedly examined my conscience before God, I have come to the certainty that my strengths, due to an advanced age, are no longer suited to an adequate exercise of the Petrine ministry.”

Conscience, Benedict reminds us today, is still primary for Catholics. Examination of conscience: that is just the formula millions of us use to explain why we use birth control, enjoy our sexuality in a variety of ways, and see enormous good in other religious traditions. Conscience is the ultimate arbiter, and the Pope relied on his. Good on him, and good on the rest of us.

There has been a lot of fudging on the matter of conscience in recent decades. The post-Vatican II hierarchy has claimed that conscience is primary if, and only if, it is informed as they see fit. But Pope Benedict XVI is giving conscience a new lease on life. What’s good for the goose is good for the gander — the appeal to conscience cannot be denied now that the Pope himself has had recourse to it.

. . . [R]ank and file Catholics want a new Church, not just a new pope.

We know that change is in the air because we put it there. Progressive Catholics all over the world are creating new forms of church since the old is so thoroughly discredited. No institution can withstand the onslaught of negative publicity that the Vatican earned over clergy sexual abuse and episcopal cover-ups without major changes. No hierarchy however fortified can hold out forever against spirit-filled steps toward equality and justice. This time, just electing a new pope will not do. Nor will closeting away a group of elite electors responsible to no one but themselves cut it for an election process.

Catholic people have consciences too. We expect to have a say in how we organize and govern ourselves. We cannot in conscience abdicate our authority to 118 mostly elderly men. Those days are over. If a pope can abdicate before he goes out feet first without the sky falling in then new egalitarian models of church can and will emerge too.

– Mary E. Hunt
"Papal Retirement: A Matter of Conscience"
Religion Dispatches
February 11, 2013

Related Off-site Links:
Pope's Sudden Resignation Sends Shockwaves Through Church – Philip Pullella (Reuters via Yahoo! News, February 11, 2013).
Pope's Resignation: Reactions Around the World – Kate Connolly, Giles Tremlett, Jonathan Watts, David Smith and Kate Hodal (The Guardian, February 11, 2013).
A Truly Historic Announcement – Colleen Kochivar-Baker (Enlightened Catholicism, February 11, 2013).
Pope Benedict to Resign at the End of the Month – John L. Allen Jr. (National Catholic Reporter, February 11, 2013).
Speculation Swirls Around Pope's Sudden Resignation – Meredith Bennett-Smith (The Huffington Post, February 11, 2013).
Benedict's Painful Legacy – Elizabeth Drescher (Religion Dispatches, February 11, 2013).
Pope's Mission to Revive Faith Clouded by Scandal – Nicole Winfield (Associated Press via Yahoo! News, February 11, 2013).
The Resignation of Pope Benedict XVI: Is It Health? Or Politics? Or Both? – Howard Chua-Eoan (Time, February 11, 2013).
Benedict's Resignation: Thanks Owed to Survivors of Childhood Clerical Abuse for Call to Build a Better Church – William D. Lindsey (Bilgrimage, February 11, 2013).
New Ways Ministry on the Resignation of Benedict XVI – Francis DeBernardo (Bondings 2.0, February 11, 2013).
Gay Catholics Respond to Pope's Impending Resignation – DignityUSA (February 11, 2013).
Let an Inclusive Church Rise! – WATER's Statement on the Resignation of Pope Benedict XVI – Women's Alliance of Theology, Ethics, and Ritual (February 11, 2013).
Voice of the Faithful Prays for Pope and a Renewed Church as Benedict XVI Steps Down – Voice of the Faithful (February 11, 2013).
Call to Action Responds to Pope's Resignation – Call to Action (February 11, 2013).
Catholics United Statement on Pope Benedict XVI’s Announcement of Resignation – Catholics United (February 11, 2013).
Benedict's Resignation: A Selection of Commentary as Day Continues – William D. Lindsey (Bilgrimage, February 11, 2013).
How Will the Church Handle a Living Ex-Pope? – Nick Squires (The Christian Science Monitor via Yahoo! News, February 11, 2013).
The Next Pope – Jayden Cameron (Gay Mystic, February 11, 2013).

Why Resignation May Mean a Conclave Open to Change – John Allen, Jr. (The National Catholic Reporter, February 13, 2013).
American Nuns Hope For Sister-Friendly New Pope – Barbie Latza Nadeau (The Daily Beast, February 13, 2013).
A Pro-Gay Catholic Church Leader? Don't Get Your Popes Up – Corinne Pinfold (Pink News, February 11, 2013).
Benedict’s Embattled Legacy on LGBT Issues – Bob Shine (Bondings 2.0, February 13, 2013).
The Disastrous Influence of Pope Benedict XVI – John Cassidy (The New Yorker, February 12, 2013).
New Pope? I've Given Up Hope – Garry Wills (New York Times, February 12, 2013).
Cardinal Peter Turkson, Possible Pope Successor, Has Defended Legislation Like Uganda's 'Kill The Gays' Bill – Cavan Sieczkowski (The Huffington Post, February 13, 2013).
La Sorpresa: The Papal Resignation, in the Latin American Eye – Mary Jo McConahay (On Being, February 14, 2013).
Pope Benedict's Most Powerful Gift to the Church – Joan Chittister, OSB (The Huffington Post, February 15, 2013).
Vatican Feuds, Fiefdoms, Betrayals Await Next Pope – Nicole Winfield (Associated Press via Tahoo! News, February 21, 2013).


Unknown said...

I heard an interesting perspective today. The reason that Pontiffs have died before resignation has been a reflection of "bearing the cross" of infirmity by example. The Pope, according to my friend's account, could have set an example to Catholics by remaining in his position.

Now, with a new Pope on the horizon, the speculation is huge. I think that it's really about the personality of the men, who know each other, and not about nationality. The church might opt for someone young and energetic.

The youngest cardinal is from India, and is a Syro-Malankara, a special form of orthodox Catholic. While an unlikely candidate for Pope, it would be a real move toward Eastern and Western reunification to name him. Another newcomer and possible candidate who is relatively young and charismatic is Cardinal Luis Antonio Gokim Tagle, from Indonesia. Like John Paul, he's conservative and yet has great personal appeal. He served under Ratzinger on the International Theological Commission. I think he would be a good choice for Pope. He has two TV shows and a Facebook presence. In any case, my two cents' worth.

crystal said...

Thanks for the comment :)