Tuesday, June 30, 2015

THE CHURCH & POPE FRANCIS

I really had not given much thought to it but it is becoming increasingly evident that the Roman Catholic Church is sitting on a tectonic plates that are building up a lot of pressure.

Over a year ago The Atlantic's former Editor Ross Douthat, wrote a column where he asked a question, " Will Pope Francis Break the Church?". At the time I thought it was an alarmist article, that even Conservative Catholics had to accept that the church was out-of-touch and needed a serious re-boot to remain relevant.

Pope Francis has been more successful with this robot than J.J Abrams has with Star Wars and Star Trek, but as Abrams knows it is the orthodox fans that are often the hardest to get buy-in from. After all, it is called that Roman Catholic Church for a reason -  The head of the church, its orthodox servants and Conservative Synod are located in Vatican City - Rome.

For the first time the Vatican is run by a Jesuit who has evoked the memory of St. Francis of Assisi who challenged ecclesiastical excess and championed charity, social and environmental justice. Like Christ who booted the merchants  out of the Temple, Pope Francis has challenged the this generation long orthodoxy. He insists on simplicity and frugality,  has purging corrupt officials within the Vatican Bank, demoted lavish and conservative prelates and decried ostentatious displays..

He is also the first to be elected as  Bishop of Rome from outside of Europe. He is an outsider who commands respect through his actions and his words. The respect he commands is as much from world leaders, other churches and atheists as it is from Roman Catholics.

Rugged social conservatives like Saint John Paul II managed to fight off the left wing liberals in the church over the past fifty years. They have ensured that the orthodoxy continued by stuffing the College of Cardinals with conservatives to ensure medieval-minded conservative types stay in control of the leadership. They are obsessed with Dogma, have disdain for change and have no time for reactionaries - let a lone a revolutionary like Pope Francis.

Now we have a progressive pope wearing the shoes of St. Peter who is determined to bring the church back to a mission of charity and mercy as opposed to judgement and scorn.  The church is a living body that needs to evolve and remain relevant to society.  The Roman Catholic Church has failed in it's potential to stand up to multi-nationals, corrupted first world powers and right wing Climate Change deniers.

I only hope that Pope Francis has the health, longevity and strength to finish his mission before the Conservative orthodoxy smothers this righteous movement which I believe could be the key to a glorious age of peace.

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