Monday, March 18, 2013

What this guy says...is what I mean.

I've had a hard time explaining my opposition to the Roman Catholic Church to some folks, who just don't understand my opposition to the hierarchy, not the people.

So, I am going to try one more time, but this time, I've got somebody else to help me put it in better terms, and perhaps those who have misunderstood can better see my points.

So, here goes.  This article, by Andrew O'Hehir, at Alternet, is entitled, "Is Pope Francis a Fraud?"  It sounds rather sensationalist, and to a degree, I suppose it is.  The money quote for that sensationalism is this:
Fox believes that the last two popes, John Paul II and Benedict XVI, departed so far from both the letter and spirit of Vatican II — which should have been viewed as the authoritative teachings of the church — that they should be considered “schismatic,” or illegitimate.
That is, indeed, a sensational argument, and it has undoubtedly raised a few eyebrows!

But where this article illustrates my points begins here:
Fox argues, in essence, that the Schillebeeckx doctrine means the official church no longer exists or, to put it another way, that the power of the church has been diffused and now belongs to everyone. “What it means is that every cardinal, priest and bishop anointed in the last 42 years is illegitimate. What that means to the Catholic in the pew is, ‘Hey, there’s no one looking over your shoulder!’ If you’re trying to live out the principles of Vatican II, combined of course with the Gospels, that’s what the church is. The church is the people.” 
I was raised with this as the point of a church.  A church isn't the preacher or his boss - it is the people who gather together in harmony of belief.  And yet,
In the Vatican councils, they defined the church as the people, not as the hierarchy. Under these last two popes, it’s all about the hierarchy.” 
Emphasis added by yours truly.  THIS is my point, and this is why I oppose the RCC of today, and criticize it.  The agenda of the current leadership of the church has nothing to do with the welfare of the people who make up the church, who support it by their presence every time they go to Mass or who drop their money into the collection plate as they do.  Their agenda is all about maintaining the past.
Fox insists that he’s not alone in believing that the authoritarian reign of the last two popes represents a kind of illegitimate intra-Catholic coup d’├ętat. He says he got the idea from the late Edward Schillebeeckx, a prominent liberal Dutch theologian and Dominican priest who managed to remain inside the church, at a private lunch in the late 1990s. “He told me, ‘I and many other European theologians feel that the present papacy’ — that would have been John Paul II — ‘is in schism.’
Put another way,  and I repeat in part:
Fox argues, in essence, that the Schillebeeckx doctrine means the official church no longer exists or, to put it another way, that the power of the church has been diffused and now belongs to everyone. “What it means is that every cardinal, priest and bishop anointed in the last 42 years is illegitimate. 
For me, if the church had gone this way, the only argument I'd likely have with it is the fact of its belief in the supernatural, which is a whole 'nother conversation:
Fox imagines a grassroots-based, decades-long popular uprising within the church, one that would install female priests and openly gay priests and married priests, would reclaim the spirit of Vatican II and ultimately render the repellent and backward hierarchy irrelevant.
But that isn't what has happened.
That’s a lovely idea too, but in the meantime we have the realities of political power, and a new pope with a soft spot for dictatorship and a hatred of gays at the reins of a decaying right-wing junta with especially fancy uniforms.  
And so, I continue my criticism of the church as I see the opportunity, not as a criticism of the people who are the real church, but of the decaying right wing junta with especially fancy uniforms.   I criticize them, not simply because of their clinging to old fashioned conservative ideals of a bronze age religion, but because the specific policies, such as anti-contraception, anti-abortion and misogynistic views of women, are harmful not only to women, but to the entire world in which they have such outsized influence.

Repeating here, once again, I criticize ANY religion which pushes these kinds of policies, and that does include any of them who do so.  Most do, or at least have extremist factions which do.  To the extent which their dogma and theology allows and supports such interpretations, even if considered extremist, I also include that theology in my criticism.

To those who believe such theology, whilst cherry picking the nice stuff and rejecting the less attractive, I will accuse you of supporting the bad guys, because by the fact of your admitted belief, you legitimize their belief of the bad parts.

If some day, the religions of the world begin to purge their religiously sacred texts of the violence, misogyny, intolerance and hatred that infuses them as leftovers from a less tolerant period of human history, I will applaud them and sit back and begin to relax a bit, for that purging will reject and denounce those parts and the people who believe in them.

But don't think that will stop the extremists, they'll just keep on keepin' on, because hatred is all they know.

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