News+and+politics religion philosophy the cynic librarian: The New Pope

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

The New Pope

Congratulations are usually in order when a new leader is selected for a state. The problem with extending congratulations of this kind to the Catholic Church is that it and its leaders suggest that it is not a socio-cultural-political entity. "The Church" advertises its processes and procedures as effects of the Holy Spirit at work in the body of Christ. While I would like to believe these statements, I am doubtful that politics and other factors were not just as much at work in the selection of Pope Benedict XVI as was the Holy Spirit, if not less so.

Let me just say that I think that selecting John Paull II was an inspired choice 28 years ago. The current pope's selection was predictable. After the inroads into people's hearts and into church history, JPII opened up and widened the mass appeal of the Catholic Church for many from other religions and the non-religious. Yet, in his waning years, I began to see a siege mentality developing in the church hierarchy. With the advance of Xtian and Moslem fundamentalism, the Catholic Church itself is responding to fundamentalist elements within its own confines in its selection of Joseph Ratzinger to lead it for the next few years.

The advance of spiritual desolation in the form of levelling is all-encompassing. It cannot be stemmed or fought on any socio-cultural, ecclesiastical, or political front. The hardening of doctrinal boundaries or proposal of comprehensive religious solutions for worldly troubles is ultimately self-defeating. This is simply because modernism itself is a systematic effort at incorporating all differences and opposition and turning them into facets of itself.

The only "solution" to spiritual desolation is becoming an individual. One is faced with a stark choice: either dive into the dissolving waters of the modernist bath or gather one's spiritual forces into oneself and seek a relationship with the transcendent in fear and trembling. Any mass movement or institution is ultimately a temptation to lose oneself and become lost to eternal happiness.

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