Thursday, July 24, 2008

One Step Forward, Ten Steps Back

I'm really not liking this Pope Benny, if he sticks around much longer the gains of Vatican II will be lost for the Roman Catholic church. Consider the reinstatement of the pre-Vatican II Latin Rite mass. This concession has appeal only for the hyper-conservatives who oppose the advances of Vatican II. Now I hear about the reinstatement of indulgences??? What the hell is Benny thinking. For those of us who know our church history, indulgences was a key contributing factor to the Protestant Reformation. The idea that the church can impart its supposed merit on behalf of another has no grounding in anything but medieval notions of a mechanistic relationship to salvation. I do x and God is obliged to do y, and it is all endorsed by the church. This is actually the sin of witchcraft, the idea that we can manipulate God. It is also bad theology of the Church which is not an independent repository of merit or grace. Grace comes from God alone and not on account of anything we do - it is a gift. Indulgences is a truly horrifying practice, an artifact that I had hoped had long since passed.

You know I would have no problem if Benny pronounced a special blessing on those who visited Lourdes, or even took up any of a host of questionable Roman Catholic practices. But by elevating this to an indulgence he has given in again to the forces that wish to see Roman Catholicism returned to the culturally neutered forms of the past. Bad move Benny, perhaps our Just God will extend your time in purgatory to compensate for the false bill of goods you just sold all those faithful Catholics.


Michael Samson said...

A bold claim...You disappoint me...I've come to expect more from you. Surley you can do better...

One of Freedom said...

Mike this stuff really bugs me. I work a lot with Catholics who feel the pull away from Vatican II. Just last week I sat down with a brilliant Catholic theologian and heard his heart as he sees the church he loves undoing the progress it has made. This stuff frustrates me because Ratzinger is actually a smart guy, but he has some seriously flawed theology.

This is the primary reason I can't support papal primacy for the sake of unity. Putting aside that hierarchical leadership is just plain wrong, I understand putting up with structures that might not be perfect for the sake of the common good. We do that all the time politically as nations. But when you get a bad leader in there, like this current pope, you really see how this can derail a whole movement.

I hope you are not reading this as anti-Roman. I am very pro-Roman, but I'm not going to abide horrid theology in Rome any more than I would in my own denomination.

One of Freedom said...

That should be "even for the sake of unity."

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