I’m not Catholic anymore. I’m not just lapsed. I’ve renounced. (Bring on that excommunication!) However, I was raised in the church and, even though I’ve spent years running away screaming, I’m still culturally Catholic. My family is still Catholic. Also, even though I don’t understand it, the pope still has a lot of moral authority and followers in this crazy old world. So, in a way, I feel like I have a small stake in who is chosen to be the next pope. This got me wondering, If I were going to build a pope, where would I start?
This seems like a no-brainer. In fact, Planet Money mentioned it as the most compelling way to expand the priesthood. The Catholic Church doesn’t have enough priests, and those priests aren’t where they need to be. A good way to fix that would be to get that stick out of your bum and allow more people to be priests!
If the Church’s own self-interest doesn’t sway the new pope, there’s an argument even less likely to sway: gender equality! Come on! There’s no rational reason to exclude women from the priesthood. Except if you think that women are inherently incapable of acting as a conduit to God. But that surely can’t be it, right?
Aggressively Deal with the Child Abuse Scandal
Let’s be honest. The Vatican hasn’t really done that good a job at dealing with all that child abuse stuff. And I’m the only one who has this opinion. In a recent poll, 70 percent of American Catholics think Pope Benedict and the Vatican did a crappy job at handling the child abuse.
Clearly, something has to be done, not only for the victims and potential victims of sex abuse, but for the credibility of the Church as a whole. Whoever the next pope will be has the power to change the culture of impunity that evidently permeates the hierarchy. If he doesn’t, it will be the ultimate slap in the face.
Stop with the Gay-Bashing, Already!
Seriously. This is getting old. It’s gone from strongly held belief to actively hurting people. (Ending adoption and foster care services so they don’t have to treat gay couples equally? Really?) This isn’t a matter of “religious freedom” anymore. It’s about being able to discriminate at will. And it’s totally not cool.
And that Abortion Fetish
Oh my god, next pope, please get over the uterus and all the things it does. For real. This is played out. We get it. Catholics think women are dirty and inferior. But you know what? All the time and effort put into forcing non-Catholics to live by Catholic dogma could be better spent working to address economic injustices that have a much more far-reaching effect.
Maybe Elect a Non-European Pope?
The Catholic Church is growing in Africa. Latin America boasts 39 percent of Catholics worldwide. Europe, on the other hand, has only 24 percent of the Catholic population. I know that the Catholic Church isn’t a democracy, but, you know, it might be nice if the pope actually represents Catholicism on the ground.
If I were a betting gal, I would never put any money down on any of these happening ever. But a girl can dream, right?
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