SHOULD POPE FRANCIS RESIGN TO SAVE THE CATHOLIC CHURCH
Pope Francis has now being a year in office and after a year we are entitled to assess him and his record.
When he was elected he was generally unknown. But there were negative reports about him from Argentina. As the superior of the Jesuits in Argentina he had a reputation for being autocratic. There were also stories about him denouncing Jesuit colleagues to the corrupt Argentinian government.
There were other impressive stories about him abandoning his episcopal palace and living in a simple apartment. There were stories about him travelling humbly on the buses and underground. There were stories about his goodness and closeness to the poor people in the ghettos.
Has anything changed? Well he does not live in the Apostolic Palace - but he has taken over a whole floor of the Santa Martha Residence.
He says Mass every morning for the humble Vatican staff.
He does not wear all the finery popes before him wore - including Pope Benedict.
He has said that he personally would not like to judge gay people.
He has hinted that he would not oppose government bringing in civil marriage for gays.
But is all that enough in a Church that is so thoroughly corrupt and so thoroughly a contradiction to the teachings of Jesus Christ.
The Roman Catholic Church is like the cruise liner CONCORDIA - it is thoroughly on the rocks and as an institution is only fit for the scrappers yard.
The captain of the Concodia was responsible for its shipwreck. The captains of the Catholic Church - the popes, cardinals, bishops and clergy are responsible to the wreck that is the Church today.
Pope Francis must decide if he wants to be another irresponsible captain or whether he will be the captain who will take the Church (Barque of Peter) off the rocks and make it seaworthy again.
Gestures like not living in the Apostolic Palace and not wearing finery will not be enough.
Bigger and bolder actions must be taken - actions like:
1. Replacing the clergy in the Roman Curia with qualified lay people. You do not have to be a priest or bishop to be administrator. Send those curial clergy out to parishes where priests are needed. Create jobs by employing qualified lay people to run the administration in Rome.
2. Abolish the College of Cardinals as it exists and create a new college of "cardinals" which will consist of bishops, priests, lay men and women and experts in various areas.
3. Let the popes of the future be elected by bishop, priest and lay representatives from each country around the world.
4. Make celibacy for priests optional.
5. Let women be ordained bishops, priests and deacons.
6. Promote traditional church teaching on sexuality but allow people to apply it to their own lives according to the consciences. In other words let there be OBJECTIVE morality and SUBJECTIVE morality.
7. Let the Vatican stop behaving like a country and sack the papal nuncios around the world and send them into parishes. Let the local churches deal with their national governments.
8. Put a woman in charge of a new CONGREGATION FOR WOMEN AND CHILDREN.
9. Let the church teach their sincerely held doctrines to their own members but let civil governments and their citizens decide if they want civil marriage for gay people.
10. Give up control of education to civil governments. Evangelise people in their parishes, homes and Sunday schools.
These are but a few suggestions. Pope Francis would not want to make these changes and even if he did the mafia in Rome would block him or even kill him like they did John Paul 1.
Francis now knows first hand just how corrupt things are in Rome. Maybe the best thing he could do would be to resign like Pope Benedict. The resignations of two popes in quick succession might act like a defibrillator to the heart of the Church which if not already dead - has certainly stopped beating in time with the heart of Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit.
Francis - if you read this - please watch the the Italian film with English subtitles - the trailer to which I have added below: