The longest article (11 pages) I have ever seen on ABC News online appeared today. It concerns the resignation of the Pope (supreme leader of the Roman Catholic Church), and the "battle" that is beginning regarding changes within the Church and the choosing of a new leader.
A shift is taking place in the otherwise immovable Catholic Church. A global struggle has begun over the prerogative of interpretation, opportunities, legacy and positions -- a silent battle for Rome. (ABC News)
The resignation of Benedict has taken the Church by surprise. Can one chosen (supposedly) by God abdicate? Does his departure signal the reality that if this highest position in the Church can be handled in such a manner the entirety of Church dogma is subject to change?
The ultimate effects of the pope's resignation are thus far impossible to predict. But it is clear that previous certainties will now be up for debate -- certainties that were once just as firm as the understanding that the position of pope was for life. If the Petrine office can be vacated like a seat in parliament, then it's time to put an end to the church's rigid stance on other questions of doctrine. Why exactly should spouses remain together until death if the pope can simply resign from his post? (IBID.)
I suspect this matter will be a struggle and a mess. Theology and Ecclesiology are always difficult when one departs from the Living God and His revealed Word, the Bible. The Church headquartered in Rome has long ago abandoned the Truth, and doing so always bring a just reward. Perhaps we will see even more of that during these days as the Church leaders begin to seek "their way" as opposed to God's.
Vatican correspondents agree that there will be a battle for control. The focus is already on holding on to power, the threat that heads will roll and on the web of relationships within the curia after Ratzinger's departure.
The members of the curia are worried about the latest developments in Latin America, where there is a shortage of tens of thousands of priests, and where many rural churches are abandoned. Millions are defecting to the Protestant Pentecostal churches. The Protestant pastors are true entertainers, their services are shows for tens of thousands of people, they sing and dance, and many sell CDs by the millions. The Catholic Church hasn't found an effective response yet, though it has made some rather helpless attempts. Some Catholic priests, known as pop padres, are now holding their services in giant venues, and their masses have come to resemble pop concerts. Still, this hasn't stopped the growth of the Protestant churches. (IBID.)
The "lost" World looks on. "Hypocrites" - they say, watching the fighting and intrigue, the struggle and change, and all the while the The Protestant pastors are [becoming]true entertainers [emphasis mine], their services are shows for tens of thousands of people, they sing and dance, and many sell CDs by the millions. (IBID.)
Meanwhile, the Church of Jesus Christ takes another black eye.