Tuesday, 24 July 2012

Pope's Number 3 Lays Down the Law...

Priests looking for reforms in the Roman Catholic Church have just been told in no uncertain terms that there will be no relaxation of any of the Church's rules regarding divorce, remarriage or woman's roles. Particularly in Germany, where the Roman Church is hemorrhaging members, this has gone down like the proverbial lead balloon. In some areas other churches are gaining from this, but for many Roman Catholics there is little alternative but to walk away from faith altogether.

It seems that Rome has decided to once again retreat into the Medieval period, refuse to acknowledge anything but their own vision and, if you don't like it, well, you can lump it. In part this does reflect the fact that the Vatican has taken a battering in recent years. Unfortunately, instead of responding to the criticisms with open debate, presentation of the positives in their history (and there are many) or even attempting to address some of the things people are asking for - like married priests - they've put up the shutters and refused to speak to anyone. There was huge anger in Germany at the Pope's declaration that the Evangelical Lutheran's weren't a 'church' and therefore could not expect any concessions in Rome's stance on shared communion. Essentially he was simply reiterating Rome's long held position that the Lutheran branch of Christianity is simply a collection of rebel Roman Catholics who must first surrender to his authority before he'll talk to them.

This is apparent in his dealings with the Church of England and every other branch of Christianity. It is a blinkered and very stupid approach - especially for a man who claims that his 'Office' is to be Christ's sole representative here on Earth. I have no doubt whatsoever, that Christ Himself would reject Rome's stance out of hand where He to make His long awaited return now.

I find the current state of affairs with Rome, on the one hand, a little amusing, for, had Martin of Tours not expelled the Arianists from the Bishopric of Rome in 314 AD, Roman Catholicism, and quite possible most of Western Christianity would be far closer to Shia Islam. On the other hand I find myself constantly annoyed by Rome's presumption and dogmatic exclusion of everyone else from their communion. I think we can be very sure that Christ will have a lot to say on that score when we all face our final Judge.


  1. Was it not ever thus with Pauline christianity?

    Paul I guess was the "winner" in the Roman era and was therefore able to place his interpretation of the Christian story at the centre opf what became the Roman Church. In his letters to the Gallatians and to the Romans, one can already sense that the Jewish Messiah is not a welcome description of Christ and that the Council of Jerusalem was almost anti-semitic in some of its decisions.

    Only in the first chapter of the letter to the Corinthians does Paul focus totally on the nature of Christ as the figurehead. However, it is also there that the "Cross of Christ" becomes the focus and symbol of Christianity, replacing the fish almost totally. The fish as the food of life, replaced by a symbol of torture that became for many a symbol of repression.

    The canon that became our accepted scripture, probably only due to time and place, were also allegedly influenced by Paul. Certainly the Egyptian Copts and the precursors to the Russian and Greek Orthodox churches maintained a view that Christian thought had a continuum from the Gospels without the benefit of the Epistles!

    The work of O'Golo, himself described as a "Christian Anarchist" in Tom O'Golo (2011). Christ? No! Jesus? Yes!: A radical reappraisal of a very important life. p. 81. suggests 10 facets of the Roman Church that were "invented" or imposed by Paul; most of them the central tenets of the Roman Church that lead us to this "head in the sand" attitude as we enter the second decade of the third millenium.

    The refusal to accept that the world was changing turned Islam, in most of its forms from an exciting and cutting edge religion promoting scientific development, equality, international trade and so on into what we see today, a religion fervently followed by most of its adherants (Ramadan seemed to benefit Hashim Amlah at the Oval on Sunday!)but led by sect based fanatics in ways that persuade the West that Islam stands only for a backward looking misoginist band of terrorists; is this the future for Catholicism?

  2. Oh, yes, those 10 alledged impositions of Paul:

    1 Original sin

    2 Making the Jews the villains

    3 Making Jesus divine

    4 Transubstantiation of bread and wine to actual flesh and blood

    5 Jesus' death being seen as atonement for human sin

    6 Making Jesus the Messiah

    7 Shifting the emphasis from an earthly to a heavenly kingdom

    8 Enlarging the chosen people to include anyone that accepted Jesus as Saviour

    9 Making salvation a matter of belief in Jesus almost regardless of the demands of the Torah

    10 Establishing a hierarchy (literally a holy order) to create and control a Church and more importantly to create and control the beliefs of its membership.

    I can live with No.8 almost unconditionally, however, most of the others are, shall we say, open to debate to this day, unless you live in the Vatican City.

    The Vatican, of course, that would be the city with the highest per capita crime rate in the world, apparently 133%+ of the population must have commited crime based on the population / crime records! OK, the fact that a few million "visitors" pass through the gates each year probably accounts for the petty theft, but not for the murder of the Commander of the Swiss Guard or the collapse of the Vatican Bank when Ambrosiano was accused of doing the Mafia's Sicilian laundry.

  3. Certainly Paul brought in a number of Pharisaic tenets, and there was a huge debate in Nicea over the actual authentic 'canon' just as there was in 1226 - 66 AD in Baghdad over what the authentic text of the Quran was. At least at Nicea they included all the books they could prove were actually written by who they were claimed to be written by.

    The Papal 'supremacy' is of a much later date, arising around 500AD but not fully accepted and enforced until around 1100. The Orthodox branch broke away in 900, refusing to accept the Roman interpretation and the Copts just ignored it completely. The Archbishop of Alexandria also carries the title Pope, something not many realise. The Copts claim that Mary of Magdala is their 'Apostle' as well ... Probably one reason Rome always tries to paint her as the 'Woman taken in adultery ...' which she most certainly was not.

    Like you I have reached a state of Faith and I suspect an understanding that rejects the current interpretations applicable to 1, 2, 4 (The Roman version) 9 and 10.

  4. Any time His Holiness makes a declaration, just remember he was in the Hitler Youth! My, how my sides ache! I wonder what he thinks about the circumcision farrago?

    Slim Jim

  5. That's true, though what is probably not generally known is that no one had a choice on that, all boys were registered, but actual attendance - according to the Nazi's own records - was less than 50% of the registered numbers. In many areas there simply wasn't an adult willing to set up a cell and in others parents registered their children, then found ways to 'excuse' their attendance.

  6. Yet it is still not strict enough!