Filling them - one big problem
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Organized Religion May Be Satan's Greatest Masterpiece - Anon
Pope Benedict XVI has unloaded the heaviest burden on any one man in Christendom: with a papacy wracked with scandals and corruption, "Il Papa" has managed to shrug off a mountain of ills to his successor. Take your pick as to the reason for his resignation: pedophile priest cover-ups, Vatican bank money-laundering,Time Lord (see below) or ...
A potentially explosive report has linked the resignation of Pope Benedict XVI to the discovery of a network of gay prelates in the Vatican, some of whom -- the report said -- were being blackmailed by outsiders.
The pope's spokesman declined to confirm or deny the report, which was carried by the Italian daily newspaper La Repubblica.
The paper said the pope had taken the decision on 17 December that he was going to resign -- the day he received a dossier compiled by three cardinals delegated to look into the so-called "Vatileaks" affair.
And the infamous dossier in question has been sealed - ready for the next pontiff to deal with. It's three hundred pages of Vatican in-fighting, factions, bank improprieties, sexual abuse and secret, blackmailed gay networks. The last facet of the dossier was fueled years ago with aspersions implicating the pope himself and his involvement with his private secretary.
And, of course, the American media has made the most of it.
Vatican Secretary of State Tarcisio Bertone
said it was "deplorable" that as the time for the Roman Catholic
cardinals to elect a new pope approaches, a rash of "often unverified,
unverifiable or completely false news stories" has appeared.
Such unfounded stories "cause serious damage to persons and institutions," he said, and are an attempt to influence the cardinals' free will in the election "through public opinion."
Influence Of Free Will.
The makeup of the cardinal electorate is stunningly conservative: with over half of them elevated to cardinal by Benedict himself, and the other half made cardinal by John Paul II (also a conservative), the chances of a progressive pope being elected are exceedingly slim.
And "moderate" might not make it, either, because a "moderate" might not be able to clean up the scandals and give the papacy what it really needs: transparency. The dossier holds too much for conspiracy theorists to ruminate about and the "deplorable" "unverified" aspects of it. And those aspects may never be revealed to the satisfaction of the rest of the world. The cover-ups in the Catholic Church seem too pervasive to instill confidence in any moderate protecting even a small portion of the papacy's secrets.
And Ratzinger's will must be considered as well: with half of the electorate beholden to him for their positions, it is unlikely that the cardinals will dismiss any "favorite" off hand. The position of "dowager" pope has never been tested as to influence, and working behind the scenes as puppeteer is not without credibility.
Reasons For Resignation
So do the reasons given for resignation - old age, burden of scandals, passing on the problems of the Vatican to another prelate - really matter? Do Vatileaks or VatiGAYte count in the scheme of things to come? They may count to the Catholic laity who need to question in order to bring about reforms, but to the "faithful" - (those in third world countries in particular, where "liberation theology" has suppressed, for example), the reasons for resignation matter very little - only the election of a continuing, conservative pope matter to carry on all-important "tradition". Front-runners for pope like Timothy Dolan of New York, Peter Turkson of Ghana and Francis Arinze from eastern Nigeria are all conservatives. Although Dolan has the burden of his pedophile cover-up story as Archbishop of Milwaukee, the strength of traditionalism may yet again gloss over this negative. Turkson and Arinze have the masses of faithful in Africa much like the Musevenes in Uganda have, although Nigeria is considered to be the most corrupt nation in the world.
So whatever the reason for resignation, enacting reform isn't one of them. The papacy may continue on its course of Vatican II reversals.
At any rate, it doesn't look good for the future of the Vatican ... or Catholicism.