Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Pope Francis' election could mean it's time to return to the Church

Should we come back? Now that it's a pope named Francis who is being hailed as "a history-making pontiff," "a man who knows how to govern" and a leader from "outside the walls of Rome," is it a moment for those of us who were Catholic-raised and Catholic-educated to rejoin the church after having taken a powder years ago?

It was a strong tailwind of reasons that helped blow us out the door: revulsion at the child abuse scandals, the hierarchy's shielding of pedophile priests, the cruelty of church policy on gays and lesbians, the Vatican's clamping down on American nuns, the attacks on priests who support women's ordination, a calcified Eurocentric Roman bureaucracy that rules by fiat and not consensus. Then, too, a final turn-off: doctrinal rigidity. Rome has spoken; that's it, people. No discussion allowed.

What's to be learned soon enough about Pope Francis is whether he will be a tinkerer or an overhauler. The former is one who hauls his car to the local gas station and explains to the mechanic that the brakes are worn, the tires are flat, the radiator is not holding water, the oil leaks, the lower control arms are broken, the steering wheel can't turn, the headlights are out, the carburetor is shot, the doors won't lock and the wipers don't wipe. The car owner tells the mechanic to just squirt a bit of Havoline Supreme on the engine and the old girl will run fine.


National Catholic Reporter

by Colman McCarthy | Apr. 10, 2013

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