It Goes with the Territory
Well, what do you know? Two people resigned this week: my husband, Mr. J, and His Holiness, Pope Benedict XVI.
One would imagine that Pope Benedict will get the best of everything in terms of a comfortable retirement. Not sure what's going to unfold for Mr. J.
One thing I do know: Mr. J was not the leader of the Roman Catholic Church.
I'll bet you've heard it already. Benedict XVI's retirement is the first such exit-stage-right since 1415. And most of the popes before that died in office as well. (Some, of course, were murdered.)
Far be it from me to tell the followers of the busy god what I think about their leadership, but I'll do it anyway.
Churches that are led by people who are elected in secret and then wear crowns and ride around in armored Humvees ought to have an ironclad rule: You lead until you die. Period. End of story. If you spend nearly a decade of your life dressed better than a king, adored by a billion-odd church members, you ought to be ready to prove, with your own life, that you are a mortal. Are your faculties declining? Is that crown getting too heavy for your aged head? Grow old before us! It goes with the territory.
One of the most important lessons religion teaches us is that we all die. If you're the pope, and you step down because you can't do the duties of your office anymore, you're not getting it. Dying at the helm is one of your duties. Going into a slow and painful decline is one of your duties! If not you, then who?
This is the same pope who re-instituted the Latin Mass. I don't get it. He was supposedly so conservative!
Granted, the Catholic Church has taken a beating lately, with the long-overdue revelation of priestly misconduct. No one will ever convince me that any man could be elected pope without knowing that some of his servants are criminals. But on Benedict's watch there was no denying it. Maybe he's tired of apologizing to victims of his church's power structure. Hey, Pope! It's your hot potato! Don't use the excuse that you're old for dropping it into someone else's lap!
I have never been a Roman Catholic, although Mr. J is one (unpracticing, but not necessarily apostate). Perhaps if I had grown up in that faith, I wouldn't find the lavish crowns, robes, castles, parades, and appearances so distasteful. It seems to me that, if you're representing a god who lived modestly, you should yourself live modestly.
The busy god in question is Jesus Christ. He died on public display, in agony. His representatives, especially the top-tier ones, should be willing to die on public display as well. Just saying that you gotta walk the walk of your deity, or your cred goes bust.
Bad form, Benedict. Unless, of course, you're immortal. Some people will look at it that way.
If you are looking for a bored god or goddess who won't expect you to work until you keel, well! Wow! I'm looking for one, too! Is there a bored god of comfortable old age? I'm in with the Crone. Anyone else?
Labels: Catholic church