Sunday, 10 March 2013

Conclave decides future of the Roman Catholic Church

With the Conclave just a day or so away, it may be interesting to view the events thus far as seen by Benedict’s fellow countrymen.  The online weekly news edition ‘Spiegel’ (mirror) recently provided readers with an in depth English translation about the tension following Benedict’s recent resignation under the title ‘Zero Hour at the Vatican’.  Nearly ten pages are dedicated to examine the upcoming Conclave as ‘A bitter struggle for control of the Catholic Church’.

A quick sampling contained in this article reads as follows:

“. . . . The pope from Bavaria has given up. Nevertheless, when he announced his resignation last Monday, hastily and almost casually mumbling the words as if he were saying a rosary, as if he were returning the keys to a rental car rather than the keys to St. Peter, there was still a sense of how deeply his move has shaken the Catholic empire.”

“. . . . A shift is taking place in the otherwise immovable Catholic Church. A global struggle has begun over the prerogative of interpretation, opportunities, legacy and positions -- a silent battle for Rome.”

“. . . . With his revolt against tradition and the church machinery, Benedict XVI may have brought more change to the church than he did in the seven years and 10 months of his papal reign.”

“ . . . if Benedict now assumes the right of resignation, shouldn't every future pope expect to face demands for his resignation, not unlike a politician, when he becomes infirm or is deficient in the discharge of his office?”

“ . . . Vatican correspondents agree that there will be a battle for control. The focus is already on holding on to power, the threat that heads will roll and on the web of relationships within the curia after Ratzinger's departure.

“. . . . The universal church now needs a pope who is willing to relinquish more of his power." There is no alternative, says Mitschke-Collande, in light of globalization, the diversity of regions and the differences in the nature of Catholics worldwide.”

“. . . . Catholic youth groups are calling on their bishops to address current debates from the center of the church, and not to leave the field to ultraconservative Catholics. This, they say, also includes a discussion on what "can be left up to the conscience of the individual," when it comes to sexual morality.”

It is clear, at least from this German point of view, that unless the Roman Catholic Church is ready to relinquish its desire for continued power and control, we may witness the collapse of another great wall in the near future.

Here follows another German viewpoint from Hans Kung classmate of Joseph Ratzinger at Tubingen Catholic university.

Questions for the Future

Under a new pontificate might not and should not the question of in­fallibility be investigated again, with objectivity, scientific honesty, fairness and justice?

Could not an ecumenical commission be appointed for this question  consisting of internationally recognized experts in the different disciplines (exegesis, the history of dogma, systematic theology, practical theology and the relevant non-theological disciplines)?

In the investigation, should not the emphasis be placed less, as previously, on the negative points than on the positive and constructive points? Surely the abiding of the church in truth despite all errors has a better foundation in the Christian message and the great Catholic tradition, and it would be better to live by this in the church today?
 - Hans Kung ‘Christianity – Essence, History, and Future (2002) p.523


Catholic Church Challenges -

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