Friday, May 06, 2005

the liberal dream pope

Benedict may not be ideal, but can't one still dream? I would have liked a non-authoritatiran Pope who didn't just hammer away at the diversity within Catholicism, but let it flourish. Someone who would have said something like this:
Catholicism in fact can never be merely institutionally and academically planned and managed, but appears ever again as a gift, as a spiritual vitality. And it in the process also has the gift of diversity. There is no uniformity among Catholics.... The treasury of faith provides many dwelling places within the one house. And we should preserve this dynamic openness.

Nowadays, particularly among the most modern representatives of Catholicism, there is a tendency toward uniformity. Whatever is alive and new, anything that does not conform to the academic outlines or to the decisions of commissions or synods, is regarded with suspicion and is excluded as being reactionary... I believe that a great deal of tolerance is required within the Church, that the diversity of paths is something in accordance with the breadth of Catholicity - and that one ought not simply reject it, even when it is something contrary to one's own taste.... tolerance is in order, accepting the breadth of Catholicism.
A Pope like that could have really changed things.

I would have liked a Pope in office who when asked point blank by a reporter if non-Catholic Christians should return to the Catholic Church would have responded something like this:
The formula that the great ecumenists have invented is that we go forward together. It's not a matter of our wanting to achieve certain processes of integration, but we hope that the Lord will awaken people's faith everywhere in such a way that it overflows from one to the other, and the one Church is there. As Catholics, we are persuaded that the basic shape of this one Church is given us in the Catholic Church, but that she is moving toward the future and will allow herself to be educated by the Lord. In that sense we do not picture for ourselves any particular model of integration, but simply look to march on in faith under the leadership of the Lord - who knows the way. And in whom we trust.
Man, a Pope like that could have really done a lot for Church unity.

Oh wait, my mistake. That was all Ratzinger. Every last word. God and the World (pages 452-453 and 455-456).