I was raised Catholic. Even went to church on a regular base. Not as frequent so that I could really claim my place there, but enough to be captured by the mysticism or the rituals and traditions. In my life I recall a new pope being elected a few times. It’s normal. They usually enter their position quiet late in their career. It did however always occur strange to me that it takes a conclave to chose a new leader of the catholic Church, as they claim to be God’s representative on earth make makes the job not a job but a true calling. Which is why it took by quiet by surprise to hear that the latest Pope, Benedict XVI, decided to abdicate. Which really is just a fancy word for retirement. Though not practicing my religion, I couldn’t help thinking, how can you retire from being God’s representative on Earth? Isn’t that a calling for life? And then I learned Benedict XVI decided that he no longer felt he could fill his position due to a lack of strength of mind and body, asides for the fact that his 8 year reign is overshadowed by the many sex scandals in the Church that have surfaced. Now that is something I can respect. It seems an intelligent thing to do. If you don’t have that strength of mind and body you should not be in a leading position that allows you to wield so much power over so many followers.
But here’s what bothers me. Benedict XVI, rose to power on the wings of traditionalism and conservatism. Under his lead the Church did not move forward. On the contrary. He advocated a return to fundamental Christian values and promoted that true believe can only come through redemption. And he couldn’t leave a moment pass by without the condemnation of homosexuality and the usage of preservatives even if the latter meant a protection and a weapon against HIV/AIDS. Benedict XVI was born a normal man, named Joseph Ratzinger, who doubtless had his flaws and imperfections, like everybody else. He has strong believes and lived his life following them. So I can’t help wondering, how can a man who believes sickness is a punishment from a redemptive God, lay down his own Holy work because his health is failing him? It seems to me he more or less lost his own religion when it became convenient. And how convenient is it to live out your life in the comfort of a spectacular palace overlooking Lake Albano. I can only hope that his many followers are as disappointed in this deception as I am, or as I would be if I could still believe that religion had a true meaning in life. But I guess that is too much to ask for.
Now obviously I’m not a big fan of religion, and you can nail me to the cross for that if you want. But I do know there are many of you out there who are, and I do truly respect that. I guess that is where the shoe pinches. The lack of respect and recognition of ordinary people’s lives, wishes, needs and ways of living. –BM-
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