“The paradoxical – and tragic – situation of man is that his conscience is weakest when he needs it most.” Erich Fromm
The recent selection of a new pope has many in the world feeling a renewed sense of what the essence of Christianity as defined by the “One true, holy, Catholic, and Apostolic church.” A simple man, at least on the face of things, Francis has broken with tradition and performed a number of acts that have the College of Cardinals with the distinct feeling that, perhaps, the ballots were miscounted.
He has been a man of modest means, electing to eschew the trappings of splendor and pomposity the world has previously ascribed to the reigning successor of St. Peter. In his home country he took public transportation to work, lived in a small apartment, and cooked for himself. In the Vatican, he has left the papal apartment empty and placed himself in a rather austere residence that he shares with other members of the clergy in Rome. Ha moved from a single room to a suite to allow more room for the meetings and such that are a part of a Pontiff’s everyday routine.
Coming from South America it is easy to see the how and why of these actions by the first pope who is not a European since the year 741 AD can be found attractive to the majority of the Catholic world. The majority of the Catholic world comes from a either a place of poverty and servitude, or a place with a common lineage with the new pope.
Perhaps it is the harbinger of a resurgence of the true principles of the man the religion is based upon. Or is it…
There is a universal condemnation by the Catholic Church, which Pope Francis vehemently supports, of either gay marriage or gay relations.
There is a strong stance that contraception is a sin, under any circumstance.
Abortion also is grouped with these issues and receives comprehensive clerical challenge and condemnation.
None of the judgments hostile to these issues hold any justifications from Jesus. For a religion that bases itself on a document that has never been proven to be accurate of even divine, and who employs thousands of theologians, they are seemingly dimwitted about what Jesus has directed.
There might be much differing opinions about this idea which is certainly grist for the mill on the belief and existence of a deity, but this is not the place for it. There is no relevance in arguing on the existence of God as it is not a denial of God, but a true interpretation of His/Her will where it comes to Gayness, contraception, or abortion. In the world of the “One true, holy, Catholic, and Apostolic church” there is no one who has an open view of the problem. How can a priest or church official counsel about contraception when they are, by oath, denied the act that is central to the idea of the prevention or propagation of the world’s population. The same can be used as an argument about abortion. While there is conflict throughout the world as to the definition life and when it becomes life, it is difficult to believe that the bible as a spiritual guide for life which is suspect in authorship and meaning, can possibly delineate the moment in time when a human becomes sentient.
As to the shunning of gay issues, it seems quite hypocritical for any church to fight against an activity that they have been condoning for centuries. The systematic protection and dismissal of pedophilia in the Catholic Church absolutely must deny them the right to have any say on the subject of homosexuality. They never addressed the problem, which they were aware of, until the church started to lose lawsuits and experience parishes and dioceses going bankrupt. The story of Jesus attacking the moneylenders comes to mind.
Yet still their church and its new pope condemn these actions and those fighting for equality, compassion, and mercy. They are not wrong, in their minds, and this is where the hypocrisy and indignation against them has its roots. Where is the word of God in that idea? Where is, Matthew 8:7, “So when they continued asking him, he lifted up himself, and said unto them, He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.”?
It is unfeasible to think that because the Pontiff has demonstrated some of the actions of his maker, that he will, in fact, be any different than those who, in the past, spread hate and revulsion throughout the world based on the teachings of a messiah that never said a single word telling them to act this way in his name. Therein emanates the paradox announced in the title of this essay. The inconsistency, absurdity, irony, contradiction, illogicality, and oxymoronic behavior of the administration of the largest church in the world must be made evident. There is talk in theological seminars of the idea of an intelligent designer to the world. Well if there is, would that designer entrust his beliefs to those who would destroy the very essence of what was to be accomplished? The church believes that the bible is factual, and uses it to deny humanity at every turn. What if it is really just a fiction? If it is, then perhaps fiction is where the truth can be found;
“From the Crusades to the Inquisition, to American Politics-the name Jesus had been hijacked as an ally in all kinds of power struggles. Since the beginning of time, the ignorant have always screamed the loudest, herding the unsuspecting masses and forcing them to do their bidding. They defended their worldly desires by citing Scripture they did not understand. They celebrated their intolerance as proof of their convictions. Now, after all these years, mankind had finally managed to utterly erode everything that had once been so beautiful about Jesus.”
Dan Brown in “The Lost Symbol.”