Monday, February 11, 2013

Pope Benedict resigns

I'm sure you've heard the news that Pope Benedict resigned (see NY Times, The Onion), probably due to declining health.  Chris H and PZ said they didn't care either way, but I care because I have the interest of an ex-Catholic.

I was still Catholic when Benedict became pope in 2005.  I recall most people (students and teachers) at my high school didn't like him.  The school was full of liberal Catholics, and Pope John Paul II was known to be one of the most liberal Popes ever.  Benedict, on the other hand, entered the papacy with the goal of healing rifts between the Church and its ultra-conservative factions.

Of course, John Paul II was only liberal in the relative sense.  It's worth noting that the scandals of priests raping children occurred before John Paul died.  And it was John Paul who decided that an appropriate response was to block people with "deep-seated homosexual tendencies" from being ordained (Ref).  He essentially ended the "don't ask don't tell" policy of the Catholic holy orders.  Sometimes the Catholic Church really is marching backwards.

The next pope may be slightly better or slightly worse than Benedict.  I don't have very high expectations, but the Church leads millions of people, so I hope for the best that is realistically possible.  Then I hope that people leave the Catholic Church so it doesn't matter.