Popedom

I held this in for as long as I could.

However, I am now to the point of anger about the praises the new pope is getting for his one-liner headlines. I am saddened that people are grabbing at those sound bites without further reading or at least asking a few questions.

I guess it’s what people want to hear. And I guess the Vatican did a great job choosing a pope from a country near where the World Youth Day was held. Hmmm. . .isn’t that a co-incidence. . .long in the making?

Here’s my take and my take only.

Pope Benedict was a disaster for the Roman Catholic Church. They thought rigidness in the “old time” ways would keep people in the pews, in their comfort zone, and feeling safe. What they didn’t realize was that the world moved on since Vatican II along with many Roman Catholics. The pews were emptying out and so were the coffers.

So the Vatican, probably, conceded that it must step into the 21st century. They probably hired consultants to show them the ropes of the media and what people want to hear through sound bites and headlines because that’s how people hear their news and make their decisions today. They probably had secret focus groups, too.

They probably paid lots of money because they found a Jesuit who is, probably, a good and loving soul with a sense of humor. Most of the Jesuits I know and respect are that way. They care and strive for social justice. These must have been the buzzwords the consultants told the Vatican to focus on.

And, the Vatican must have gotten to work in finding that man…years in the making. They found him. They placed a future World Youth Day near where they found him.

Then the time came to take that courageous step that would “prove” to the world that the Roman Catholic Church was changing. They would relieve the current pope, something that had never been done in the history of popedom, and get a new one. And it paid off. They chose the perfect guy. These probable consultants were very deft in their job.

People are gullible and lazy and fearful. Especially Roman Catholics, because we are conditioned at a very early age to believe and do what we are told and to ask no questions, or else. It’s easier that way.

I expect that the general population that has no background in Roman Catholicism or “good” Roman Catholics to bite the carrot. But it saddens me that so many of my intelligent and worldly friends have fallen for the press hype.

The Roman Catholic Church is not changing. I say this not against the pope himself, necessarily, because I really don’t know who he is. But I believe the Vatican is using his gifts splendidly.  He is quieting the voices pleading for compassion and social justice. But he is doing nothing to change the bottom line.

That is my take.

The recent headline is the most disturbing yet. And it doesn’t even hint at the second bombshell.

“Who am I to judge a gay person of goodwill who seeks the Lord?”

If you read the entire article, you will see that he was referring only to celibate priests that have recanted their “sin.” Now that they are celibate and have recanted, their sin can be forgiven and forgotten. That’s to what the one-liner is referring. Nothing has or will change in regard to accepting LGTBs fully into the church.

The second bombshell was the firm affirmation that the door has been closed to the idea of women sharing their love and gifts in the priesthood. But rest assured, women of Christ, the men are taking good care of us by developing a “theology of women” especially for us.

I was a Roman Catholic for fifty-six years. For the last forty or so, I kept up hope that the Roman Church would keep moving forward with what Vatican II began.

I never lost hope that it would accept women as equals and welcome them into the priesthood. I know that Jesus would see our LGTB sisters and brothers just as people he loves and should be given the equal opportunity to share that love within their church. Why shouldn’t priests be allowed to marry? Divorce? Contraceptives? Compassion.

I never lost hope until I couldn’t look the other way any longer.

From the lectern one Sunday morning, the pastor moved gravely to the microphone wearing a sad face, shaking his head, and clicking his tongue sharing that it wasn’t fair for the press to “air the church’s dirty laundry in public.”

Next,he asked us to give another percentage of my income, above and beyond the weekly offering and above and beyond the Archbishop’s yearly extra percentage request, for upgrades to the local seminary. We were assured the funds would be put into a completely separate fund out of the diocese hands. The money would stand-alone and only be used by and for the seminary.

And why is that?

My take on it, and only my take, is that it is because the Roman Catholic Church is being sued across the world for the heinous actions of their well-hidden and still protected pedophiles. The Roman Catholic Church will not accept any blame, offer any apologies, and is spending its time and money moving as much of its wealth as possible. For when the inevitable lawsuits happen, some of their money will remain safe. I wonder how many consultants have been hired for this process, too?

Read the full articles, my friends. Listen to the entire speeches. Search for news about the day-to-day decisions being made behind closed doors of the Vatican that don’t make for good press sound bites. You don’t have to read between the lines. It’s there in black and white.

Women will never be priests in the Roman Catholic Church. But they will give us the benefit of the doubt with our own, separate, male-guided and approved  “theology of women.” I wonder what Jesus would say about that? Did he have his own theology for men and a separate one for women? Of course, the nuns will have to fall into step behind a male bishop who will allow the religious women to clean up after him. Oh, and pray for others, of course.

Gay people will be “sinners” in the eyes of the Roman Catholic Church. Only if they repent from their “sin” and never do it again, then they will deserve to be welcomed at the table.

And the Roman Catholic Church’s dirty laundry will be kept well hidden within the Vatican, because for them, it is no one else’s business.

I guess I should mind my own business.

I stepped away about a year ago from the Roman Catholic Church. I found a world of wonderful people in the Ecumenical Catholic Communion who worship God and Jesus the way I understand.

What is the best part of this moving on?

I am learning to release that Roman Catholic guilt from all aspects of my life. It’s hard. It’s well established. It’s what I’ve held onto for over fifty years to prove that I believed in God.

But I now ask myself, why did I ever want to hold onto a god that is constructed by power hungry men? A god that has little compassion and keeps people away from the table by using it as a reward for “good behavior”? A god who sees women as peons and not as important as men? A god who looks the other way when the church doesn’t share its outrageous wealth while his children go hungry and homeless.

That is not the god in which I believe. I’m pretty sure I never believed in that god anyway. I grasped the comfort of guilt because I was made to believe that I was a sinner and never good enough. But I was promised that if I worked hard, followed the rules, and was truly sorry for all the horrible things I do, I would be loved by god.

I am learning to believe that when I look in the mirror I now see God who is within. Not a male, because I am not a male. I see compassion peeking out wanting to spread through me to the rest of the world. I see laughter and joy and an unbridled wealth of sharing. Hard work, too. It’s not all unicorns and rainbows. There is a lot of hard work to be done.

But it’s there, inside of me. I am breaking down that solid wall of rules and regulations of “salvation” that began construction on the day water was poured over my head.

It’s a thick, unforgiving wall.

And I will smash it to pieces to let the love of God shine through me.

4 thoughts on “Popedom

  1. I read many articles on this and I do see a HUGE difference! The Roman church has taken the, admittedly, small step from denying homosexuals ANY role in the church to accepting that they can be sincere seekers after God Progress must start somewhere, why not here?
    Also, judging from the reaction from others in the Vatican, I do not think this was orchestrated at all.

    • Thank you, Kathleen for your heartfelt response. I agree with you that progress, in any small amount, is a good thing. It would be wonderful, if one day, the Roman Catholic Church would accept everyone.

  2. Hi Lexanne, I looked for you at mass today to congratulate you on this posting which so mirrors my own feelings and history. You must have gone to Celtic Mass last night. Thank you for putting into words (beautiful, heart-felt words) the thoughts of so many of us former Roman Catholics but still, thank God, devoted Catholics. I must admit a small part of me still hopes that Pope Francis can rise above the rigid inflexibility of the RRC. May the Holy Spirit inspire him.

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