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Cardinals confront crises as they meet to elect pope

Published: Thu, March 7, 2013 @ 12:00 a.m.

Catholics disillusioned with the Roman Catholic hierarcy can find solace in the willingness of the cardinals who will be electing a successor to Pope Bendict XVI to address the myriad problems that have caused deep divisions within the 1.2 billion-member church.

The upheaval is most evident in Europe and the United States, where Sunday Mass attendance is at an all-time low. The point of contention for Catholics who have fallen by the wayside is the seemingly standoffish attitude of priests, bishops, archbishops, cardinals and even the pope toward the ever-growing pedophile clergy scandal. For years, there was a major cover-up of the abuse of children, with guilty priests being reassigned by bishops to other parishes, rather than being punished.

But, as the civil lawsuits against Catholic dioceses mount, the heierachy of the church is forced to publicly admit that there were sins of commission, rather than omission, committed with regard to how the evil within the church has been addressed.

Even today, however, there is still an unwillingness by the men of the cloth to admit wrong- doing. Two cases in point: Cardinal Roger Mahoney, who has been shown to have moved predator priests from parish to parish when he was head of the Los Angeles diocese; and Britain’s Cardinal Keith O’Brien, who on Sunday admitted that he behaved inappropriately with priests and seminarians after first denying the allegations.

Another major issue to be taken up by the cardinals in Rome as they prepare to attend the papal conclave in the Vatican is known as “Vatileaks,” which exposed corruption and rivalries in the Vatican’s bureaucracy. Documents laying out in detail the behind-the-scenes maneuverings were published by an Italian newspaper. The documents were taken out of Pope Benedict’s office by his butler. The butler was convicted but was subsequently pardoned by the pope.

Benedict’s retirement last week has focused attention on the the operation of the Holy See, which has long been the topic of intrigue because of the secrecy that surrounds the Vatican.

Electing a new pope

The cardinals, who are expected to begin the process of electing Benedict’s successor next week, are well aware that the reputation of the Roman Catholic Church has been damaged. But they are being too close-minded if they believe that the decline in church attendance is the result of a loss of faith.

That’s what Cardinal Leonardo Sandri of Argentina suggested during an interview with Reuters news service.

Sandri said one of the greatest problems facing the church was “the loss of faith” among many who had “turned their back on God” and need to be brought back into the life of the church, Reuters reported.

There are many reasons Catholics do not attend Mass and other services as regularly as they used to, but a loss of faith isn’t the main one. Indeed, many Catholics in this country have joined other denominations.

The cardinals would do well to look within the structure of the Roman Catholic Church for explanations.

Cardinal Sandri was right when he told Reuters that the church must open itself up to women in the next pontificate, giving them more decision-making positions in the Vatican and beyond.


1jojuggie(1723 comments)posted 3 years, 4 months ago

Breaking News Story

WASHINGTON, DC - Sources close to the White House have learned that Barack Obama is planning to run for the office of Pope when the College of Cardinals convenes to elect a successor to ailing Benedict XVI at the end of this month. Calling on the promise of Equality for All, Obama is said to firmly believe that the time has come for a non-Catholic to occupy the Vatican 's highest office.

Foreseeing a looming citizenship issue, he states that he has discovered an Italian birth certificate that proves he was born in Rome before he was born in Kenya . "That Hawaiian birth certificate never has been worth what I paid for it anyway," he noted.

Continuing, he concluded, "And there's no way that a handful of cardinals could be more expensive to buy than Cook County, Illinois, or 10 million voters in Michigan."

Further questions should be directed to Obama's Papal Campaign Manager, Abdul Azeem Khan.

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2doubled(210 comments)posted 3 years, 4 months ago

it's simple. benedict was the church's version of the american teapublican. since the vast majority of people simply can't stand the american teapublicans. the vast majority of catholics were not on board with benedict's teapublican mindset, agenda, or whatever you want to call it. oh, and he was aware of the sex abuse going on in several large u.s. dioceses. in fact, i think a memo exists where he said to deal with it and make it go away quietly, or something along those lines. i don't knwo for certain what it said, but it seems he was aware and didn't do anything to punish any of the priests who did this stuff - even the ones who had admitted they did it. my husband is a life long catholic. he thinks benedicts retirement is the best thing that could have happened to the church. i agree.

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3jojuggie(1723 comments)posted 3 years, 4 months ago

Benedict should always be capitalized.

The term teapublican suggests you are a demo-c RAT. How does that sound?

It's easy to criticize. Some people in Argentina & the USA are already criticizing Pope Francis because he didn't stand up against dictators in Argentina - in their opinion.

I'll bet that if I were on a corner, of a street, passing out $50 bills, you would complain that I should be passing out $100 bills.

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