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

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

Project Coordinator

Competitive: The Green Recruitment Company: The Organisation: The Green Recrui...

Project Manager (HR)- Bristol - Upto £400 p/day

£350 - £400 per annum + competitive: Orgtel: Project Manager (specializing in ...

Embedded Linux Engineer

£40000 - £50000 per annum + competitive: Progressive Recruitment: Embedded Sof...

Senior Hardware Design Engineer - Broadcast

£50000 - £65000 per annum + Benefits: Progressive Recruitment: Working for a m...

Day In a Page

Read Next
The Lada became a symbol of Russia’s failure to keep up with Western economies  

Our sanctions will not cripple Russia. It is doing a lot of the dirty work itself

Hamish McRae
The Israeli ambassador to the US, Ron Dermer, has been dubbed ‘Bibi’s brain’  

Israel's propaganda machine is finally starting to misfire

Patrick Cockburn
Save the tiger: The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

The big cats kept in captivity to perform for paying audiences and then, when dead, their bodies used to fortify wine
A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery all included in top 50 hidden spots in the UK

A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery

Introducing the top 50 hidden spots in Britain
Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

How a disease that has claimed fewer than 2,000 victims in its history has earned a place in the darkest corner of the public's imagination
Chris Pratt: From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

He was homeless in Hawaii when he got his big break. Now the comic actor Chris Pratt is Hollywood's new favourite action star
How live cinema screenings can boost arts audiences

How live cinema screenings can boost arts audiences

Broadcasting plays and exhibitions to cinemas is a sure-fire box office smash
Shipping container hotels: Pop-up hotels filling a niche

Pop-up hotels filling a niche

Spending the night in a shipping container doesn't sound appealing, but these mobile crash pads are popping up at the summer's biggest events
Native American headdresses are not fashion accessories

Feather dust-up

A Canadian festival has banned Native American headwear. Haven't we been here before?
Boris Johnson's war on diesel

Boris Johnson's war on diesel

11m cars here run on diesel. It's seen as a greener alternative to unleaded petrol. So why is London's mayor on a crusade against the black pump?
5 best waterproof cameras

Splash and flash: 5 best waterproof cameras

Don't let water stop you taking snaps with one of these machines that will take you from the sand to meters deep
Louis van Gaal interview: Manchester United manager discusses tactics and rebuilding after the David Moyes era

Louis van Gaal interview

Manchester United manager discusses tactics and rebuilding after the David Moyes era
The children were playing in the street with toy guns. The air strikes were tragically real

The air strikes were tragically real

The children were playing in the street with toy guns
Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite – The British, as others see us

Britain as others see us

Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite
Countries that don’t survey their tigers risk losing them altogether

Countries that don’t survey their tigers risk losing them

Jonathon Porritt sounds the alarm
How did our legends really begin?

How did our legends really begin?

Applying the theory of evolution to the world's many mythologies
Watch out: Lambrusco is back on the menu

Lambrusco is back on the menu

Naff Seventies corner-shop staple is this year's Aperol Spritz