Our new Pope offers an opportunity for the rebirth of the Church

He must be prepared to stand up for the common good; to stand up for women, and deal with the scandal that is child abuse

Share
Related Topics

The election of Argentinan Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio as Pope Francis I offers the opportunity for a change of direction in the Catholic Church.

The new Pope's Jesuitical humble way of life, living in a single room and using public transport augurs well for a Papacy based nearer to the people than that of his predecessors. However, he will have to be an effective politician, manager and communicator to succeed.

There appears to be corruption in some parts of the Vatican, and I would suggest this needs to be dismantled with a devolvement of power to the different countries and regions. The papacy needs to return to its former earlier state when the Pope was primarily the Bishop of Rome, not an all powerful dictator.

The hope must be that Pope Francis is a man touched by the liberation theologians of Latin America, prepared to reassert the Church's preferential option for the poor. A man not frightened to critique the destructive capacity of the present neo-liberal economic system. A man prepared to stand up for the common good. A man also prepared to stand up for women, allowing them to play a full role in the life of the Church, no longer being relegated to the status of second class citizens.

The new Pope will have to be prepared to deal with the scandal that is child abuse. This will mean not only issuing full and meaningful apologies for the damage done but also showing a willingness to recognise that it is the present unaccountable structures of the Church that have helped bring about this appalling abuse in the first place.

The problem with Pope Benedict was whilst recognising the sin that is child abuse, in my opinion he singularly failed to act to change the structures of the Church. In fact, he turned ever more to clericalism, entrusting ever greater power to priests, whose only qualification was their priesthood.

This tendency has been evident in this country, lay people have been being removed from jobs to be replaced by clergy.

The new Pope must be prepared to really open up the Church, genuinely empowering the laity in the true spirit of Vatican II. He needs to develop a collaborative Church where everyone really is seen as an equal. The days of dictats from on high must end. Catholics need real formation in the faith, not to be treated like adolescents.

If this genuinely happens, then the Church can once again be a real force for good in the world, empowering the poor and downtrodden and questioning sinful economic and political structures that keep so many people living on the planet struggling by in poverty. The Church must become one of liberation not subjugation.

www.paulfdonovan.blogspot.com

React Now

  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Cancer Research UK: Corporate Partnerships Volunteer Events Coordinator – London

Voluntary: Cancer Research UK: We’re looking for someone to support our award ...

Ashdown Group: Head of IT - Hertfordshire - £90,000

£70000 - £90000 per annum + bonus + car allowance + benefits: Ashdown Group: H...

Ashdown Group: Application Support Analyst - SQL Server, T-SQL

£28000 - £32000 per annum + Excellent benefits: Ashdown Group: Application Sup...

Ashdown Group: Systems Analyst / Data Analyst (SQL Server, T-SQL, data)

£28000 - £32000 per annum + Excellent benefits: Ashdown Group: Systems Analyst...

Day In a Page

Read Next
 

Errors & Omissions: Outgunned by a lack of military knowledge

Guy Keleny
Ukip leader Nigel Farage in Tiny Tim’s tea shop while canvassing in Rochester this week  

General Election 2015: What on earth happened to Ukip?

Matthew Norman
Major medical journal Lancet under attack for 'extremist hate propaganda' over its coverage of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict

Lancet accused of 'anti-Israel hate propaganda' over coverage of Gaza conflict

Threat to free speech as publishers of renowned medical journal are accused of inciting hatred and violence
General Election 2015: Tories and Lib Dems throw their star names west to grab votes

All noisy on the Lib Dems' western front

The party has deployed its big guns in Cornwall to save its seats there. Simon Usborne heads to the heart of the battle
How Etsy became a crafty little earner: The online market has been floated for £1.2bn, but can craft and capitalism coexist?

How Etsy became a crafty little earner

The online market has been floated for £1.2bn, but can craft and capitalism coexist?
Guy Ritchie is the latest filmmaker to tackle King Arthur - one of our most versatile heroes

King Arthur is inspiring Guy Ritchie

Raluca Radulescu explains why his many permutations - from folk hero to chick-lit hunk - never cease to fascinate
Apple Watch: Will it live up to expectations for the man or woman on the street?

Apple Watch: Will it live up to expectations?

The Apple Watch has apparently sold millions even before its launch tomorrow
Don't fear the artichoke: it's a good cook's staple, with more choice than you'd think

Don't fear the artichoke

Artichokes are scary - they've got spikes and hairy bits, and British cooks tend to give them a wide berth. But they're an essential and delicious part of Italian cuisine
11 best men's socks

11 best men's socks

Make a statement with your accessories, starting from the bottom up
Paul Scholes column: Eden Hazard would be my Player of the Year – but I wonder if he has that appetite for goals of Messi or Ronaldo

Paul Scholes column

Hazard would be my Player of the Year – but I wonder if he has that appetite for goals of Messi or Ronaldo
Frank Warren: Tyson Fury will be closely watching Wladimir Klitschko... when he wins it'll be time to do a deal

Frank Warren's Ringside

Tyson Fury will be closely watching Wladimir Klitschko... when he wins it'll be time to do a deal
London Marathon 2015: Kenya's brothers in arms Wilson Kipsang and Dennis Kimetto ready to take on world

Kenya's brothers in arms take on world

Last year Wilson Kipsang had his marathon record taken off him by training partner and friend Dennis Kimetto. They talk about facing off in the London Marathon
Natalie Bennett interview: I've lost track of the last time I saw my Dad but it's not because I refuse to fly

Natalie Bennett interview: I've lost track of the last time I saw my Dad

Green leader prefers to stay clear of her 'painful' family memories but is more open about 'utterly unreasonable' personal attacks
Syria conflict: Khorasan return with a fresh influx of fighters awaiting the order to start 'shooting the birds'

Khorasan is back in Syria

America said these al-Qaeda militants were bombed out of the country last year - but Kim Sengupta hears a different story
General Election 2015: Is William Cash the man to woo Warwickshire North for Ukip?

On the campaign trail with Ukip

Is William Cash the man to woo Warwickshire North?
Four rival Robin Hood movies get Hollywood go-head - and Friar Tuck will become a superhero

Expect a rush on men's tights

Studios line up four Robin Hoods productions
Peter Kay's Car Share: BBC show is the comedian's first TV sitcom in a decade

In the driving seat: Peter Kay

Car Share is the comedian's first TV sitcom in a decade. The programme's co-creator Paul Coleman reveals the challenges of getting the show on the road