The “people’s Pope” is striking all the right notes: concern for the poor, for the climate change, sympathy for all who suffer under oppression, and apology of sorts for sexual abuse of children by Catholic priests.
Yet something is amiss amid all these verbal proclamations: Genuine reform – reform of the “Universal Church” whose oppressive and archaic dogmas have been responsible for much human suffering throughout centuries and continue to do so even today. Here is a list of recommendations for some long-overdue and much needed genuine reforms:
Abandon the Catholic Church’s opposition to birth control and abortion. Recognize the right of women and men to limit the number of children they have and are able to fully support and educate. After all, opposition to birth control was made a matter of doctrine as late as 1930 – by Pope Pius XI.
Yet the oppressive words of the late, long-reigning Pope John-Paul II still resonate in mind when he condemned “young couples who use contraception to reduce the family below the morally correct level.”
Thus we are compelled to assume that as far as the Vatican is concerned unloading 14 children onto this over-crowded world is the highest level of “morality.” Surely not an effective means of slowing down the rate of climate change!
Recognize the natural right of Catholic priests to marry and have a genuine emotional base of support in a life-long partner. Then there would be fewer incidents of sexual abuse of their choir boys and less likelihood of the priests seducing married women in their congregations.
After all, for more than a thousand years since the dawn of Christianity priests were commonly married, and so did the Popes. It was not until 1074 CE that Pope Gregory VIII insisted on clerical celibacy. Yet afterwards, during the Middle Ages, some of the Popes continued to have numerous and often-blatant affairs with the wives of prominent nobility and produced a number of illegitimate children. For example, Pope Alexander VI numbered Lucrezia and Cesare Borgia among his illegitimate children.
Remove the barriers to the entry of women into priesthood. And if a sudden change is deemed too “revolutionary” for the entrenched establishment of the Catholic Church, then gradually allow nuns to join the pulpit with the male priests and perform some of the priestly functions – and within a decade assume all the responsibilities of priesthood by whatever name they may be called.
Abolish the devilish institution of the Confessional and remove this evil practice which has been used to mentally dominate the faithful and seduce women by priests throughout the history of the Catholic Church. The corrupting power of this practice and the granting of “absolution” by priests in exchange for material gifts to the Church or sexual favors to the priests has been the stuff of the legend throughout the history of the Catholic Church.
End the fraud of miracle-making and granting of sainthood on the basis of fraudulent reports of “miracles.”
One such miracle-making report is that of the French nun, Sister Marie Simon-Pierre, who claimed to have been healed of her incurable Parkinson’s disease after, on the advice of her superior, she wrote the name of Pope John-Paul II on a piece of paper two months after the Polish born Pontiff had died of Parkinson’s. (Sometime later the highly respected Polish newspaper – Rzeczpospolita – reported that Sister Marie Simon-Pierre had a relapse. Of course the Vatican denied this.)
Then in 2011, six years after he had died, John Paul II allegedly performed a second miracle. This time, he chose a Costa Rican woman, a certain Floribeth Mora, with an aneurism, whose family had prayed to the deceased Holy Father for her cure.
These blatantly fraudulent reports cleared the way for Pope Francis to fast-track the promotion of the late Pope to sainthood. Interestingly enough the late John-Paul II suffered from Parkinson’s disease in the later years of his life, but could not cure himself no matter how often he prayed and how many feet he washed.
[Alan Danesh is a political scientist and jurist trained in European law. First published by countercurrents.org]
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