The Future of the Catholic Church
Earlier this month, Pope Benedict the XVI announced his resignation set to take place on February 28th. This was a surprising shock because it has been over six centuries since the last pope resigned, and because his announcement came within days of Lent, one of the most important Catholic holidays in the Christian calendar. Initially, he stated that his health is slowly declining and because of this is forced to leave the papacy. However, weeks following this announcement, there were allegations that the Pope was facing legal issues pertaining to the on going sexual abuse scandals that have been plaguing the Catholic Church for years.
This unexpected resignation seems to do two things to the Church’s image. First, it conveys the message that if the leader of the most powerful religious organization cannot deal with the pressure of the ongoing legal problems that keep coming up, then how well is the Church as a whole and its members able to handle the pressure of these serious issues. It seems as though the Catholic Church is unable or even unwilling to take proper initiative to resolve these legal issues and restore confidence in its followers.
The second thing this resignation does is give way for reform and modernization. For example, the top candidates for the papacy are not just from European decent. There are seven Latino candidates, two African candidates and two Asian candidates, which is much more than other papal elections. In fact, for a role that is usually filled by an Italian cardinal, there are only three Italian candidates for this election. This can prove beneficial for people of color because these candidates are able to effectively relate to followers and lead people who are ethnically diverse and systematically oppressed.