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Wed Feb 13, 2013, 12:17 PM

The Disastrous Influence of Pope Benedict XVI by John Cassidy / The New Yorker



The Disastrous Influence of Pope Benedict XVI
by John Cassidy

Spare me any more reverential coverage about Pope Benedict XVI and his decision to give up his office. On a personal level, I wish him well. At the age of eighty-five and increasingly infirm, he surely deserves a rest. But as far as his record goes, he can’t leave office a moment too soon. His lengthy tenure at the Vatican, which included more than twenty years as the Catholic Church’s chief theological enforcer before he became Pope, in 2005, has been little short of disastrous. By setting its face against the modern world in general, and by dragging its feet in response to one of the worst scandals since the Reformation, Benedict’s Vatican has called the Church’s future into question, needlessly alienating countless people around the world who were brought up in its teachings.

Not that it matters much, but you can count me among them. When I was a boy, in Leeds, West Yorkshire, the nuns at Sacred Heart Primary School taught my classmates and me the New Testament from slim paperbacks with embossed navy-blue covers. We each got four of them: “The Good News According to Luke,” The Good News According to Matthew,” “The Good News According to Mark,” and “The Good News According to John.” Of the four gospels, the most thumbed, by far, were those of Luke, which contains many of Jesus’s parables, and Matthew, which features the Sermon on the Mount: “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted. Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth…”

It was the early seventies, an era of hope and optimism for many Catholics. Following the lengthy Second Vatican Council, called by Pope John XXIII in 1959, the Church had made a determined effort to modernize some of its doctrines and practices. Masses, which for many centuries had been confined to Latin, were now celebrated in other languages. Priests, who traditionally faced the altar during services, had been instructed to face their congregations and invite them to participate. In place of a stultifying focus on ancient dogmas and ceremonies, there was a return to the actual teachings of Jesus, which were being interpreted in increasingly liberal and egalitarian ways, as evidenced by the words of a popular folk hymn we used to sing, a few lines of which I recount from memory:
He sent me to give the Good News to the poor.
Tell prisoners that they are prisoners no more.
Tell blind people that they can see,
And set the downtrodden free.

For the entire piece go here:
http://www.newyorker.com/online/blogs/johncassidy/2013/02/good-riddance-to-pope-benedict-he-was-a-disaster.html#ixzz2KnTQSluz


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Reply The Disastrous Influence of Pope Benedict XVI by John Cassidy / The New Yorker (Original post)
Mira Feb 2013 OP
formercia Feb 2013 #1
catbyte Feb 2013 #2

Response to Mira (Original post)

Wed Feb 13, 2013, 12:29 PM

1. Ratso was instrumental in the attempt to destroy Liberation Theology

Can't have those pesky Indians in Latin America thinking they were as good as anyone else and that the land really belonged to them and not Corporate Agriculture and Mining.

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Response to Mira (Original post)

Wed Feb 13, 2013, 12:32 PM

2. His only redeeming quality is that he loves cats.

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