Friday, July 13, 2007

The Nazi Pope Emerges

Musings on the Pope who took the name Benedict and has now called himself the Supreme Pontiff of the only One True Church, while all other churches do not deserve the name.

By Paschal Baute, pastoral psychologist, Lexington, Ky, July 23.
Married Catholic priest of the Celtic rite.

When I mentioned this latest papal proclamation to my Italian surgeon preparing to operate on my knee, he said it was not only against Benedict, but also against religion and common sense.

Let me set a context for my remarks. I am proud to have been a Benedictine monk for 16 years from age 23 to 39, the youth of my life. I do not regret any of those years. I do not believe we can outdo God in generosity. In fact, I was so in love with my Benedictine vocation that I twice refused Holy Orders because I feared that the busyness of the priestly work might undermine or destroy my monastic vocation. (Actually it contributed....)

The Rule of our Holy Father Benedict is one of moderation, reverence, humility summarized in the two words: Work and Pray. This Pope cannot be even familiar with the rule, because Benedict advises the Abbot that he should listen to the least in the monastery because "Christ might speak though him." Not even to restrict listening to members of his own monastic family, Benedict also advises the Abbot to listen to the stranger who comes to the gate, because Christ might also speak through him.

Not only is this pope dishonoring the good name and great tradition of Benedict, but he is also rejecting modern biblical scholarship. No biblical scholar of any note holds the literal view that Jesus gave the church to Peter as its head. The text in question, "thou are Peter, and upon this petra (rock), I will build my church..." is the only text on record where Jesus uses the word "church." It is widely accepted that church was not a semitic word and could not have been used by Jesus, that this text is a post - Easter editing, added to affirm the contemporary leadership of Peter among the disciples.

This pope wants to restrict the validity of church only to the Roman Catholic tradition. He ignores and dishonors the wealth of scholarship that Jesus never established any church, and never intended to do so. Jesus was a charismatic prophet attempting to return his own faith to its deeper wisdom, loving God totally and one’s neighbor as oneself.

Several years ago, at the time of his election to the papacy, several Catholics asked me what I thought. I said, "Wait and see. He will reveal his true stripes in time. But he will also need a conversion from his previous history." Unfortunately,.he will be known, I believe, now as the Nazi Pope, willing to discount by authority alone all other ways to God. This is a spiritual fascisim, an authoritarian political ideology willing to subvert the individual to the interests of the state.

Like Pope Paul VI who went too far in his enclyclical denouncing birth control and was so shocked at the world-wide negative response that he never issued another enclyclical, this I predict will be the waterloo of the papacy of this Pope. After this, how can he have any endorsement of moral leadership in the church and in the world.

It is one more sad example of leaders who surround themselves with sycophants, butt kissers, and end up living inside their own bubble. Which happens everywhere. In all realms. The people are the church. Not the Pope nor the hierarchy. This is a reminder to them to go deeper. They are not more specially graced Christians because they have a Pope. Many popes have gone off the deep end in history.

Jesus, IMO, never gave power over others to any one. This is the monarchical heresy adopted by the Church of Rome from the time of Constantine. It reached its epitome in the Declaration of Infallibility at the First Council of the Vatican in 1870-71. It is a mistaken teaching and can be shown to be false. A previous pope actually condemned the teaching.

What is worst and tragic about this Pope's statement is that he now joins other religious leaders who have declared their own faith view to be superior to all other views. He joins the religious fanaticism of our times when thousands believe that dying for one's faith justifies the slaughter and murder of many innocents, including women and children. This pope has now joined the evil forces in the world who threaten the life of civilization which depends on tolerance and respect for others' religious beliefs.

Leadership has one purpose only: service Jesus is the awakener, who calls us to loving service of brothers and sisters everywhere. He never even called us to church. He said when you pray, go to your closet and pray in secret. He knew then that any gathering of people for devotional purposes would be undermined by the craving for power, envy and greed, questions of turf and authority.

When one can attend hundreds of Eucharistic prayers or Masses and never hear the pain or loneliness of the person sitting next to you, there is simply something really wrong, contrary to Jesus message, in that kind of religious practice.

The actual practice of religion is mostly in the service of empire since the age of Constantiine, as Roman Catholic bishops keep on showing us. This pope is simply the latest outrage.

Love God and do what you will You will be a good and faithful servant.

My own service, blessed daily, of the cancer survivor, is
a jail ministry program in which ten volunteers contribute weekly,
a wedding ministry, college teaching, leadership in an interfaith spiritual growth group,
storytelling in public schools and various groups and writing.