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Tuesday, 24 November, 2020

New Boss ... Same Institution

Date: 20 April, 2005

By: Chief

Imagehe passing of Pope John Paul II meant, among other things, that the College of Cardinals would meet in what is known as conclave and elect a new pope and head of state. The conclave commenced on the 18th of April and by early evening on the 19th a new pope and head of state had been elected. Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger from Germany became the Church's 265th pontiff and head of state. He took the name Benedict XVI.

Now while this is not exactly earth shattering news, what is of interest is the amount of whining going on from various 'liberal' members of the church and some of its officials. Benedict XVI, prior to becoming pope was (a) John Paul II's right hand man and (b) was in charge of the "Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith." By the way, this same office used to be called the "Holy Office of the Inquisition." Joyful ... yes? Not on your life.

Ratzinger's job, therefore, was to enforce church doctrine. A conservative individual with hard-core beliefs such as homosexuality is the beginning of anti-religion, no birth control, no women priests to name but a few of his long held beliefs. As such, during his reign as chief inquisitor, he earned several unflattering nicknames including "The Pope's Enforcer" and "God's Rottweiler."

But the big thing here is that there are people complaining about him not 'modernizing' the church. Uh, excuse me, but if you do not like the organization, then leave it. And that is what really gets me. Whiners.

Before I go any further, let me state this real damned clearly — I am not a member of the Catholic Church. Period. That said, the church, any church, like any organization or association has rules. Churches, organizations and associations normally do not force a person to join — their club. Unions are a possible exception. If you desire to join a club, whatever it is, it might behoove you to check out the the requirements are prior to joining. Gee, to me that only makes sense. One might even go so far as to discuss joining the club with other people who are already members. Or maybe even attending, as a guest, a couple of club meetings or functions or both. Think about it, you are not going to do a swan dive off the nearest swimming pool's high dive without checking so see if there is enough water in the pool. It is called 'doing the research before taking the plunge'.

By doing those kind of things most people can make an objective decision as to whether or not a particular club is worth joining. I do realize that there maybe the occasional 'bump in the road' where something goes wrong or a member does not agree with something. These bumps, however, are usually few and far between. Besides, the member is normally free to leave the club, to renounce or not renew his or her membership. Pretty basic and pretty simple. It is also effective.

And that is what gets to me. All these whiners complaining about the church rules. If they do not like the rules ... then why the Sam Thump did they join the church in the first place? It makes no sense. None whatsoever. Furthermore, no one, not one single soul is forcing the whiners to remain members of the club. So why don't the whiners renounce their membership and leave. Ain't nobody stopping them. I even went so far as to drive past a Catholic church on a recent Sunday and did not see any signs of any armed sentries guarding the doors thus preventing any person, and especially a whiner, from escaping the clutches of the church and seeking freedom. No, the whiners continue to remain members and, of course, whine.

In San Francisco it is all about whiners, as a recent poll reflected. 69 percent of those polled thought the new pontiff "would promote obsolete doctrines."

Let's cut to the chase right here, right now. The Catholic church has been around for what, oh 2000 years or so. They currently have approximately 1.1 billion members. Their financial wealth is in the - and this is a conservative estimate - many, many billions of dollars. Their political power is basically unmatched by any other political power anywhere in the world, including the U.S. Hence, it seems to be that the majority of the members are content with:

That is reality folks. Besides, while the church leadership maybe conservative, old, not hip, etc., they are certainly not stupid. If the Catholic membership started to go into a tailspin and did not stop something would be done to correct the problem. Whether the problem was a real problem or a perceived problem. Make no doubt about that. But their membership is not in a tailspin. It is continuing to grow. Indeed, according to Michael Novak in a recent New York Times editorial it is the:

"[P]arishes and dioceses that choose 'modernization' usually end up losing numbers [members], while the more serious churches grow mightily."

That is also a reality. Therefore, as I see it, the whiners have but two options:

That's it. There is no option (c), (d) or even (z). Period.

In short whiners — shut up or leave.

[Story update:] Per Wikipedia:

"On 11 February 2013, the Vatican confirmed that Benedict XVI would resign the papacy on 28 February 2013, as a result of his advanced age, becoming the first pope to resign since Gregory XII in 1415. At the age of 85 years and 318 days on the effective date of his retirement, he was the fourth-oldest person to hold the office of pope. The move was considered unexpected. In modern times, all popes have stayed in office until death. Benedict is the first pope to have resigned without external pressure since Celestine V in 1294."

[Ed. note: This story has been updated.]

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