Tag Archives: Pope Benedict XV1

Will the “right” man be elected as the new Pope?

So Pope Benedict XVI, born Joseph Ratzinger, is resigning at the end of this month due to old age. Papal spokesmen assure us, repeatedly, that the still living and kicking but soon-to-be former Pope will not participate in the cardinals conclave in March to select his successor at this second-oldest, on-going “Christian franchise,” the Roman Catholic Church (RCC). Ah yes, we hear from the authorized sources the strict observance of the explicit “letter of the law”—the RCC’s canon law—in public.

But how should we weigh the “spirit of the law” aspects of such a statement? After all, such pre-emptive assurance of Pope Benedict’s non-interest in handpicking his successor is being conveniently offered to us by the employees of the same man who long-ran that secretive multi-national church corporation’s Holy Office of the Inquisition (better known more recently as the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith) before becoming Pope!

Should we trust a church hierarchy that still officially denies that it systemically covered up and “managed” for hundreds and hundreds of years the fall-out arising from its numerous priestly pedophiles? Granted, however, that we must acknowledge that the RCC will now apologize publicly for their priests’ licentious behaviour and pay compensation to victims. But still, should we trust them?

Actually, I admire Pope Benedict for this pro-active initiative to assure an orderly succession to the top job at the RCC. By resigning now while his mind is still sharp he can make a strong effort to influence the outcome of the cardinals’ vote.  And it goes almost without saying that the “right” man to become the new Pope will be the one who will continue Pope Benedict’s conservative policies. Actually those policies are really just a continuation of those of his predecessor, Pope John Paul II.

Conservative Catholics are probably relieved by Pope Benedict’s succession gambit. They, like their last two popes, are wary of the moral relativism that is dominating the Western world at this point in time. They don’t believe that all is just a matter of personal preference and opinion. They believe that Truth with a capital “T” really does exist.

Since they also believe that the Pope has the authority to define doctrine in their church, and to make definitive statements concerning truth and falsehood; it is essential, from their point of view, that the “right” man be elected as the next Pope.

I don’t fault them for their logic. After all, if a new Pope was elected who had a secret agenda to institute “reforms” allowing gay marriage, ordination of women, abortion, euthanasia, and easy divorce—well, all would be lost for those supporting conservative values in the RCC. And that’s the flaw in the Catholic tradition of Christianity.

Catholics believe that the Pope is the Vicar of Christ—that he rules as a substitute for Christ and has final authority. In essence, the RCC makes a man and that man’s opinions the arbiter of what is Truth or falsehood.

The gospel of Jesus Christ, however, teaches something else:

Sanctify them [that is to say: purify, consecrate, separate them for Yourself, make them holy] by the Truth; Your Word is Truth. John 17:17 Amplified Bible

When Satan tried to tempt Jesus Christ to enact something, to follow a policy that would, in essence, make an accommodation to a personal preference or desire, Jesus rebutted the Adversary, making this statement on the real source of authority:

But Jesus told him, “No! The Scriptures say, “People do not live by bread alone [by any material or human means alone], but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.” Matthew 4:4 New Living Translation

The part of the Judeo-Christian scriptures that Jesus was quoting to Satan on this issue of the real authority to decide questions of Truth or falsehood is found in Deuteronomy 8:3. Godly authority to decide questions of church policy and all other questions of what is right or wrong is by Sola Scripture, which in Latin means by Scripture Alone. It is the Judeo-Christian Scriptures alone that reveal the Truth. It is never a question of merely any man’s or woman’s personal opinion or preference, whether that person is elected a Pope or not!

All Catholics, all Protestants all secular people, and all believers in other religions are eventually going to learn the answer to this question about where ultimate, legitimate authority rests. Most will learn the hard way at some time in the future. You can learn this right now and act on it to become consecrated to God as His own son or daughter—a higher spiritual office than any earthly Pope— if you will allow the Word of God to direct you into living in and by His Truth.

Arrest the Pope? Pardon Homolka? Iranian Cleric’s Boobquake?

From the sublime to the ridiculous—that’s the news this week. But there is a common link. Can you see it?

Two well-promoted British atheists, Richard Dawkins and Christopher Hitchens announced that they are paying lawyers to draw up a legal argument to persuade a British magistrate to issue an arrest warrant for Pope Benedict XVI, accusing him of complicity in covering up the sexual abuse of children. Is it imaginable that the Pope could actually land in the docket before a British judge over his role in trying to keep quiet decades worth of allegations about Catholic priests’ sexual assault or molestation of children?

As an institution, the Roman Catholic Church has always tried to wash its dirty laundry solely within the opaque walls of the Vatican. In this their non-transparent behaviour is no different at all from, say… multi-national oil corporations, investment bankers, or pesticide/pharmaceutical manufacturers who face their own egregious moral lapses or ethical failures from time to time. But, the Catholic Church is quite different from these secular mega-companies in at least one crucial legal point. The pope is the only absolute monarch left in Europe who has his own sovereign mini-state known as the State of the Vatican City. The pope, of course is also the head of the Holy See, the Roman church’s global-girdling administrative hierarchy. The bottom-line is that Pope Benedict XVI is the absolute boss of the most unusual, long-running church/state combo entity that the world has ever witnessed.

The power that the popes in Rome have exercised over the centuries ought to give Dawkins and Hitchens a little pause! In medieval times popes could easily humble the most powerful European kings and emperors. In more modern days Joseph Stalin once dismissed the power of the Vatican with the comment, “How many divisions does the Pope command?” However, Stalin’s successors might disagree with old Joe considering the Catholic Church’s powerful role in engineering the collapse of the Soviet Union’s domination of eastern Europe. Historically speaking, crossing a pope took a lot of guts—Henry VIII’s sort of guts—because it was extremely dangerous to do so. I doubt Benedict XVI thinks of himself as accountable in any way to lowly secular British courts or Church of England ecclesiastical courts!

Still, there are hardy journalists siding with the unrepentant, hell-for-leather team of Dawkins and Hitchens who maintain that if crimes have been committed, then there must be an accounting—even if it means arresting the Pope. I never thought I’d be offering this dynamic duo of atheism an encouraging word, but good luck, boys!

Moving on…. It would appear that Karla Homolka, an honest-to-God blood-sucking Canadian vampire, has a good chance of being pardoned for her crimes this summer by the National Parole Board. As you remember, Homolka negotiated a sweet deal that got her charged only with manslaughter by the government in exchange for her testimony against her ex-husband Paul Bernardo about the early 1990s rape-murders in St. Catharines, Ontario, of the teenagers Kristen French, Leslie Mahaffy and even Homolka’s own sister, Tammy. Videotapes found after the “Deal with the Devil” was struck revealed Homolka to be a willing and active participant in the rape-murders. The names of Homolka and Bernardo are forever linked in the public’s mind with depravity of the worst sort. Their crimes are the stuff of screaming, bed-soaking nightmares. An old-fashioned word to accurately describe Homolka and Bernado is wicked.

However, our legal system of pardons for past crimes will be available for Karla Homolka to wipe clean her record from all police databases. For many Canadians linking the word “pardon” with Homolka is obscene, a travesty of justice. The Conservative government is vowing to introduce legislation this fall to tighten the system in regards to sex offenders. Unfortunately, Homolka should be able to get her pardon before the legislation is enacted. Is our legal system just anymore? Criminals of the worst sort are literally getting away with murder.

Meanwhile in Iran, Islamic cleric Hojatoleslam Kazem Sedighi made the news on April 16th for this comment:

Many women who do not dress modestly… lead young men astray, corrupt their chastity and spread adultery in society, which [consequently] increases earthquakes.

The Islamic cleric’s comments spawned a reaction from outraged feminists, some 43,000, who signed up on Facebook to hold a “boobquake” day to see if an earthquake will really follow their scheduled showing off of their cleavage. Will God create an earthquake to punish us if 43,000 woman decide to strut their low-cut stuff for a day?

All three stories that appeared in the news this week have a common thread. The thread is justice—perhaps our frustration about the lack of justice in our society. We don’t seem to understand what justice is anymore and its function in our society. Read what the prophet Isaiah wrote some 2,700 years ago. He might as well have been writing about our day:

8 They don’t know where to find peace
or what it means to be just and good.
They have mapped out crooked roads,
and no one who follows them knows a moment’s peace.

9 So there is no justice among us,
and we know nothing about right living.
We look for light but find only darkness.
We look for bright skies but walk in gloom.
10 We grope like the blind along a wall,
feeling our way like people without eyes.
Even at brightest noontime,
we stumble as though it were dark.
Among the living,
we are like the dead. (Isaiah 59 New Living Translation)

But the purpose of this column is not to express frustration, but hope. You see, the great hope of those who believe in the Hebrew and Greek scriptures is that there is a world tomorrow that will right what is wrong. To bring justice to this earth is going to take a real miracle. But the prophet Isaiah foresaw that there is a person unlike any other who is coming who will establish justice. This person is known as the Messiah.

1 Out of the stump of David’s family will grow a shoot—
yes, a new Branch bearing fruit from the old root.
2 And the Spirit of the Lord will rest on him—
the Spirit of wisdom and understanding,
the Spirit of counsel and might,
the Spirit of knowledge and the fear of the Lord.
3 He will delight in obeying the Lord.
He will not judge by appearance
nor make a decision based on hearsay.
4 He will give justice to the poor
and make fair decisions for the exploited.
The earth will shake at the force of his word,
and one breath from his mouth will destroy the wicked.
5 He will wear righteousness like a belt
and truth like an undergarment. (Isaiah 11 New Living Translation)

So, when you read the news, today, remember that there is coming a big change. A good change. This will be a time when entrenched bureaucracies will not be able to get away with covering up systematic sexual abuse no matter how powerful they are. It will be a time when the vile and base will no longer be able to pull the wool over the eyes of those entrusted with administering justice.  It will also be a time when our daily behaviour, including what we wear, say, and do will reflect the way of peace, good, and light. Isn’t that really good news for a change?

Catholic doctrinal error propagates child abuse scandals!

During the recently completed Easter/Passover season there were a great number of headlines in the various media sources I was following about the latest episode of the Roman Catholic Church and the illicit appetites of its clergy for pedophilia. This time around the scandal of Catholic priests sexually abusing children was stunning Europe.  The media has been talking about incidents in Ireland and Germany where, it seems, some are questioning whether the current pope was actually involved himself in covering up some abuse cases that happened there, during the time he was in charge .

A few years ago the scandal of Roman Catholic priests having sex with children (both boys and girls) in their care was outraging the United States. To settle some of those resulting law suits the American Catholic Church paid out hundreds of millions of dollars just in compensation not to mention their legal bills. Canada also has its own memory of the repeated, widespread abuse of Canadian Catholic children, including aboriginals, by Catholic clergy and other members of Catholic religious orders.

People are disgusted, of course, with the actual wolves in sheep’s clothing who committed those acts that have profoundly hurt and even destroyed so many thousands of innocent lives. Their odious predator names will burn in infamy just as long as their deeds continue to haunt the consciences of those they personally abused as well as their victim’s families!

But most thinking people are also angry with the Roman Catholic hierarchy who habitually protected their pedophile priests while turning a deaf ear to the victims for far too long. People are also angry with Pope Benedict for being unwilling to speak or even issue the appropriate profound apologies for an organization that has caused so much suffering. And actually, today, the Associated Press posted this news story written by Gillian Flaccus:

The future Pope Benedict XVI resisted pleas to defrock a California priest with a record of sexually molesting children, citing concerns including “the good of the universal church,” according to a 1985 letter bearing his signature. The correspondence, obtained by The Associated Press, is the strongest challenge yet to the Vatican’s insistence that Benedict played no role in blocking the removal of pedophile priests during his years as head of the Catholic Church’s doctrinal watchdog office.

When you consider this problem, these angry people are right to insist on an apology. Why? Because the root of this systemic evil of sexual perverseness by Catholic priests does indeed lie with the pope!

How so? Well, the pope and his predecessors—who loudly pretend that they are the direct lineal successors of the Apostle Peter—are directly responsible for refusing to allow their male clergy to follow the Apostle Peter’s own personal example! After all, the Scriptures plainly say that the Apostle Peter was married:

14When Jesus came into Peter’s house, he saw Peter’s mother-in-law lying in bed with a fever. 15He touched her hand and the fever left her, and she got up and began to wait on him. (Matthew 8:14-15 New International Version).

Also, consider this statement by the Apostle Paul in defense of his rights to financial support when traveling as a minister of the Gospel:

5Do we not have the right to be accompanied by a believing wife, as do the other apostles and brothers of the Lord and Cephas [Peter]? (1 Corinthians 9:5 New Revised Standard Version).

Next, look at what the Apostle Paul writes about the qualifications for bishops [Gk: episkopos: also elder or minister]

2Now a bishop must be above reproach, the husband of one wife, temperate, sensible, respectable, hospitable, and apt teach, not a drunkard, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, and not a lover of money. 4He must manage his own household well, keeping his children submissive and respectful in every way—for if someone does not know how to manage his own household, how can he take care of God’s church (1 Timothy 3:2-5 NRSV).

The problem with the Roman Catholic Church is that they have trusted in their human traditions that engender twisted sexual perversions among their clergy instead of relying on the purifying effect that comes from following the Scriptures first and foremost when setting doctrine and moral standards.

The Creator made man with a strong sex drive as a motivation to cause him to marry a woman and engender children. Through these intimate familial relationships a godly man could learn priceless lessons that could enable him to effectively serve in the Church, the household of the Living God. To deprive the man of this Scripturally approved outlet for his God-given sex drive is like giving a free pass to Satan to pervert the man into a pedophile. The evil fruits of unscriptural doctrine should be evident to all.