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In Summoning the Bishops to Address the Sexual-Abuse Crisis, Is Pope Francis Again Missing the Point? | The New Yorker
"After the Council ended, in December of 1965, a full rollback of the reforming impulse was quickly launched. The laity were never meaningfully empowered. The clerical culture was protected. The natural pluralism of theological inquiry was stifled. Women were kept in their place. Perhaps most symbolically, in 1968, Pope Paul condemned the use of birth control among Catholics. The centralized authority of the papacy became stronger than ever. The avatars of this conservative reaction were John Paul II and his enforcer, Joseph Ratzinger, who became Benedict XVI, but the agents of backlash, shaping Catholic attitudes for the past generation, have been the very bishops whom Pope Francis has now summoned to Rome. Even the so-called liberals in the hierarchy would not have been promoted if they had not readily accommodated Ratzinger’s squelching of reform.

One wishes that, in this critical hour, the Church could turn to a cohort of independent-minded Catholic lay people, women and men alike, who have experience in Church administration at the senior-most levels, but there is no such cohort. A devoted legion of volunteers serve the Church, but they exercise no meaningful authority. If the promise of the Vatican Council had been even minimally fulfilled, this would not be the case. Abusive priests would not have been blithely set loose, and the enabling bishops would not have been able to absolve them—or themselves.

It once seemed certain that Pope Francis, grounded in the spirit of Vatican II and possessing an ample trove of common sense, was equipped to lead the Catholic Church in its recovery from this disaster. Two things have dimmed that prospect. The first is Francis himself. He is woefully in the grip of male-dominated, celibate clericalism, even though he criticizes it. He still puts his trust in gestures of good will and in bromides of shame, as he did last month, on his trip to Ireland, instead of launching the massive institutional reform that the crisis demands. He seems to think that a meeting of bishops is a solution when, as a class, they are themselves the problem. And, apparently, he regards next February as a timely response to a bankruptcy that has already been declared.

The second factor is the recent accumulation of new evidence showing that the depth of Church corruption wildly surpasses any previous estimate. Every week brings a new bolt of accusation. Last week, the Pope accepted the resignation of Bishop Michael J. Bransfield, of West Virginia, amid allegations that he had sexually harassed adults (he has denied allegations against him), and the news that a report to be issued by the Church this week will reveal that more than three thousand minors were abused by more than a thousand priests in Germany. On Saturday, a Dutch newspaper investigation found that, between 1945 and 2010, more than half of the bishops and cardinals of the Netherlands had protected priest abusers instead of victims.

This cascade of accusation, revelation, and indictment will keep flowing. That Pope Francis responds with a business-as-usual meeting of bishops next winter shows how far he is from grasping the stakes of this crisis. His enemies exploit it, while Catholics and non-Catholics alike recognize the utter collapse of Church morality."
stfrancis  religion  populism 
8 hours ago by corrales
Lost Highway by Brian Phillips | MTV News
Paranoia is skepticism taken to the point where it becomes faith. In the same way, the alien trope takes 20th-century scientism to the point where it becomes mystical. [...]

Spend enough time with these questions and you end up feeling like Augustine, who wrote of God and heavenly creatures that "they neither are nor are not in existence."

Or almost. Looking back at that quote, I realize I have it backward. It's God, in Augustine's formulation, who is entirely in existence. (Of course it is.) It's what isn't God — our world, our rooms, our memories, our faces — that both is there and also is not. What's real and also not? A dream, right? Augustine isn't saying that God is like a dream we're having. He's saying the opposite. He's saying we're the dream, not the dreamer. He's talking about us.
culture  religion  paranormal 
16 hours ago by joelcuth18
Eminem and Gandhi Are Right
The 45th annual March for Life in Washington arrives on the heels of one more Pew survey about declining faith—this latest indicating that only 4-in-10 Millennials think of Christmas as a religious holiday. All of which raises a new question for those gathering on the Mall in what P.J. O’Rourke has rightly described as the only selfless demonstration that regularly assembles there: If fewer and fewer younger people are going to church, will the pro-life cause itself eventually wither and die?Panglossian though it may seem, I believe the answer is “no.” Consider as opening witnesses for defense of that proposition two unlikely bedfellows: long-reigning bad-boy rap superstar, Marshall Mathers; and world-beating non-Christian apostle of nonviolence, Mahatma Gandhi.Contrary to common impression, the world’s greatest apostle of nonviolence was no man of the social left.Gandhi remains true to the principle of anti-violence. “The essence of goodness is: to preserve life, promote life, help life to achieve its highest destiny,” he tells the husband. “The essence of evil is: destroy life, harm life, and hamper the development of life. . . . It seems to me as clear as daylight that abortion would be a crime.”
music  icons  ideas  faith  religion  activists 
21 hours ago by thomas.kochi
Indian government criminalizes instant Triple Talaq, the practice where a Muslim man can divorce his wife on the spot by saying talaq, talaq, talaq
India News: The Union Cabinet on Wednesday cleared the ordinance on triple talaq on Wednesday making it an punishable offence. The government had earlier failed t
governmentIncompetence  religion  win 
23 hours ago by joeybaker
A ‘third way’ of looking at religion
Unthinkable: Two dead philosophers could provide the key to a more mature debate on faith
philosophy  Religion  ethics 
yesterday by basemaly

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