kaitak From Ireland, joined Aug 1999, 12176 posts, RR: 35 Posted (3 months 6 hours ago) and read 1035 times:
A year or so ago, I had the feeling that every time Pope Benedict made a pronouncement, the Church would lose a few hundred thousand followers. Now, with Francis, I think it's the opposite. Personally, to put it in terms probably unlikely to be used by the Vatican Press Office, the guy is playing a blinder.
In his latest pronouncement, he has said that the Catholic Church is too tied up in rules and not really focused on the indvidual. It has become too obsessed with issues such as abortion, gay marriage and contraception. He's not saying that the Church's stance on this has changed, but he is saying that there are more important issues.
After Benedict, who I totally acknowledge was a decent and good man doing his best and doing what he thought he should have been doing, I became very disenchanted. Now, I have a lot more hope; the Church is no longer the Church of this angry old testament God, waiting to spit vengeance on those who stepped out of line; it has become what it should have been all along, having compassion as its central principle and looking at the totality of the individual.
There are those, like Bishop Tobin in America, who fear that the Church is stepping back from what it should be doing, but I think that what he is doing is superb. He is getting the Church's priorities right. He comes across as a very much more human person, probably because of his pastoral work in Buenos Aires, a city with lots of poverty and social problems. Benedict, on the other hand, lived in books and while he had a great theological mind, he very much lacked the human touch (or certainly came across like that).
I've often wondered whether it is a question of national attributes too. I nearly wrote that Pope Benedict brought the traditional German warmth and flexibility to the Church, but thankfully I'd never write that and run the risk of offending all of my German friends here (phew!). Those qualities are great if you're building a hydro electric plant or running an airline, but not (dare I suggest) when there's a need for, shall we say, a bit of flexibility and 'give'. On the other hand, the Latin temperament is probably more suited, given that it will have that 'give'; conversely, as anyone who has ever dealt with Aerolineas Argentinas knows, you wouldnt ask them to run an airline, but when it comes to religion, maybe those attributes that Pope Francis is exhibiting - a bit of discretion, understanding and prioritising, are more appropriate. Taking an aeronautical metaphor again, a wing has to bend and flex in flight; if it doesn't ... I think Benedict's Church was the wing that wouldn't flex and was in danger of structural failure ... an engineering work that Francis is now undertaking.
Klaus From Germany, joined Jul 2001, 21346 posts, RR: 54 Reply 3, posted (3 months 3 hours ago) and read 942 times:
Quoting kaitak (Thread starter): I've often wondered whether it is a question of national attributes too. I nearly wrote that Pope Benedict brought the traditional German warmth and flexibility to the Church, but thankfully I'd never write that and run the risk of offending all of my German friends here (phew!).
You'd have to try harder than that for this...!
Ratzinger had been seen as an overly rigid conservative by most germans as well when he was active here – it's not just nationality (although it often seems tempting to ascribe personal traits to a person's origin or ethnic group).
And I'm not even catholic, but I prefer Franciscus over Benedict by a couple of kilometers myself – Franciscus seems to have his head and heart in the right places for the most part, while Benedict was following and constructing doctrine above all else – small wonder that he had ended up in the successor organisation of the Inquisition (yeah, that one!) before his final fall up the stairs.
Benedict's singularly best idea had been his resignation, by far.
DocLightning From United States of America, joined Nov 2005, 18015 posts, RR: 57 Reply 5, posted (3 months ago) and read 881 times:
Quoting Klaus (Reply 3): Benedict's singularly best idea had been his resignation, by far.
I'm slowly starting to like this Pope, much to my shock. He is genuinely humble. He is not going to lecture on false puritanical morality while going back into his chambers to count his gold.
I would like to hear him acknowledge some of the horrible things he said as a Cardinal and earlier in his career and do that must humble thing I wish more Popes would do: admit he was wrong and ask forgiveness from his brothers and sisters about whom he said such terrible things.
I am not expecting him to speak ex cathedra and recognize gay marriage. But it is nice to see that he is first and foremost interested in Jesus's main message of peace, love, humility, and nonjudgementalism.
Klaus From Germany, joined Jul 2001, 21346 posts, RR: 54 Reply 6, posted (3 months ago) and read 877 times:
Quoting DocLightning (Reply 5): I would like to hear him acknowledge some of the horrible things he said as a Cardinal and earlier in his career and do that must humble thing I wish more Popes would do: admit he was wrong and ask forgiveness from his brothers and sisters about whom he said such terrible things.
Quoting DocLightning (Reply 5): I am not expecting him to speak ex cathedra and recognize gay marriage. But it is nice to see that he is first and foremost interested in Jesus's main message of peace, love, humility, and nonjudgementalism.
ltbewr From United States of America, joined Jan 2004, 12686 posts, RR: 13 Reply 7, posted (3 months ago) and read 867 times:
What I would really like to see next is to make a real decision as to removing perverted Priests, have them turned over to government authorities to face criminal charges if the statues allow and fire the administrators who allowed them to get away with it.
aerorobnz From Rwanda, joined Feb 2001, 6759 posts, RR: 13 Reply 8, posted (2 months 4 weeks 1 day 21 hours ago) and read 808 times:
If he had been around when I was 15, maybe I wouldn't be such a jaded and cynical athiest now (having been raised in the RC Faith). I think he is really sharing the right message and people like me are standing up and taking note.
RyanairGuru From Australia, joined Oct 2006, 4086 posts, RR: 2 Reply 9, posted (2 months 4 weeks 1 day 21 hours ago) and read 798 times:
Quoting kaitak (Thread starter): the Church is no longer the Church of this angry old testament God, waiting to spit vengeance on those who stepped out of line; it has become what it should have been all along, having compassion as its central principle and looking at the totality of the individual
I absolutely agree.
I am not Catholic but rather Anglican and I see the same here. Senior members of the clergy, such as the former Archbishop of Sydney, Peter Jensen, can only be described as old-church, hell-hath-no-fury types. This means that the central message out of the Anglican Church of Australia is one that does not resonate with me.
At the local level, however, I find that the Priests that I have come into contact with are much more accommodating and liberal, preaching the message that Christ loves all, and that the Christian faith is founded on peace and goodwill, as opposed to judgmentalism and down-right bashing of people that do not fit within a perceived mould. I wish this was more widely recognised from the upper echelons of the Church, as it would make it easier for me to feel comfortable with my faith and actually talk about it in public.
Because of this I cannot commend Pope Francis highly enough. While I don't expect him to tear up everything, I think it is good to see that the Catholic Church is finely realising that it should be talking about the central elements of Jesus' message, as opposed to roaring about issues such as homosexuality and contraception which are - at best - tangental to the business of the Church. I hope that will allow the Catholic Church to mend some of the bridges that it has burned, and enable to reposition as a more relevant institution in contemporary society.
If the Churches aren't prepared to recognise the shifting attitudes of their relevant bases, then they are doomed to further irrelevancy as people simply become jaded and quit.
ltbewr From United States of America, joined Jan 2004, 12686 posts, RR: 13 Reply 11, posted (2 months 4 weeks 1 day 14 hours ago) and read 739 times:
Quoting seb146 (Reply 10): I loved John Paul II. Francis is starting to look like JPII to me.
I think in a number of respects, Pope Francis is far less into the orthodoxy that John Paul II supported. Recall that JPII was far more conservative on these issues and supported fellow conservative including his successor, Pope Benedict.
I am not christian or even religious in any way, but I really like him.
He is a great ambassador for a religion.
Very simple, genuinely concerned with the people in need and peace. He doesn't care about any of the politics or power games associated with his position. He is very down to earth and keeps a low profile..
Precisely what religion should be like.
Looks like I picked the wrong week to quit posting...
steman From Germany, joined Aug 2000, 1301 posts, RR: 8 Reply 13, posted (2 months 4 weeks 1 day 9 hours ago) and read 663 times:
Anyone who wishes to have a better idea of what the Roman Catholic Church really is and how it really works, should spend some time in Rome. Not a short holiday break. I mean live there for a while.
I am from Rome. Born there and lived the first 32 years of my life there.
Francis might be better than Ratzinger (anyone is better than him afterall) but he is still the Head of one of the most powerful, secret and double faced organizations on Earth.
In Rome nothing moves without the consent of the high ecclesiastic hierarchies.
The Pope himself might not be aware or in control of all the ramifications of his Empire but I still don´t trust him or his speech of poverty, opening to the masses, modernization, etc.
We are talking of shear political and economical power. Nothing comes close to that. They´ll never give up any chance to make themselves more powerful and rich.
But then again, if people like Pope Francis and find a renewed spirituality and joy of living in him, good for them.