The New Today

Letters

Can the church transform itself?

Can a Religious Organisation like The Church of Rome (Catholic) be able to transform itself? Perhaps, but if history tells us anything The Roman Catholic Church has anchored itself not only in its unrooted theology but also in its very existence as a sovereign independent state, The Vatican.

There is so much to consider…

A Religion thousands of years old, with traditions both religious and cultural often unchanging.

The Vatican, an independent state among other nations, symbolising Religious Influence and Power.

An army of faithful. Lay, clergy, religious organisations such as the Franciscans. An army of 1.34 million faithful and growing.

Priests ratio to faithful 3,245 faithful to 1 priest.

Each religious organisation fights to remain close to their roots, even if society and their culture have changed.

Italian conservatism within the Church of Rome has great influence and significant power.

The Church has warehoused and on display treasures worth a Trillion dollars. Priceless in fact.

The Catholic Church Organisation is the wealthiest corporation on the planet, with cash, treasures, land – property amassed.

The Catholic Church is also the largest, most influential Men’s Club on the planet. The only one close may be found within Islam’s Clergy, the Mullah.

Well, starting Oct 4th, the Catholic Church will open its doors to unprecedented discussions among a massive diverging group within the Church, with women, lay people allowed to participate in discussions relating to the Church and its future.

Pope Francis has initiated a Synod among the Church’s officials to discuss Church traditions and policies such as allowing Women to become Clergy, developing a plan to use the wealth of the Church towards its ministries and missions.

There is untapped wealth within the walls of the Church, and using it for the benefit of the homeless, destitute, lost and ill is being discussed in secret, at the very top.

Making the Church inclusive to all that want to answer its call is paramount in these discussions. There is a strong conservative backlash however, where the Curia and higher ups question just how far these possible changes may go.

Cardinal Muller, a highly conservative and powerful official, fears progressive forces may very well make a “hostile takeover” of the Church itself and its mission.

The conservative right, as are most right wingers within various religions fear progressive policies both within their organisation and in civil authority too.

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The LGBTQ+ Community, Women’s passage to the pulpit, reinvesting the Church’s wealth, seeking accountability within the Church for historic corruption of funds intended for the poor, mistreatment of the faithful by clergy, Aboriginals restitution are but a few issues driving the faithful towards a blunt challenge of the Church’s hierarchy.

This move by the Church has initiated actions from other religious organisations. Southern Baptists finalise votes to keep women out of ministry. Islam’s highest issued propaganda stating women have no place within the religion’s clergy.

Many say the entire event may be a promotional gimmick, such as what has happened many times previously opening the hope of change, then saying further study and discussions are needed. Years later nothing really happens.

Stephen White, a fellow in Catholic Studies, argues the outcome is far too overblown, and that real change will probably not happen.

This move by the Catholic Church has both religious and civil authorities walking on eggshells, fearful of what changes will come and how it will ultimately affect them in their daily lives.

Russia fears a progressiveness within its Orthodox Church, Islam sees any change as a reason for their population to challenge them religiously, politically.

Iran sees this move by Rome as a possible initiative to further protests by their Women and oppressed population. Challenging the BOYS CLUB universally can lead to the undoing of many organisations, religious and economically political.

“If you care about diversity, don’t discount Christianity. It is the most diverse, multi-ethnic and multicultural movement in history”(Brother John, Friar TOR).

Remember how your faith directs you to start anew, away from sinfulness, directing you to do very good and understand yourself and your relationship with God?

Perhaps our many religious historic institutions need to do the same. Start anew. Understanding the past, its mission and doing better for the faithful, all communities and those yet waiting to hear the word of Hope.

“The greatest crime religion has inflicted upon humanity is that its mission is to unite, yet religion continues to separate and divide us” (Gandhi).

Religion separates us culturally, religiously, sexually, economically, politically and genetically. Think about it folks.

Find Peace within yourself, and who knows who you’ll meet?

Steven Kaszab
Bradford, Ontario