new Pope

(86 Posts)

he's a scientist apparently. does it give us hope?

noblegiraffe Sat 23-Mar-13 23:09:59

Well I wondered how a Pope who was against social inequality would deal with sitting on a golden throne.

This is how:
i.imgur.com/SlwdAjA.jpg

Some respect for him there at least.

alexpolismum Fri 15-Mar-13 19:07:13

Mitchy That does come as a surprise. I genuinely thought that abortion was regarded as a sin in Catholicism. I thought they regarded it as murder of an unborn child.

Nice to see there is some grassroots movement the other way!

Mitchy1nge Fri 15-Mar-13 17:04:08

alexpolis - not all catholics for choice

vesuvia Fri 15-Mar-13 15:32:08

My previous post is directed at Sausageeggbacon not scaevola.

vesuvia Fri 15-Mar-13 15:17:59

scaevola wrote - "Jesus dined with lepers and prostitutes."

Sausageeggbacon wrote - "PMSL scaevola does this mean we have a Pope who is more liberal then rad feminist re the Prostitutes?"

I think you are confusing Jesus with the Pope, and prostitutes with pimps and johns. I think radical feminists would have no problem dining with prostitutes, but not pimps or johns.

vesuvia Fri 15-Mar-13 14:53:53

How is being a scientist relevant to being Pope?

alexpolismum Fri 15-Mar-13 14:36:04

"Most of them are anti-abortion"

I thought they were all anti-abortion, that it was, in fact, a requirement of the Catholic faith.

LRD I see what you are trying to say. It's hard to look at the Papacy today and put it in the light of the historical context of its instituting, however.

AuntieStella Fri 15-Mar-13 12:22:14

He is a scientist - his degree is in chemistry.

We'll have to wait and see what he does as Pope. But there are promising signs given his record in eg anti-poverty work.

BettyBlueBlue Fri 15-Mar-13 11:18:02

Haven't read anywhere he's a scientist. It would be so good to have someone progressive, who is really involved with the situation of women around the world, and fights for their plight. However, I don't think I'll live to see that.

Most of them are anti abortion, advocate for having women under the will of men, like three hundred years ago, don't care of single bit about the day to day lives of women around the world, as long as they breed and obey.

I have said in this forum before that I cannot understand how any woman in Britain can consider herself a Tory. By the same token, I cannot understand how any woman in the world can be a church goer, follow what these cardinals, priests, popes have to say without questioning.

The pope and his gang are just another eternal club of powerful, in many cases, misogynist men, who have no real understanding about what it means being a woman and therefore have never done and will never do anything to improve their situation.

The worst thing is that the set the rules for women and keep telling them what to do, but they refuse to accept women in positions of power in the Church.

So I wouldn't be surprised if this new one just turns out to be a copy of what we had in the past.

I'd be interested to see how he deals with the sex scandals and child abuse cases within the Church. The previous one didn't do one single relevant thing about it.

I hope you don't mind - as soon as I posted I started trying to work out a less useless answer and so I've gone through quoting your post and trying to say what I think. Please do skip if (when!) it's boring.

'You seemed to be saying that Benedict personally (and perhaps Francis too if the stuff about his actions under the junta is true) was irreversibly tainted by his compromise with Nazism'

- No, not necessarily. No-one is irreversably tainted, and certainly Benedict's actions (I don't know enough about the new Pope) are things that we can easily understand why he did.

'You're still saying that making the choice he made is a qualitatively different kind of sin/evil which is so bad the RCC shouldn't have touched him with a bargepole because otherwise it would compromise its own moral purity.'

- No, not even a little bit. But, if the church is being a political entity, why did it choose Benedict? If the Church wants to uphold the idea that the Pope is somehow authorised to make hugely important moral choices, then how do they reconcile that with other choices made? The reason Benedict's membership in Hitler Youth matters is not that anyone thinks he did something appalling - but rather, because it illustrates that morality is extremely complicated, and that it can be very hard to separate events from the public perception of those events. Nazism has a stature hugely in excess of what happened (which is not to diminish the impact of what happened). Popes in the past have not had to deal with the concept of a 'world war'. Genocide has always happened - but our perception of it shifts. Yet the theology - the idea that the Pope can make a moral judgement all on his own - has not really changed. I am not sure that this is right or sensible.

My difficulty with this is that it just wholly clashes with my conception of sin and what the church is. I don't think there are special kinds of sin, I don't think any church is an inherently holy institution, and I think that attempting to “buy” institutional moral innocence, or the appearance of it, is a doomed enterprise which can have terrible results.

None of this makes any sense from a Catholic point of view anyway, because talking about whether Benedict/Francis is morally fit for office is projecting a Protestant attitude of 'authority by personal virtue' onto Catholic structures of governance. RCs don't believe bishops and popes have authority because they are personally morally worthy of it - they believe they have authority by virtue of their divinely-instituted office, and are as likely as any of us to sin in any kind of way. And in the worst cases bad bishops and popes can obstruct the will of God and damage the Church's reputation. But ultimately Catholics don't think that matters because in their view nothing can wholly derail the Church or prevent God's will from ultimately being done.

'IMO we do have a way of dealing with the sin people and institutions commit in the face of oppression. It's called confession and repentance – and that is something the RCC and Christians in general are not good enough at.'

I take the point, but both confession and repentance are retrospective. Ideally, we need a new theology that pre-empts. There is plenty of precedent. The Church has changed hugely. Confession and repentance became immensely more importance concepts after Lateran IV. Before that, the whole understanding of how they worked was different. I say this to stress that the Church can change and adapt, it doesn't have to be static.

No, I'm not saying that, fair, I may well not be being very clear, though. I'm not that clear in my own mind.

I don't think I am projecting a Protestant structure. Honestly, I don't. I'm probably not expressing what I mean very well, but I don't mean that.

The Papacy developed in a world where martyrdom was normalized, and where knowledge of large-scale event such as Hitler's persecution of Jews and other groups, was impossible. I think that is really important. I do not think this is a Protestant viewpoint (and FWIW, it is also quite a common Orthodox viewpoint, and there is a reason why the Orthodox Church has a different theology relating to the patriarch).

I am aware that it isn't entirely my business to comment as I'm not a Catholic, but it's hard not to have a view. If I'm offending you, I'll stop trying to hammer out what I think, as I don't want to treat on any toes.

FairPhyllis Thu 14-Mar-13 20:45:43

But LRD you seemed to be saying that Benedict personally (and perhaps Francis too if the stuff about his actions under the junta is true) was irreversibly tainted by his compromise with Nazism and shouldn't have been Pope because of it. You're still saying that making the choice he made is a qualitatively different kind of sin/evil which is so bad the RCC shouldn't have touched him with a bargepole because otherwise it would compromise its own moral purity.

My difficulty with this is that it just wholly clashes with my conception of sin and what the church is. I don't think there are special kinds of sin, I don't think any church is an inherently holy institution, and I think that attempting to “buy” institutional moral innocence, or the appearance of it, is a doomed enterprise which can have terrible results.

None of this makes any sense from a Catholic point of view anyway, because talking about whether Benedict/Francis is morally fit for office is projecting a Protestant attitude of 'authority by personal virtue' onto Catholic structures of governance. RCs don't believe bishops and popes have authority because they are personally morally worthy of it - they believe they have authority by virtue of their divinely-instituted office, and are as likely as any of us to sin in any kind of way. And in the worst cases bad bishops and popes can obstruct the will of God and damage the Church's reputation. But ultimately Catholics don't think that matters because in their view nothing can wholly derail the Church or prevent God's will from ultimately being done.

IMO we do have a way of dealing with the sin people and institutions commit in the face of oppression. It's called confession and repentance – and that is something the RCC and Christians in general are not good enough at.

Precisely, tei, Let's hope.

TeiTetua Thu 14-Mar-13 20:28:09

"A good pope". Umm. What would a good pope do?

Open all church offices to everyone. Cease making pronouncements about sexual matters (contraception and homosexuality notably). Prepare to discuss possible links between priestly celibacy and child molestation. Make an honest appraisal of the Inquisition. Explain the real theological significance of the so-called Virgin Mary, justifying same by biblical references. But then explain the lack of real female religious figures (no St Bernadette doesn't count) throughout history. Advise Catholics on how to proceed from this point. Sounds like a plan.

grin

I know exactly what you mean. And how you put it.

But let's hope optimism has a cause here, you're right.

MechanicalTheatre Thu 14-Mar-13 18:47:06

I get Eeyore-ish very quickly because I am continually disappointed after my optimism though. Hurrah hurrah hurrah OH NO OH GOD.

Oh, optimism is good! I should be less of an Eeyore-type.

I do hope he proves to be a good pope. I see no reason not.

MechanicalTheatre Thu 14-Mar-13 18:38:16

I see what you mean LRD, but I am a hopeless optimist (Sagittarian, you know) and would at least be happier to have a good and nice pope since we seem to have to have one.

I like this new pope too.

I like to look for the good in people.

I think as an individual, he may be great. And I am holding out hopes that his papacy will see great strides forward. But, I feel uncomfortable with the idea that a pope who's got a history of objecting to other priests refusing to baptise the children of single mothers, is a positive thing. Surely it is a huge issue that anyone has ever thought it was ok not to baptise the children of single mothers? I don't know the Catholic doctrine that says that is an acceptable viewpoint, and if it exists, it is disgusting.

So, I guess what I'm saying is, sure, I want to look for the good, but there's the individual man (who may pretty impressive and saintly, or may be misguided, or may be both), and then there's the office. I find it hard to celebrate the filling of that office.

MechanicalTheatre Thu 14-Mar-13 18:18:55

I do like this new pope more than the old pope. He seems to genuinely live a very humble life, baptises the children of single mothers when others wouldn't, goes out into the slums, campaigns for social justice...OK, he is not perfect. But to have compassion for the poor, to speak up for those who are shunned and to eschew a lavish lifestyle are more than a lot of people do.

Honestly, it just makes me a bit sad that some people's first reaction (not on this thread, it's been very measured) is to try to find the bad/immoral stuff. My first impulse is to always look for the good in people - maybe I'm just naive/wildly optimistic.

I mean the theology that concerns the Papacy.

I accept it is harsh to expect any pope to be morally pure. I don't expect any pope to be morally pure. The Catholic Church accepts that one may be deeply sinful, and then redeem oneself. What (IMO) the Catholic Church does not really have a theological provision for, is a situation where one might be aware of horrible inequality and oppression in the world, and yet one might be unable to make a meaningful stand against it.

IMO this is different from the idea that God works perfection through imperfect humanity. I think that is a powerful idea, but I think the idea behind the papacy is really rooted in the assumption that the pope will be able to make meaningful statements about the whole Church. The Pope cannot - in this day and age - do this. Hitler Youth is only one example of why.

FairPhyllis Thu 14-Mar-13 18:00:26

Crossposted. Will come back to this in a few minutes.

FairPhyllis Thu 14-Mar-13 17:59:53

I don't quite understand what you mean by 'the theology of the papacy' LRD. Do you mean the administrative authority of the Pope over the rest of the RCC, or do you mean something like the view that he is Christ's primary representative on earth? (which of course isn't the view of many Christians anyway)

If it's the latter, then I think it is quite harsh to expect any pope to be a totally morally pure figure, and in fact St Peter would fail your test - you don't get more compromised than denying Christ publically. Yet Jesus still chose him knowing he would do this.

I mean, isn't the whole theology of priesthood that God uses imperfect people to share in Christ's priesthood and represent Him? Can't God call people who are seriously flawed and work through them?

I suppose my view is that God will work through the Church if He chooses despite the people.

Catholics believe that the Pope is guided by the Holy Spirit, and is the Vicar (which means, person acting as stand-in) of Christ. The idea is that God guided the cardinals, and that the Holy Spirit guides the pope.

The Pope has authority to give a definitive view. He doesn't just express his opinion as an ordinary human being who happens to be working for the Church - he's God's representative on earth.

Since Vatican II, there have been quite important changes within the Church, and over the last century the office of Pope has been associated with less and less ceremony. So I think it would be a natural process to lessen this still further.

thecapitalsunited Thu 14-Mar-13 17:39:34

I could be wrong but don't Catholics believe that becoming Pope gives you Holy Spirit superpowers? So it doesn't matter to them if the guy isn't perfect because God will guide them to the right decision regardless, just as God guided the cardinals to choose the right man for the job.

I don't believe in any gods and am not Catholic so I could be wrong.

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