As far as I am concerned the best thing Benedict has done is resign. Not that I expect that whoever is chosen to follow him will be any better and could possibly be worse. The African cardinal that some are proposing is apparently even more conservative. But all the possible candidates have been chosen by the previous or present conservative popes which does not allow for any change for the better.
As I have often said, I owe much to Catholic friends and I am thankful for the fact that I taught for much of my career in Catholic schools. It was Catholic brothers and sisters and even a few priests who helped me as I was rejected by the evangelicals of the Sydney Anglican diocese. But they were not the type to be promoted in their church.
Although I had a few quibbles with doctrine, my main objection to Roman Catholicism has always been the control by the hierarchy and the position of Pope. I am sickened to see young people almost worshipping the Pope as he gives his last this and that this week.
Popes are men and some are good and many have been bad. The fact that they are elected by their own kind only perpetuates the conservatism of the church.
I am glad to belong to a church where the leaders are elected by both clergy and laity and generally expected to retire when they reach a certain age. There is only one current Anglican bishop (and he is retired but active) whom I unswervedly admire and that is Desmond Tutu but while I would be overwhelmed to meet him, I still realise he probably has faults like all of us.
I was quite happy to see the retirement of Rowan Williams, he was a great disappointment, mainly because he was weak and gave way to the conservatives. We wait to see what Justin Welby will bring. Although an evangelical he may be strong enough to withstand the fundies.
The point is they are all men with strengths and weaknesses.
Benedict declared people like me to be disordered so while not wishing ill on any man I have no interest in what happens to him from now on. It would be nice to see a better Pope elected but I will not be holding my breath.
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