Wednesday, March 06, 2013

Rome must abandon its centralising and authoritarian tendencies

Having dealt with ‘Papal Infallibility’, mandatory clerical celibacy, and the possibility of the mutability of canon law with regard to lady cardinals, today His Grace – temporarily occupying the Chair of St Peter – turns to the need for the Roman Catholic Church to reform its model of governance.
'In exercising supreme, full, and immediate power in the universal Church, the Roman pontiff makes use of the departments of the Roman Curia which, therefore, perform their duties in his name and with his authority for the good of the churches and in the service of the sacred pastors' (Decree concerning the Pastoral Office of Bishops in the Church, Christus Dominus).
Which is all well and good when the Pontiff and his Curia are of one mind – theologically, ecclesiologocally and spiritually. But there is more than a little opportunity in this bureaucratic authoritarianism for obstruction, obfuscation, ‘up-focused’ functionalism and theological activism. The Secretariat of State has the power and authority to act and speak with all the authority of the Pope himself. And one cardinal ultimately sits aloft 12 Councils, nine Congregrations, seven Pontifical Commissions, five Pontifical Academies, four Offices, three Tribunals, one Synod, and the Swiss Guard.

The cardinal who presides over this vast machinery is something of a bishop-bureaucrat chimera; a cross somewhere between vice-pope and Sir Humphrey. The Italian (and papabile) Cardinal Gianfranco Ravasi recently denounced the ‘divisions, dissent, careerism, jealousies’ that afflict the Vatican bureaucracy. Pope Benedict XVI also alluded to the Vatican’s dysfunction, deploring how the church is often ‘defiled’ by attacks and divisions and urging its members to overcome ‘pride and egoism’. In his final comments to the Curia, he lamented the ‘evil, suffering and corruption’ that has defaced the Bride of Christ.

The Roman Curia is simply no longer fit for purpose: the proposition that 30-or-so cardinals can centrally govern 1.2 billion people is no longer credible, especially when the majority of them are Italian. The Curia is far more Roman than it is Catholic, and tends to form a kind of union bloc-vote when it comes to electing the next pope. It is simply the nature of bureaucracies to be self-serving and self-preserving. It stands to reason that they will favour one of their own, or at least someone they know to be favourably disposed to the preservation of their administrative power – a little like Ed Miliband being the favoured choice of the trade unions.

In this age of Twitter, Blogger, Linked-In, Facebook and incessant media scrutiny, it is not beneficial to perpetuate a centralised system which so often gives the impression of operating with a fax machine and a dial-up modem on an Amstrad. The medium is the message.

And while His Grace is reforming the centralised bureaucracy, he might as well address the question of centralised power in general, for it is axiomatic that absolute power corrupts absolutely.

Those who rule the Roman Catholic Church – the Pope and his bishops – must become more collegial in the way they govern. The Pope, as a kind of god-king, may be a symbol of temporal unity, but he cannot effectively rule his vast church without real association with the bishops, and that involves devolved power-sharing. Indeed, the sheer number of scandals in recent years, not least ‘Vatileaks’, establishes the need for such a reformation: power has been abused because the structure of checks and balances is manifestly deficient.

The curious thing is that the Roman Catholic Church has the solution and antidote to its centralising and authoritarian tendencies within its own traditions of teaching.

‘Subsidiarity’ supposedly ensures that power is not unhealthily concentrated: it requires that power be devolved to the lowest or least-centralised authority, nearer to the people most affected by laws or precepts, in order that matters may be addressed most effectively. The concept is papal in origin (from the encyclical Quadragesimo Anno, 1931). It is not only concerned with devolved freedoms and competences, but with power dispersal and greater accountability. Why not detach the Curia from Rome? Why not disperse and localise bureaucracy in centres all over the world? Why would a church that calls itself 'Catholic' not seek to be truly global?

Subsidiarity, collegiality and accountability must become the Vatican’s renewed trinity of efficient and responsive governance. Without this root-and-branch reform, the institution will appear increasingly anachronistic and wither in bureaucratic dysfunction.


Blogger Darter Noster said...

"Why not detach the Curia from Rome? Why not disperse and localise bureaucracy in centres all over the world? Why would a church that calls itself 'Catholic' not seek to be truly global?"

It is truly global - official Roman Catholic doctrine is the same wherever you look, wherever you are in the world. It can only do that because it has a centralised teaching authority, which requires a centralised bureaucracy to enforce it.

Why not disperse and localise bureaucracy in centres all over the world? Because we'd end up like the Anglican Communion, which is not truly global because it is in a state of fractured Communion amid various disagreements about what is and what is not Anglican teaching. Bang up job dispersal has done there.

6 March 2013 at 11:18  
Blogger bluedog said...

Bravissimo, Your Grace, it seems that your proposed reforms will leave the Roman Church stronger and more vigorous than ever in spreading the Word of the Lord.

Whilst the Conclave has yet to be called, your communicant is certain that your contribution in locum will not be over-looked. An invitation to attend the Conclave as more than just a guest may not be out of the question. Indeed, one can foresee a natural progession in Your Grace's career; His Eminence, His Holiness, an order founded in your name, departure from this mortal coil, the Blessed Thomas, and inevitably, St Thomas the Great and the Good.

Ahem. Your communicant must apologise for being carried away by the excitement of the moment.

Everything you say about the Roman Church is correct. Devolution is likely to be the only hope of keeping the entity together following Benedict's disgraceful abdication. The alternative may well be that the RCC fragments on geographical and doctrinal factional lines as the periphery rebels against the Byzantine intrigues of the centre. Great empires are held together as much by illusion and self-interest as by force. When perceptions of self-interest change, cohesion can rapidly be overwhelmed by centrifugal forces.

Liberation theology could acquire a completely different meaning within the RCC.

6 March 2013 at 11:18  
Blogger Corrigan said...

Another day, another attempt by Cranmer to Protestantize the Catholic Church. He seems to have a problem with the Pope being a Catholic. We tried all that pluralist palaver after Vatican II and while it went down well with the few Protestants left after centuries of "de-centralization" in their churches, the billion or so Catholics in the world were left stranded.

That's all beginning to change now, with the steady growth in attendance at the extraordinary form (Latin Mass, to you lot) and, yes, the steady centralization within the Curia. People seem to have a massive misunderstanding about the purpose of the Catholic Church. It is not to be nice to people, it is not even to bring charity into the world; these things, while important, are secondary, for as the Founder of the Catholic Church Himself said, the poor you will always have with you. The Church exists to get souls into Heaven, and everything else is by the way. To that end, what matters above everything else is the message, doctrine and dogmas of the Church, and it's not to be compromised by renegade bishops who think they can make it up as they go along.

Long may centralization continue; we're the Catholic Church, and we don't wing it.

6 March 2013 at 11:39  
Blogger Avi Barzel said...

Well, Your Grace, so far so good, until you took this tiger by the tale. Decentralization and power-sharing are not goals large organizations naturally strive for, of course. In fact, the tendency to centralize and concentrate authority in smaller,more homogenous groupings is the default condition, the null hypothesis being that this tendency will intensify even more with time. So, short of a major disaster or a miracle of the splitting of the sea class, one cannot imagine a situation where entrenched bureaucracy will willingly ladle-out power to fellows out in the hinterland. As for the technology bit, I'd say the exact opposite; the digital revolution has led to more effective from-top-on-down control than ever in human history. And finally, even in your new position, you better start off with a veritable army of protectors and poison-sniffers as your revolution sparks a Renaissance level cutthroatery, with everyone straining to go medieval on your saintly backside.

6 March 2013 at 11:42  
Blogger Digory Kirke said...

Mr Corrigan's comment reminds me of the old school yard joke with the Lone Ranger and Tonto, surrounded by Indians. The Lone Ranger says to Tonto, "We're in trouble here, Tonto, we'll have to do something". Tonto replies, "Who's 'we', Kimo Sahbee?"

Traddie Catholics may be vocal on the interweb, but don't be fooled that they represent us all. Can't fault what His Grace is saying here either.

6 March 2013 at 13:39  
Blogger Corrigan said...

"Traddie Catholics" are more commonly known as "Catholics". The rest are Protestants who went through the wrong door.

6 March 2013 at 14:02  
Blogger Angharad said...

As ever Your Grace, you bring clarity and vision to this erudite post.
If the Catholic Church is to survive and regain those souls hurt and disappointed by scandal after scandal, they must surely recognise that we live in a changing world. One that is moving more rapidly than ever before. The Curia-still grounded in the dark ages-is in desperate need of a radical overhaul. This cannot be undertaken unless the Church embraces transparency and is prepared to atone for its sins, including the abysmal failure to address the problems of child abuse, and inappropriate sexual offenses committed by their clergy.

There is nothing worse than a Traditional Catholic Blogger, they think the Catholic Church revolves around them and is truly blessed to count them among the faithful.

I fail to understand why these Catholic Bloggers feel the need to come to an Anglican Blog. Their futile attempts to persuade us that their church is not in crisis, smacks of arrogance and desperation. Wiser perhaps to use that energy to put their own house to put in order.

6 March 2013 at 14:06  
Blogger Darter Noster said...


"I fail to understand why these Catholic Bloggers feel the need to come to an Anglican Blog."

Perhaps because, apart from enjoying HG's broader theo-political posts, which often have relevance beyond Anglicanism, this Anglican blog has spent a lot of time recently talking about how the Roman Catholic Church should be reformed, which I would humbly suggest has more relevance to Catholics, traddie or otherwise, than it does to Anglicans et al.

"Their futile attempts to persuade us that their church is not in crisis, smacks of arrogance and desperation. Wiser perhaps to use that energy to put their own house to put in order."

But it's our house HG is talking about.

And whilst we're talking about Church crises and putting houses in order, why, might one ask, should the solutions which have caused a total cluster-f*** in global Anglicanism suddenly be the ones which the Roman Catholic Church so desperately needs?

6 March 2013 at 14:20  
Blogger Nick said...

I have to say I disagree on this issue. I'm not a Catholic, but one thing I find missing as an Anglican is strong leadership from the CofE. Centralising control isn't altogether a bad thing. I don't think that "no leadership" is a good substitute for "inadequate leadership". I disagree with Catholicism on several points,but one thing I agree with is steadfast leadership. Knowing where you stand, even if you don't altogether like the place where you're standing, is better than being lost.

One thing Christians do not need at the moment is weak spiritual leadership. I do not want the Church to be a "democracy" in the secular sense. We have all seen what a mess that has created with our current government.

6 March 2013 at 14:29  
Blogger IanCad said...

To conclude his post HG wrote:

"--the institution will appear increasingly anachronistic and wither in bureaucratic dysfunction."
As one who fully concurs with the notion that "The noon time of the Papacy was the midnight of the world" I cannot see why any efforts on the part of Protestants should be exercised in suggesting how Rome should return to her former glory.

6 March 2013 at 14:39  
Blogger Corrigan said...

To use stock market theory to make a spiritual point, the people who make money on the markets are the ones who bet against the trend, not the ones who go with the flow. This Anglican blog is not infested with any old popeheads, but with traditional popeheads because the Liberals have all gone away, as Liberals always do when they get tired of banging their tambourines. We're the ones who stay the course and we're the ones turning it around.

6 March 2013 at 15:11  
Blogger Solent Rambler said...

“This cannot be undertaken unless the Church embraces transparency and is prepared to atone for its sins, including the abysmal failure to address the problems of child abuse, and inappropriate sexual offenses committed by their clergy" says Angharad.

| would assert very strongly that in England & Wales, it has started to address the problems. Check the notice board of every church and diocesan websites for information about safeguarding procedures.

I am confident that I’m not alone amongst (Roman) Catholics in being upset, angry, disappointed and puzzled by events in Scotland and elsewhere. But wars, rumours of wars, scandals and sin are ever thus as Our Lord warned us. And He also told us not to be afraid because He would be with us until the end of time.

As my late mother who was more than a little critical of the Church at times used to say, “Given the idiots, charlatans, fools and sinners who’ve run the Church, there has to be something about it for it to have survived for so long.”

A wise old parish priest once said to me, “Sometimes the best thing a PP can do for his parish is to leave it.” So I don’t doubt that the curia et alia need drastic reforming and reorganising.

How much harder that would be with a sick, ailing, tired Pope.

We are indeed fortunate that Our Queen enjoys the good health that she apparently does.

6 March 2013 at 15:27  
Blogger Sister Tiberia said...

How about the Roman Catholics who wouldn't define themselves as either traditionalist or whatever the alternative to traditionalist is, don't like the politics, wish both sides would stop throwing abuse and virtual bricks, and are imploring the Holy Spirit for someone who can unite the Church. The whole of the Church.

Honestly, I think they're the majority. Bit you won't find a lot of them posting on blogs. :)

6 March 2013 at 15:35  
Blogger Sister Tiberia said...

"But", not "bit", obviously

I need to learn to reread what I've written before hitting the "publish" button.

6 March 2013 at 15:38  
Blogger Katie said...

you are getting loopier and loopier. The prospect of being eected Pope has gone to yr head.

6 March 2013 at 15:47  
Blogger Katie said...

sorry 'elected' Pope

6 March 2013 at 15:47  
Blogger Darter Noster said...

Sister Tiberia,

I suspect many of them do post on blogs, but if they don't enjoy participating in theo-political controversy they're unlikely to do it on a theo-political blog :o)

I suspect for many of us around here (and certainly speaking for myself) taking part in these discussions is a sort-of hobby; we don't believe we're genuinely fighting a war for the soul of Christendom, we just enjoy debating controversial theological and political issues. For me, this place is ideally a kind of cyber-pub, in which often serious and intense but ultimately enjoyable discussion can be had in the course of a day otherwise spent at a desk.

Don't judge us too harshly :o)

6 March 2013 at 16:35  
Blogger Sister Tiberia said...

Well, let's face it I hang out in this virtual pub too. (Mine's a gin and tonic) :)

Sad thing is half the time I find myself in agreement with both sides, and the other half I'm muttering darkly about "can't they just give it a break?" - I do have a lot of sympathy for HG when he finally cracks down on the ones who overstep the mark.

No, I didn't dislike Dodo by the way. Even if he constantly called me Tiberias :P

6 March 2013 at 16:46  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Echoing what others have said, one central command, and the Word is passed down through the ages and not corrupted…

However, one wonders whether the Vatican has embraced new information technology. If they have then surely the bureaucracy can be reduced. Offices and departments being rationalised, or as the employees would have it, fewer jobs in a more streamlined organisation. Eliminate duplication which as this man has experienced in his day job, can result in competing little empires within. Hence the ‘evil, suffering and corruption’ engaged in by people who not only have the time to do it, but also the advantage that no one in authority has any idea what these people are supposed to be doing in what ever post they hold.

In other words, a bit more openness wouldn’t go amiss. And with that, it becomes all too obvious which staff are engaged in ‘divisions, dissent, careerism, jealousies’…

The Pope, as a kind of god-king…

Now look, Archbishop, let’s try not to get too carried away with our own prejudices. That prize phrase is so out of place in an otherwise interesting work from yourself. One is sure on reflection, you will agree…

6 March 2013 at 17:39  
Blogger carl jacobs said...

Darter Noster

And whilst we're talking about Church crises and putting houses in order, why, might one ask, should the solutions which have caused a total cluster-f*** in global Anglicanism suddenly be the ones which the Roman Catholic Church so desperately needs?

As the referee in a wrestling match might say "Two points. Reversal."


6 March 2013 at 17:39  
Blogger len said...

'The Pope is a type of god king.'

The Pope is a type of' Caesar 'and the Papacy is a continuation of the rule of Rome with a hierarchical structure very similar.

Statement from Pope Boniface VIII
"The papal theory … made the Pope alone God’s representative on earth and maintained that the Emperor received his right to rule from St. Peter’s successor… It was upheld by Nicholas I., Hildebrand, Alexander III., Innocent III., and culminated with Boniface VIII. at the jubilee of 1300 when, seated on the throne of Constantine, girded with the imperial sword, wearing a crown, and waving a sceptre, he shouted to the throng of loyal pilgrims: “I am Caesar—I am Emperor.”

Peter (in complete contrast to the Papacy)
'To the Elders and the Flock'
5 To the elders among you, I appeal as a fellow elder and a witness of Christ’s sufferings who also will share in the glory to be revealed: 2 Be shepherds of God’s flock that is under your care, watching over them—not because you must, but because you are willing, as God wants you to be; not pursuing dishonest gain, but eager to serve; 3 not lording it over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock. 4 And when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the crown of glory that will never fade away 5 In the same way, you who are younger, submit yourselves to your elders. All of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because,

“God opposes the proud
but shows favour to the humble.(1 Peter 5)

6 March 2013 at 20:00  
Blogger bluedog said...

Your Grace, one thing fascinates this communicant.

Despite being unceremoniously dumped by Benedict, not a single Catholic blogger utters a word of criticism or dares to speculate on the possible consequences of their Pope's betrayal.

Apres moi, le deluge. Of course, Your Holiness.

Bizarre. Perhaps it's different behind closed doors.

6 March 2013 at 20:33  
Blogger Che Yeoh said...

Your Grace,

Sometimes an organisation requires more collegiality and at other times it needs more centrality. At this point in time, our church needs more centrality. It needs it because of the worst crisis since the Reformation; the child abuse scandal. The abuse scandal went unchecked because the system was collegiate and it allowed bishops to deal (or not deal) with allegations at local level. It was only when JP11 insisted that every allegation of abuse had to go through the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith (led by Benedict) that all the abuse was flushed out and the scale of it became apparent. I think it ironic that Benedict who has so often been accused of covering up abuse, actually did more than anyone to drag it into the light and sacked more priests than anyone for this. So collegiality? Well, maybe, but now's not really the time for us - we need a strong man and an end to the infighting in the Curia. Benedict is just about to provide that in an understated elegant way by forcing the Curia to resign with him and if the new man is courageous enough, he can appoint a completely new Curia. We'll see what will happen.

6 March 2013 at 22:52  
Blogger Aaron Lopez said...

"Without this root-and-branch reform, the institution will appear increasingly anachronistic and wither in bureaucratic dysfunction."

Because the reforms you have proposed have just been doing absolutely fantastically for the rest of the non-Catholic Christians.

Sarcasm aside, you do propose a lot of sound logic, I suppose, but it's the empirical evidence that you lack, and if the Protestant churches are anything to go by, the evidence is shocking. Rome may as well do the complete opposite of what you propose. The only compelling example of decentralization are the Orthodox Churches, but when the term Phyletism was essentially created by them and for them, one has to wonder if it's really healthy.

It's a bit of a shame the reforms Benedict XVI has seen in his service have gone completely over your head in this post. If one were to believe our God is more than a figment of imagination written in the Bible, one could say that God desired Benedict to remove all the rot that allowed the child abuse and administrative issues to run rampant. Now that the work has been done, he's no longer needed and can get back to his quiet contemplation.

Perhaps Benedict needs a marketable list of awesome achievements and testimonies as the Archbishop has to the right of this page. Even unjustly called a god king, Benedict XVI certainly remained meek despite truly reforming the Church.

As you might be able to see, the Catholic Church will not be liberalising its ways. Now's the time to bet on whether it's actually going to wither and die. Are you all in?

7 March 2013 at 00:22  
Blogger non mouse said...

Gosh, Your Grace.

One quite sees how things could improve for universal Christianity if only they'd take you on permanently!

I mean. What I'm getting at is...
Well it's the centralised thing.

There's some vault somewhere about there, I understand. And somewhere in it they've got those evil bits of bureaucratic parchment. You know, one's called after Rome itself. The other.... something to do with Iberia, I think....

If only Your Grace could see your way... If only you could persuade the guards to release the documents to those of us who know how to localise bureacracy.

If only. Your Grace.

7 March 2013 at 01:05  
Blogger len said...

Its not a case of the Catholic Church 'liberalising its ways' but attempting to conform to the Word of God(if it wants to present itself as 'Christian'.)This will take momentous decisions and seismic changes to its' system'.

The Anglican Church is dying on its feet because it has let 'the World ' in and has let' the World' dictate what its standards and moral position should be.This is the price of being connected to the Political system.This Church needs to get back to Biblical principles and to reject those who would attempt to 'reform' the Church to line up with worldly values and morality.

The Catholic Church is fast becoming a 'spent force' because it has set up a system which really does not need God and has inbuilt errors which will eventually bring it under the judgement of God ( I believe this is already happening)

Return to me and I will return to you said the Lord.

7 March 2013 at 08:04  
Blogger Shacklefree said...

A proper balance of centrality and subsidiarity is ideal but difficult to achieve given our fallen nature. For example Bishop Rembert Weakland in the U.S. referred a case of homosexual abuse by one of his priests to the Vatican instead of dealing with it himself as he should have done under the rule of subsidiarity. It turns out that Weakland was himself a homosexual addict and he passed on the problem so that the Vatican would take the blame. Unfortunately there seems to be a homomafia clique in the Vatican and around the world undermining the true Catholic faith and which rejects applications for seminary by orthodox catholic candidates in favour of homosexuals. As Pope Paul VI said the smoke of satan has entered the sanctuary and has increased as time goes on. One wonders what effect this will have on the election. Apparently there are a number who are possibly in a blackmail situation

7 March 2013 at 08:22  
Blogger Shacklefree said...

Nonetheless we have Christ's word that the gates of Hell will not prevail. They seem to be having a significant effect at the present time but in the end the Lord will triumph and re-establish orthodoxy.

7 March 2013 at 08:24  
Blogger E.xtra S.ensory Blofeld + Tiddles said...

"...that the gates of Hell will not prevail."

This does not relate to the church''s action or Peter's but His!

REV 1:18
I am He who lives, and was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore. Amen. And I have the keys of Hades and of Death.

The keys are His not ours, He openeth and shutteth, not we.

He is the one who stormed Sheol and set/sets captives free from it's destination..not Peter, Paul or others and most definitely not Rome!!

In an early sermon from a believer of the early church named Melito of Sardis, the bishop of Sardis near Smyrna in western Anatolia, and a great authority in Early Christianity, he describes this thought in the most profound way. Speaking of Christ, he writes:

But he rose from the dead
And mounted up to the heights of heaven.
When the Lord had clothed himself with humanity,
And had suffered for the sake of the sufferer,
And had been bound for the sake of the imprisoned,
and had been judged for the sake of the condemned,
and buried for the sake of the one who was buried,
he rose up from the dead,
and cried with a loud voice:
Who is he that contends with me?
Let him stand in opposition to me.
I set the condemned man free;
I give the dead man life;
I raised up one who had been entombed.
Who is my opponent?
I, he says, am the Christ.
I am the one who destroyed death,
And triumphed over the enemy,
And trampled Hades underfoot,
And bound the strong one,
And carried off man
To the heights of heaven.
I, he says, am the Christ.

The sheer check of the pomposisity of Rome..Breathtaking!


7 March 2013 at 09:30  
Blogger len said...

The true 'Church'which is the Ekklesia(called out of the World believers) belongs to Christ He paid for it with His blood.Christ is the Head of the Body.Christ is 'the Rock 'the true foundation.
Christ is the Chief Shepherd all else are 'under shepherds' and they will answer for their conduct and the way they have threat His sheep to Him.
This is a pretty awesome responsibility.

7 March 2013 at 17:54  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

What are you on about Len. Considering Christ has not been physically around for 2000 years, the (mother) church is in good shape. Better shape than your narrow minded finger pointing take on Christianity, that’s for sure...

7 March 2013 at 18:54  
Blogger Shacklefree said...

Ernst, How's this for pomposity.

Jesus said to them, And what of you? Who do you say that I am? 16 Then Simon Peter answered, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.[2] 17 And Jesus answered him, Blessed art thou, Simon son of Jona; it is not flesh and blood, it is my Father in heaven that has revealed this to thee. 18 And I tell thee this in my turn, that thou art Peter, and it is upon this rock that I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it; 19 and I will give to thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven; and whatever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven; and whatever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven

8 March 2013 at 19:33  
Blogger Che Yeoh said...


Other Catholics can speak for themselves on this as to why they aren't critisising Benedict for resigning, but let me give my reasons why I think he is doing the right thing. Firstly, Benedict is clearly dying. At the moment, he is being carted around on a platform on wheels when saying Mass at the Vatican, because he is too weak to walk the length of the aisle. We had seven or eight years of JPII, when he was ill and the church was spiralling out of control all round him. I don't want a return to that and I salute Benedict for doing the sensible thing on this. And at the risk of repeating myself (I have said this twice already) Benedict resigning means that the Curia has to resign with him and be re-appointed. This will enable a root and branch clear out of the corruption within the Curia and maybe at last we can see the back of Bertone, the Vatican Secretary of State. Believe me, it would be a good thing and what Benedict is doing right now is not flight. He is actually clearing the way for his successor. It takes a particular type of courage to do what Benedict's doing; to face up to a challenge, knowing that you are going to be accused of being a coward. Just as he cleared out child abuse, knowing that the blame for it would be pinned on him. I think he is the bravest man I know and more deserving of the title of 'Great' than JPII.

8 March 2013 at 19:37  
Blogger len said...


'the (mother) church is in good shape.'

I assume you mean the' Catholic religious system'?. 'Mother Church' is that Mary`s Church?

Are you on another Planet?.

8 March 2013 at 19:43  
Blogger len said...

I find it quite astonishing (and quite revealing) that Catholics claim their Church is built upon 'Peter'.

Don`t they realise that this claim makes their Church not Christ`s but Peters?

8 March 2013 at 19:47  
Blogger Shacklefree said...

Len, It is the claim of Jesus taken straight from the gospels. We are not inventing a new truth but following the words of Our Lord. Matthew 16 is quite explicit and we have had this discussion before with you attempting to distinguish between pebbles and rocks in order to nullify the clear meaning of the words.

8 March 2013 at 20:20  
Blogger len said...

Shacklefree Jesus is' the rock' of that there can be no doubt(except in the minds of Catholics?)

9 March 2013 at 13:40  
Blogger len said...

For other foundation NO ONE can lay, but that which has been laid, which is Christ Jesus. (I Corinthians 3:11)

And did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and THAT ROCK WAS CHRIST). (I Corinthians 10:4).

Jesus said to them, "Did ye never read in the Scriptures, The stone which the builders rejected, the same is become the head of the corner: this is the Lord's doing, and it is marvellous in our eyes?" (Matthew 21:42) (Compare with Psalm 117:21, 23)

For they stumbled or the stumbling-stone, as it is written, "Behold I lay in Sion, a stumbling-stone and a ROCK of offence: and whosoever believeth on him (Christ) shall not be ashamed." (Romans 9:33)

Let us see what the apostle, St. Peter, had to say concerning this.

To whom coming (Christ), as unto a living stone, disallowed indeed of men but chosen of God, and precious,

Wherefore also it is contained in the Scripture, Behold, I lay in Sion a chief corner stone, elect, precious; and he that believeth on Him shall not be confounded. Unto you therefore which believe He is preciou: but unto them which be disobedient, the stone which the builders disallowed, the same is made the head of the corner, and, a stone of stumbling, and a ROCK of offence, even to them which stumble at the word, being disobedient: (I Peter 2:4. 6-8)

This is The stone which was set at naught of you builders, which is become the head of the corner. Neither is there salvation in any other: For there is no other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved. (Also the words of St. Peter, speaking of Jesus Christ, as recorded in Acts 4:11, 12)

Turning to the Old Testament we find the following:

The Lord is my ROCK, and my fortress, and my deliverer. My God, is the ROCK of refuge. Psalm 18:2, 94:22.

God was their ROCK, and the high God their redeemer. Psalm 78:35.

Unto Thee will I cry, O LORD, MY ROCK; Psalm 28:1.

Bow down Thy thine ear to me; deliver me speedily: be Thou my strong ROCK, FOR A HOUSE of defense to SAVE me. for Thou art my ROCK and my FORTRESS; therefore for Thy name's sake lead me, and guide me. Psalm 31:2,3).

I will say unto God my ROCK, why hast Thou forgotten me? Psalm 41:l0.

Lead me to the ROCK that is higher than I Psalms 61:2

He Only is my ROCK and my salvation; He is my defense; I shall not be moved. In GOD is my salvation and my glory: THE ROCK of my strength, and my refuge, is in God. Trust in him at all times, ye people, Pour out your heart before him; God is a refuge for us. Selah Psalm 62:6-8

To shew that the Lord is upright: He is my ROCK, and there is no unrighteousness in Him. Psalm92:15.

but the Lord is my defense; and MY GOD IS THE ROCK of my refuge. Psalm 94:22.

O Come, let us sing unto THE LORD; let us make a joyful noise to THE ROCK of our salvation. Psalm 95:1.

The stone which the builders refused is become the head of the corner. This is the Lord's doing; it is marvellous in our eyes. Psalm 118:22, 23.

Therefore thus saith the Lord God: Behold, I lay in Zion for a foundation a stone, a tried stone, a precious corner stone, a sure foundation: he that believeth shall not make haste. Isaiah 28:16.

Because I will publish the name of the LORD: ascribe ye greatness unto OUR GOD! He is THE ROCK, His work is perfect: for all his ways are judgement: Deuteronomy 32:3,4.

Then he forsook God which made him, and lightly esteemed THE ROCK of his salvation. Deuteronomy 32:15, 18).

And he said: THE LORD IS MY ROCK, and my fortress, and my deliverer II Samuel 22:2.

9 March 2013 at 13:45  

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