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The Crisis is Fundamental April 2, 2010

Posted by Mary W. Matthews in Religion & Theology.
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Who could fail to notice the ongoing crisis in Roman Catholicism? — the heartbreaking news that a small percentage of Roman priests have been practicing pedophilia, rape, and similar crimes for decades, and that the Magisterium has been not merely turning a blind eye but actively covering up these felonies is finally both undeniable and irrefutable.

And then there’s the unsurprising but also heartbreaking news that from the pope on down, not one overprivileged man in the Magisterium appears capable of discerning that the Church’s problem is fundamental, structural. The pope appears to think a Bandaid will take care of the booboo of a few priestly “sins,” but that there is no earthly need for a shakeup in R.C. dogma; in fact, there is no need for the Church even to contemplate serious self-examination. Just make priests’ seminary education a little more stringently focused on R.C. orthodoxy, and there will never be another, similar problem. Now shut up and sit down.

I don’t think religion itself is the problem. I think virtually all problems in religion are caused by those who have deified their own view of religion. This is easiest to see in militant Islam, in Mormonism, in Scientology, in Colorado Springs, and in Roman Catholicism.

The reaction of Pope Benedict (whom I continue to think of as “Joey the Rat”) has been amazingly tone-deaf, and I believe it comes from his decades of defending R.C. orthodoxy. In my opinion, first-century Christianity was a religion of absolute equality — “male and female, Jew and Gentile, slave and free,” etc. — and Roman Catholicism has morphed this equality into a rigid, androlatrous hierarchy of power. According to THEM, one can only approach God through the intermediation of the R.C. Magisterium.

I believe Roman Catholicism is facing a major crisis of structure, and the BEST I can envision is a schism in which American R.C.s break away from the bishop of Rome. Joey the Rat continues to defend the status quo (he says the true problem is inadequate education in R.C. seminaries!), and the status quo is doomed.

Does one need the vast edifice of the Roman Catholic androcracy, or can one interact with God without it? Does one need to worship R.C. dogma as if it were divine, or can one worship God without believing, e.g., that the pope is infallible when ruling on a matter of doctrine? If only males can represent God at the altar, doesn’t that mean that Genesis 1:27 and 5:1-2 are lies? What if there IS NO hell, or purgatory, or limbo, or transubstantiation? What if Jesus was right when he told his followers they were just as capable as he was of interacting with God in the same ways he did?

If the Magisterium is right, if you can only interact with God through obedience to the Magisterium, why did neither Jesus nor Paul ever say so?