Sunday, 2 September 2012

Journeys of transformation

Italian Cardinal Carlo Maria Martini, who died on Friday, aged 85 years, apparently "lashed out" at the Roman Catholic Church prior to his death saying it is "200 years behind" the times. I had a read through the Cardinal's remarks and it seemed to me that, rather than being an excoriating attack, suggested by the rather salacious sounding headline "Cardinal lashes the Church", Carlo Maria Martini's words were spoken more in sadness than in anger.

He suggested that Roman Catholicism needed to be less ritualistic and pompous, and that the changes should begin with "the Pope and his bishops."
"Our culture has grown old, our churches are big and empty and the church bureaucracy rises up, our religious rites and the vestments we wear are pompous."

 He also asked that the Church adopt a more generous attitude to divorced persons and should not focus on excluding the divorced from communion but on helping in complex family situations. He also commented on the child sex scandals which have particularly rocked Catholicism but which are not entirely unknown in other churches - witness the current condemnation of the "dysfunctional" attitudes and practice in Chichester dioces. Cardinal Martini said:
                   "The child sex scandals oblige us to undertake a journey of transformation."
Sometimes people are given a message to speak to others (we used to call them prophets) and I can see nothing in the Cardinal's message that is not  wise,deeply Godly and Christian. This is why I was particularly saddened to read that the Pope is now, "faced with a difficult choice of whether or not to attend the Cardinal's funeral on Monday." Difficult choice??!!! I would suggest that if the Pope does not attend it would be a tangible proof of the truth and veracity of Cardinal Martini's remarks , whereas if he does we would see a  more Christ like humility and grace in evidence and perhaps the funeral procession could mark the beginning of a journey of transformation.

3 comments:

  1. Well, Pope Benedict did not attend. I'm disgusted. What a cop out.

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  2. Says it all. He didn't attend because the truth hurts. It reminds me of the Wizard of Oz - behind the big screen was a very little man, who, as Dorothy says, was, "the great and terrible humbug". Sorry if that offends anyone. It is the danger inherent at the heart of all religion.

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  3. The Cardinal's remarks remind me of Pope John Paul I's ambitions for the RC Church's future; his death followed a month of massive amounts of overwork piled on this perhaps not very nervously robust man by the Curia. They're the power behind the throne, and perhaps in not attending the funeral Benedict was looking behind him.

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