02.11.2013 08:19 AM

The next Bishop of Rome

I’m still a bit stunned by this.  A Pope resigning?  Apparently that hasn’t happened in 500 years.

I am a hopeful (and church-going) Irish Catholic. As such, I am hopeful that the next leader of my church:

  • Finally ordains women as priests, and permits marriage of priests.
  • Finally agrees that gays can enter the sacrament of marriage, and the priesthood, too.
  • Finally accepts that abortion should be legal, safe and rare.

Will any of these things happen?  I dunno.  But, a decade ago, if you had suggested a black man could become President of the United States, you would have been laughed at.

So, we continue to pray.


  1. Glenn May-Anderson says:

    Well said. I’m a progressive protestant Christian, but a Christian nonetheless – and it’s good for ALL of Christendom if what you pray for comes to pass.

  2. CM says:

    Word on the street is that Gerard Kennedy is going to throw his hat into the ring for the papacy. When asked about this, Kennedy said that he doesn’t like to pass up on a any leadership contests. “Running for leader is what I do” said Kennedy.

  3. Ted H says:

    I have never admired this particular Pope, much too small a man to fill the shoes of St. Peter or even those of the previous pontiff. Too much an apparachik of the church establishment, with no charisma or bold spirit. However, in resigning due to age and health, rather than linger on until death as an ineffective husk, as so many of his predecessors have done, he has shown rare courage and understanding. He is worthy of great respect.

  4. The very most you could expect is for him to say that birth control is permitted.

    For the Catholic Church to say that would probably bring more benefit (especially in the Third World) then any of the other more “radical” ideas you list.

    I’m surprised you forgot to list the ban of birth control. Is it so widely ignored that people forget it exists.

  5. greatgranma says:


  6. Michael Bussiere says:

    These policies have led to the fracturing and the near-demise of both the Anglican and United Churches of Canada. It is one thing to see this from the perspective of a modern liberal democracy, but the Vatican is neither modern nor democratic. Furthermore, it predates the whole idea of left/right wing by many many centuries. It also has to take into consideration that the largest bulk of its membership is now in Latin America, Africa and Asia.

    • James Smith says:

      Good point.
      To it I might add if changing the Mass from Latin led to a minor schism, each one of Mr K’s 3 wishes would set off a Major schism, especially #2 & #3. Point #1 might have see a net increase in Church attendance however.

  7. greatgranma says:

    SORRY…ANGEL..loss of spectacles.

  8. Neal says:

    the Pope has no power to change any of those teachings. In fact he must defend them, regardless of what his personal views may be.

    • j.kerr says:

      Au contraire, re #1b; married priests;
      The pope does have clear authority to allow this at almost any time; it does not go against any biblical or even canonical principle; the celibat priesthood in the western rite is a rule similar to no meat on Fridayor other rules that can be revoked etc.
      Further, the Catholic Church has married priests now and has had for a long time;
      * from some of the Eastern Catholic rites with married clergy;
      * from converted married anglican priests

      The other parts of the wish list would be more difficult and require reinterpretation of past doctrines, but like the elimination of limbo and St. Christopher, they could potentiallly be accomplished.

  9. Matt says:

    This could be such an opportunity to shift to modernity. To embrace the changes within society and create an open and inclusive church for all that will stem the tide of distrust and a perpetually vanishing membership. I fear the chance will be lost once again though. Faith is a good thing, one of the best things regardless of particular stripe. I have none in the Roman Catholic bureaucracy however. It will be a leadership convention with a puff of smoke at the end. I fear if they don’t change there wont be enough fuel in the future to even make that.

  10. frmr disgruntled Con now Happy Lib says:

    Didnt Saint Malachy predict the next Pope would be the last one?……Peter the Roman?……..

  11. Cory says:

    I blame Katy Perry’s Grammy dress.

  12. MississaugaPeter says:

    Pope Benedict XVI understands the importance of leading one of the world’s oldest institutions. Doing the right thing.

    New Pope is coming from the Americas or Africa. World Youth Day in Rio will be exciting this summer!

  13. Sean says:

    As a fire breathing Agnostic who went to Catholic schools, I’ve always been intrigued by how little Catholics know of their own history. They give up on change too quickly, asserting that “It’s always been this way” or “these old guys will never change”. Well, it hasn’t always been this way and the old guys do change sometimes. It obviously hasn’t changed enough, but it has shown over history that it is more than capable of adapting to the times.

  14. Reality.Bites says:

    I don’t care what the new Pope believes, so long as he stops trying to impose it on non-Catholics through civil law.

  15. Paul says:

    It has always struck me as absurd that members of a religion that is at odds with their so-called “progressive” sensibilities would even bother to continue their participation in said faith.

    If one accepts the existence of an omnipotent deity whose word is law, it would seem to me that you’re either all in or you’re out, with none of this “well, I’m a devout believer buuuuut….. maybe we can just change this and that to make it a little more politically correct.”

    • Reality.Bites says:

      God hasn’t done much speaking lately. The bible and every other religious text on this planet, even if they were at one time the word of God, are now through translation and adaptation 100% the word of man.

    • Ted B says:

      I’m not a religious person, and certainly not a Roman Catholic, but it has always struck me as absurd that members of a religion who accept the existence of an omnipotent deity whose word is law, would just accept what a bunch of wealthy and powerful and often obviously self-serving men, many of whom were illiterate, dating back thousands of years, would tell you the meaning of the Bible is, when it is clear that they have changed this and that to make it a little more politically correct in the past just fine.

  16. Philippe says:

    Agree with your points Warren. The Vatican refuses to evolve with the times and wonder why religion is on the decline. The only body that is less responsive to changing times is the Republican party!

  17. Cath says:

    One thing’s for sure. This news has trumped anything else today…..including Wynne’s swearing in and the new cabinet. I’m thinking that’s a good thing though. I bet Sandra P. is happy today.

  18. John says:

    I’m a cowardly piece of human garbage.

  19. bluegreenblogger says:

    Hmm, these things might be consistent with contemporary liberal values, but the Catholic Church is neither modern, nor liberal. I am nominally a Catholic, and yes, I go to church on Sundays ( I confess largely for my kids benefit). I am also a liberal, and I recognise there is a fundamental conflict there. I guess my problem is that I lack Faith, I just cannot bring myself to believe without some kind of compelling evidence. That said, the Church has an internally consistent theology, built up over 16 centuries (wow!), and these elements are integral to it. I really do not know if ANY of the things you would like to see can be reconciled with Catholic faith, but it would surprise me if they could. One thing I am pretty sure of is that the Church would not long survive an abrupt 180 degree turn on ‘progressive’ social issues. Building an airtight case for any of them will take some time, and likley a couple of Popes in a row. The last time such fundamental ‘modernising’ reforms were attempted quickly, the christian world was convulsed by a series of horrific wars. Yes, the counter-reformation DID eventually reform the church in many important respects, but the cost was almost un-believable. Long and short is, I think that given a lot of time, the Church could evolve in a liberal direction. If the job is rushed, then the outcome will not be pretty.

    • Ted B says:

      I’m not a religious person, and certainly not a Roman Catholic, but I reject the view that the Roman Catholic church is not liberal. Far more accurate to say that (a) as an institution it is neither liberal nor conservative in the political sense, and (b) it’s more conservative (politically) elements are more at odds with modern liberal democratic state values than its more liberal (politically) elements are at odds with modern liberal democratic state values.

      Cases in point: welfare, capital punishment, gun violence, environment, evolution, all so-called liberal values, but all part of RC catechism and all part of the modern western state.

      Just because the far right claims to be the only true vision of Christianity because of vast differences of opinion on some issues does not mean they are correct.

      • Bluegreenblogger says:

        Uh, liberal does not mean something vague Ted. Think John Stuart Mills. The far right and far left that you are referring to each subscribe to many liberal ideals. I hate the use of the word like that, because something precise is being replaced by something very wooly indeed.

  20. Lynn says:

    I think allowing priests to marry and allowing women to be ordained as priests, and to generally have a greater role in the church would be a breath of fresh air for the church. It is not a biblical edict that prevents marriage, it is church doctrine and that could be changed if the will is there. Aside: I could not believe my eyes this past summer when a nun hit the crosswalk button and she was under 25, still in training, I have not seen a young nun for 40 years. Giving women a larger and meaningful role would make many Catholic women, young and old happy– the time has come, change or wither away. I am not a fan of any religion, but if the Catholic church took a step forward that would be such a positive thing for it’s followers and a good example to all religions that change does not mean losing faith or members. Change will keep the faithful in the pews IMO.

  21. John Cooney says:

    The day women and non-heterosexuals are equal in the Roman Catholic Church is the day the KKK accepts blacks and Jews.

    As per the Prime Minister’s public apology, the Catholic, Anglican, Presbyterian, and United Churches should be liquidated as reparations for the victims of abuse, especially Aboriginals.

    As you self-identify as an “Irish Catholic,” consider:

    “The Taoiseach, meanwhile, has been met with standing ovations for his salvo against the Vatican for failing to respond with sufficient concern to the clerical sex abuse scandals as described in the Cloyne report.

    His justice minister, Alan Shatter, is introducing a highly controversial Bill which will compel Irish priests to disclose the secrets of the confessional where pedophilia is mentioned: failure to do so could result in a five-year prison sentence.”


    Regardless, of sect or ideology the protection of children is paramount for all civilized and just societies.

  22. Bill MacLeod says:

    Whoa! Hold up there big guy. 😉

    Either Catholicism is the Word of God, or it’s not.

    If one believes it’s the Word of God, then the aforementioned God is going to be pretty ticked that mere mortals are changing his words in order to “shift to modernity” or to “embrace the changes within society” or even to “create an open and inclusive church for all”, if I may steal some verbiage at random from one of your many commenters.

    If one does not believe it’s the Word of God, then no matter. One has no reason to be Catholic, nor would there be a purpose for the religion, other than as some attempt to mould and govern society. That would effectively make it a global political party and a rather redundant one at that, since its societal views are generally represented by other political parties, albeit frequently fringe ones, in most democratic countries.

    So, God has a choice if he indeed wants to effect your changes: send another Son.

    Man also has a choice: believe or disbelieve at their leisure — or peril, I suppose.

    • Ted B says:

      You are mixing up the religion, religious practices, the Bible and interpretations of them all.

      I don’t think even Roman Catholics claims that “Catholicism is the Word of God”. The Bible is not Catholicism and vice versa. There are many practices of the Roman Catholic Church that do not originate from the Bible, and many practices set out clearly in the Bible that have been dropped by the RC Church.

      So if god is going to be ticked about a “shift to modernity” he got ticked long ago when the RC Church began opposing slavery and polygamy and blood sacrificse and other practices clearly sanctioned by the Bible.

      Man does indeed have a choice: use or not use hyperbole at their leisure.

  23. Bill MacLeod says:

    You may have your testaments mixed up, and hence your Sons, but I’m not going to quibble.

    The bottom line is, if man is the one making these important calls, then unless man is capable of offering me eternal life, I have better things to do with my Sundays.

  24. Lance M says:

    Abortion legal!!!! they don’t even think families should have help if there is fertility issues? It will a long time before they change those ideals considering they don’t believe that one should interfere with the creation of life let alone the destruction of life.

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