My World of Religion, Politics, Entertainment and Social Issues

If you are visiting my blog, expecting to see 'Toward a Progressive Catholic Church,' I have changed my title to reflect my wide assortment of interests. Having retired from my secular job, I hope to devote the rest of my life to my hobbies, ministries and perhaps a part-time job that makes good use of my communications skills. This blog will be designed to address my multi-faceted interests.

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Location: Rochester, New York, United States

I have an M.A. in Theology and an M.Div (Master of Divinity) from St. Bernard's School of Theology and Ministry. I am currently a media consultant and promoter of classical music. I am also certified as an officiant by the Federation of Christian Ministries for baptisms, weddings and funerals and minister independently of the Rochester Diocese. My life has encompassed many interesting paths: broadcasting, free-lance writing, video-production, music, ministry and a secular job in government. In addition to this blog, I have a YouTube site at www.youtube.com/priestray and I have a Facebook page.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Concerning the Resignation of Pope Benedict XVI




Dear Blog Visitors:

The announcement that Pope Benedict XVI is resigning did not come as a total surprise to me.  It had been speculated that he would retire upon his 85th birthday.  When this did not occur, I had assumed it would just be a matter of time before there would be an official announcement.
For several million independent Catholics, such as myself (separated from Rome), the election of a new pontiff will have very little impact, unless of course, there were to be a few innovations that could signal a more inclusive church.  In the past twenty years, multiple issues have created a mass exodus from the institutional church (sexual abuse scandal, Vatican bank scandal, women treated as second-class members, ordination policies, outdated mandatory celibacy rule for priests, etc.).

When I was ordained a married priest in 2006, the Vatican ruled the ordination to be valid, but illicit.  In simple terms, it means that since I was ordained by a validly consecrated archbishop, my priesthood was valid.  However, since the archbishop was married, following many years of his being in the required celibate state, the Vatican also ruled my priesthood to be illicit, which simply means I am not allowed to function as a diocesan priest, especially considering my married state.  So, in my current status, I minister independently of Rome, via my certification/commissioning from the Federation of Christian Ministries (www.federationofchristianministries.org).
Who will the next pontiff be?  It is anyone’s guess.  If I were a betting person (I am not), I would venture to guess that New York’s Archbishop Timothy Dolan is a prime candidate.  If elected, he would be the first American pope.  Although conservative, he has a reputation for being a good listener, and there is good reason to believe he would convene a much-needed Vatican III council.  It has been fifty years since Vatican II, and much has changed in the church and throughout the world since 1963.

If Timothy Dolan is not elected pontiff, it is reasonable to assume that a choice could be made from Italy, Latin America or Africa.  Whoever is elected will have multiple complex issues to deal with.

In terms of the papacy, it does not seem unreasonable to begin thinking outside the box.   In this regard, it is good to recall that Jesus was only 33 when he died.  So, perhaps the church hierarchy should ask themselves if there is a young prophet in its midst, who can carry the institution into the next few decades with a healthy, vibrant, and faith-filled vision.  Jesus welcomed everyone into his fold, whereby exclusionary tactics, such as excommunication, were non-existent.

On behalf of the many married priests and women priests throughout the world, I wish Pope Benedict XVI well, as he prepares for retirement.  He was not by any means my favorite pontiff.  However, he tried as best he could to navigate the challenging waters that raged before him.  His resignation will require a pontiff with a new vision to restore credibility to a Vatican that has been tarnished by recent scandals and controversies.

Peace to all,
Ray