Keywords: Pope John Paul II, pope, Roman Catholic Church
The pope has died.
Pope John Paul II - Google News
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The Pope Blog
Catholic Church - Religion News Blog
Pope John Paul II - Technorati
Rodrigo A. Sepъlveda Schulz writes:
"Rather discouraging state of the world, don't you think ? I was watching the news tonight, following the last moments of John-Paul II. It seemed to me I could have been watching the last episode of American Pop Idol, or Survivor, or whatever Reality show on TV. Don't get me wrong, I am not talking unrespectfully about the last moments of an old man. But I find it to be really sad times that we should have to watch live on TV the last breaths of a man, as mighty he could be.
In Europe, we are also awaiting news about the death of Rainier Grimaldi, ruler of Monaco. His son Albert has assumed the regency of the country yesterday while we wait for his father to pass away. Rather indecent to listen to updates every 15' on the radio.
Odd that is should affect the rulers of two micro-states of less than 2 kmІ on the European continent: Monaco and Vatican City. Another examples of our historical heritage, as these countries don't make much sense today.
I have great concerns with churches in general (again, not with religion, nor with moderately religious people, but with the church apparatus), and the Catholic Church in particular. I believe that the Catholic Church should really modernize itself and reflect the modern world in its modus operandi. Therefore it should recognize
- that AIDS is a major catastrophe for the African continent and promote condoms aggressively
- that it is antiquated to forbid priests to marry or have sex (couldn't we decrease all these cases of paedophilia by priests ?)
- that it is obnoxious to display such wealth in churches while catholic folks live in absolute poverty in parts of Latin America (I still can't believe the religious fervour on display on that continent).
- apologize again for the atrocities of its history: the Inquisition, the slaughtering of Indian Americans, the Crusades, the Renaissance religious wars, etc. Clear and final apology of wrong-doing.
- recognize that 87% of Catholics live in the Southern hemisphere, not in Italy (hey Karol was the first non Italian Pope in over 450 years)
- that the upper ranks of the Catholic church be open to WOMEN (hey boys, girls are more than 50% of the world population!)
You might say that I have no right to have an opinion on the inner workings of something I don't share (faith in a Catholic god), and that I have no thorough understanding of (the Catholic Church institution and theology). Well it's like saying that by not knowing how to cook, one is unable to appreciate a meal at a good restaurant. I have been reading about the Church for many years, and I still don't understand their positions on the above mentionned issues.
I mind about the Catholic Church because more than a ONE billion people claim they are Catholics. Hence that more than 1/6 of the world population will also follow the recommendations of the Pope.
In the next few days, 117 cardinal electors will go to Rome and perform an old ritual (although modernized by JP2) to select a new leader. The Vatican is not a democracy, as Catholics don't vote. Cardinals are appointed by the Pope, himself appointed by cardinals. Reminds me of the Old Regime in France under the Bourbons... It's not a transparent process as papal electors are sworn to absolute secrecy, unless a cardinal wishes to get automatically excommunicated (a temporal sanction for temporal men...).
I would really like the following in the nexts few weeks:
- that candidates for the Papal throne would publish their political, spiritual and social programme for their reign (I believe I won't see this in my lifetime...)
- that the next Pope will come from the Southern Hemisphere: Asian, Latin American or African.
- that the next Pope will be an energetic man (hey no women are made Cardinals these days...) below 70 years old (would you elect your next president to be over 70? not on his first term right ?)
- that the next Pope will change the Vatican system, so that Popes are obliged to step down once they reach 80 years old, and that he introduces more democratic principles to govern the Church.
I looked at the list of cardinals and electors (from www.catholic-pages.com): not many are under 70. Even less are from countries other than Europe + USA. Only ONE is below 60 years old.
Lуpez Trujillo, Alfonso (Colombia) - Aged 69
Lуpez Rodriguez, Nicolбs de Jesъs (Dominican Republic) - Aged 68
Pengo, Polycarp (Tanzania) - Aged 60
Rivera Carrera, Norberto (Mexico) - Aged 62
Dias, Ivan (India) - Aged 68
Terrazas Sandoval, Julio (Bolivia) - Aged 69
Napier, Wilfrid Fox (South Africa) - Aged 64
Rodrнguez Maradiaga, Oscar Andrйs (Honduras) - Aged 62
Cipriani Thorne, Juan Luis (Peru) - Aged 61
Bergoglio, Jorge Mario (Argentina) - Aged 68
Okogie, Anthony Olubumni (Nigeria) - Aged 68
Zubeir Wako, Gabriel (Sudan) - Aged 64
Toppo, Telesphore Placidus (India) - Aged 65
Pell, George (Australia) - Aged 63
Turkson, Peter Kodwo Appiah (Ghana) - Aged 56
I can't choose a good candidate from this crowd. I can't read their program like in a normal election. Good luck gentlemen; be wise in your choice. Only history will be your judge. I look forward to the 'Papam Habemus' and the next 'Urbi et Orbi'.
PS: A good movie of the papal election (+ some real bad propaganda during the Cold War) was shot by Anthony Quinn: The Shoes of the Fisherman (1968)"
Source: Rodrigo A. Sepъlveda Schulz
The Reformation - Buzz Machine
An influential pontiff dies - CNN
Pope - Flickr
One of the true heroes of the twentieth century - kuro5hin.org
John Paul II, a popular pope, not a great one - kuro5hin.org
How the Papacy Works - HowStuffWorks
Religious War In Light of the Infinite Game - The Long Now Foundation