Wednesday, December 28, 2005

A smaller pope

Not much to blog about in the holiday lull, but you can expect more papal-year-in-review stories like this one from the Australian Herald Sun. The writer's main point is that Benedict has done much already to scale down the size of the papacy since the death of John Paul II, speaking less often than his predecessor, grabbing headlines even less. If, as the article suggests, he's going to downsize the Roman Curia and do a little intellectual upgrade on the hierarchy, then he'd be doing us all a favor.

In fact, these two reforms would make B16's papacy a success in my book. The greatest damage JPII did over his 27 years was allow the Curia to go nuts, reasserting much of the control it lost after the Second Vatican Council, while at the same time using his own cult of personality to elevate the papacy well beyond its proper role. This has meant a great diminishment in the authority of local bishops and bishops conferences, a lot of backtracking on liturgical reform, and the appointment of a huge crop of Vatican sycophants to dioceses around the world, especially here in the U.S.

But the jury has barely begun to deliberate on B16. Most of what he has done--even the disastrous document on gays in the seminary--are leftovers from the previous administration. His symbolic acts, however, from meeting with liberal firebrand and Ratzinger opponent Hans Kung to a historic visit to the Cologne synagogue for World Youth Day, are promising.


At 1:53 PM, Blogger Ogilvie said...

" The greatest damage JPII did over his 27 years...." ? JPII did damage? I think not. I would write more, but I see you've enabled comment moderation. It always amuses me when people who desire more freedom and 'dialogue' in the Church are among the very first who want to control and censor other people's opinions on their blogs!


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