Once again the chimes are sounding a song of change. I know you hear it too. What are we to make of this song?
Resignation: “The most powerful gift of [Benedict’s] papacy.”
Here are “sounds from the chimes” offered by Joan Chittister. These words came in an email today (2/18/13) and are also posted on The Huffington Post in the Religion Section. I encourage you to read her entire essay, “On the Pope’s Resignation” and consider what she says. I find her insights powerful. ALL of Christianity, that is, the “one holy catholic and apostolic Church” of the creed, will be strengthened or weakened by what happens in its ‘Roman Catholic’ household. What do you hear?
The Church whose identity has been forever Western and European is less Western every day and barely European thanks to its declining numbers everywhere. …
Issues of collegiality are simmering everywhere, the voice of the laity is clear, the integrity of the church itself is suspect. Its total disregard for the contribution of women to it, either as an institution or as a spiritual system, has rent the cloth right down the middle. …
The attitude of the church toward gays has done as much to distance their families from the church as it has the GLBT community itself. …
These are not business-as-usual organizational questions in a changing world. These are issues that touch the very core of what it means to be human, to be holy, to be Christian, to be church. They are not going to disappear when this pontificate disappears. They have not been addressed by this pontificate in any way that gives hope for their resolution. But they have been exposed.
The fact that Benedict XVI has very humbly admitted the immensity of the present moment for the Church and decided to step out of it in favor of someone whose energies are fresher and, hopefully, more in touch with the pastoral problems of this transition from one era to another is, perhaps, the most powerful gift of this papacy.
The entire post: Benedict’s XVI’s Most Powerful Gift to the Church in “Religion” on The Huffington Post by Joan Chittister, 2/15/2013.
Image: Jarekt on WikimediaCommons