Wednesday, 13 February 2013

A chance to open up the Church

The brave decision of Pope Benedict to resign offers an opportunity to open up the windows of an increasingly cleric dominated Church to the wider world.
The new Pope certainly has a challenge ahead of him. He will need to address corruption in the Church, including the ongoing disgrace of child abuse. At the heart of many of these problems remain the unaccountable structures of Church which need to change for the 21st century.
The hierarchical structure of the Church needs to be democratised, with above all clergy being made accountable to laity.
The hope must be that the new Pope turns out to be in the likeness of the great reforming Pope John XXIII, who opened the windows of the Church to the world and set in train the reforming Second Vatican Council. Indeed, the crisis at the moment is so great that the commencing of Vatican III may well be required if the Church is ever to get back on the right path
13/2/2013  Independent


  1. Re: Your CNN article. Rehashed, tired, intellectually boring and lazy arguments from the Left. Nothing you mentioned is even on the table. You are asking the Church not to be Catholic. And everywhere your ideas have taken hold of a vast majority of Catholics, Catholicism has died. No small wonder you wrote your piece. You don't want the Church to exist.

  2. Exactly. The Catholic church is still working through Vatican II and plus he should know as a
    Catholic, that the Pope isn't going to change Church teachings.

  3. Your CNN article made some claims that were not fully explained. Could you please clarify?

    "No one at the Vatican seems overly concerned about the contradiction that sees married Anglicans being allowed to join the Catholic Church and minister to the faithful, whilst a man ordained as priest in the Catholic faith who wants to get married has to leave in order to do so."

    You call this situation "a contradiction." What do you mean? Some one who is married has vowed to be with the other person "till death do us part" and therefore cannot divorce even if they convert. Some one who becomes a priest through the Roman Catholic Church makes a vow of celibacy as a matter of discipline (the Church could change its rules on this). But we have seen no good reason to do so. I'm not sure where the contradiction is.

    "It would also be good to have a church that offers some ethical and moral leadership to the wider world. Views on things like climate change, war and peace, the present capitalist economic model and poverty would all be welcome contributions to the public discourse, rather than lectures on gay marriage."

    If you mean that the media should cover more of the Church's views on climate change, war and peace, the present capitalist economic model and poverty, I agree. But the Church already devotes a good amount of time to talk about these things. See for the latest encyclical that speaks about most (all?) of these subjects. Maybe the Church needs to learn how to navigate the media so that they have a more balanced view of the Church. But do you mean anything else by this?

    "Women may feel discriminated against in many institutions but few have made it so blatantly clear that the woman's place remains at the kitchen sink as the Catholic Church. The refusal to enter into a constructive dialogue about the possibility of having female clergy underlines just how male dominated the institution remains."

    I'm not sure what you mean by claiming the Church encourages women to remain "at the kitchen sink." Sure, it holds they cannot be priests, but what other offices are they barred from? Please be specific. Finally, Pope John Paul II tried to infallibly declare that, as a matter of definition, women cannot become priests. Then-Cardinal Pope Benedict then argued that the declaration was invalid because that doctrine had already been declared infallibly by the general Magisterium of the Church. In other words, the Church can never accept female clergy any more that it can reject the doctrine of the Indefactibility of the Church. That would be an immense change, tearing at the very fabrics of Catholic theology. (See Then, why do you say there has not been constructive dialogue?

    Thanks for your time!