Sunday, 25 October 2015

Civil War Erupts In The Vatican

Vatican synod holds its line on gay couples but offers new hope to Catholic divorcees | World news | The Guardian

Pope Francis’s enemies inside the church leaked false story that he had a brain tumour, enraged Vatican says | National Post

Despite starting off with high hopes that Pope Francis would prevail in the Synod of Bishops in his efforts to liberalise the Catholic Church and soften its image, after three weeks of tortuous and acrimonious debate, the conservatives have again prevailed and reaffirmed the Catholic Church's implacably hostile bigotry toward homosexuality, again declaring that homosexuality is an 'intrinsic disorder'.

Far from being a united band of 'brothers in Christ', struggling respectfully with deep theological issues and finally agreeing on a consensus view, the synod more resembled a war between competing dogmas and an uncompromising battle of egos with only the most grudging of concessions such as on the matter of respect for homosexuals as individual. There was nothing to resemble forgiving your enemies or turning the other cheek. As Rosie Scammell in the Guardian said:

Although bishops agreed that people should be treated with respect “independently of their own sexual tendency”, the reference to gay Catholics was viewed in terms of “accompanying the families in which people with homosexual tendencies live”, rather than accepting same-sex relationships.

The bishops also criticised international bodies they said were pushing poor countries to introduce same-sex marriage laws with the promise of aid.

The degree of resentment and acrimony in the Vatican, centred around the character and leadership of Pope Francis himself, can be judged by the anonymous leak last Thursday to the Italian newspaper, Quotidiano Nazionale of a story that Pope Francis is suffering from a brain tumour which is impairing his judgement and mental faculties, and the Vatican's response to the story, which was to immediately blame the conservatives and forces of reaction in the Vatican.

According to this article, liberal cardinal, Walter Caspar, whose views closely follow those of Pope Francis, said, "Certain people, both inside and outside the Church, are nervous about the outcome of the Synod". Massimo Franco, a leading Vatican expert said that whoever had leaked the tumour story was aiming to undermine the “legitimacy” of the Pope. He wrote in Corriere della Sera:

This nasty story seems to have been concocted by the enemies of Jorge Mario Bergoglio [Pope Francis] to let him know that he is in their sights.

The story in Quotidiano Nazionale alleged that the Pope had been secretly examined by a Japanese surgeon, Dr Takanori Fukushima, who has found a benign, treatable brain tumour - something later vehemently denied by both the Vatican and Dr Fukushima. Clearly, the reference to a 'secret' examination was intended to imply that the story had come from a well-positioned Vatican insider, reinforcing the idea that this bizarre story was intended as a warning shot to Pope Francis.

Faced with the seemingly impossible situation where, unless the Catholic Church fails to liberalise it will continue to haemorrhage members in the developed, industrial world, and if it does liberalise, it will haemorrhage them in the underdeveloped world where Catholic bishops still support repression and persecution and actively work to maintain the poverty, prejudices, superstitions and social divisions on which their power-base depends, Pope Francis has now begun moves to delegate such matters as the involvement of divorcees in Church life to the level of individual diocese. Matters that were once deemed to be matters on which God himself held opinions which he conveyed to the world through the infallible medium of the Pope himself, are now to be subject to the personal prejudices of the local bishop because, presumably, the local bishops feel unable to agree with God.

By last Friday, the Synod, far from reaching a consensus, was reduced to voting, paragraph by paragraph, on a final text which included 1,355 suggested changes.

The shambles which ensued when what was supposed to be a triumphant visit to the USA to show Pope Francis' liberal credentials and so halt the decline in church membership of those repelled by the Church's intolerant, inhuman judgmentalism, degenerated into a farce when he was tricked by conservatives into appearing to endorse archbigot, convicted homophobic criminal and apostle of Christian hate, Kim Davis, is continuing unabated. The conservative Italian newspaper, Il Giornale, described the Vatican as "in chaos" and speculated about "the shadow of a plot" asking, "Who wants the Pope dead?"

The question now is how much longer are the conservatives inside the Vatican and in the Catholic Church's hierarchy of bishops and cardinals going to tolerate Pope Francis and his liberal leanings, and how soon is Francis going to realise that, just as his deeply unpopular predecessor did, he's suddenly 'decided' it's time to retire to a backroom in the Vatican, well away from the public, to contemplate deep matters of faith, while those who actually run the Church decide which figurehead to put up next.

One thing is for sure, the Catholic Church is collectively digging its heels in and is going to resist with all means available being dragged into the 21st Century.

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1 comment :

  1. Nothing like a good down-and-dirty poo-flinging religion fight! Pass the popcorn.

    ReplyDelete

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