tisdag 31 mars 2009

Den katolska krisen - påvens ledarstil ifrågasatt

Fick en artikel som visar fler aspekter av den nuvarande krisen inom katolska kyrkan. Mest intressant är kanske biskoparnas alltmer uttalade önskan om större samarbete och kollegialitet med påven. Något den dåvarande kardinal Ratzinger själv ska ha varit för innan han blev vald till påve, men nu tycks ha glömt.

Påstridiga biskopars agerande har dock lett till att Vatikanen har fått lov att ändra/ta tillbaka ett par beslut nyligen. Utnämningen av den ultrakonservative österrikiske biskopen t.ex., och exkommuniceringen av den brasilianska 9-åringens mamma.

Intressant är också uppgiften att Vatikanen visste om biskop Williamsons uttalande 48 timmar innan exkommuniceringen av SSPX-biskoparna hävdes.

Enkäten där frågan löd: "Var det rätt av påven att häva exkommuniceringen av SSPX-biskoparna?" och där 124 bloggläsare röstade, är förresten avslutad.

Resultatet blev:

"Nej, verkligen inte!" 48 (38%)
"Ja, absolut!" 52 (41%)
"Vet inte" 24 (19%)

Knapp seger för ja-sidan alltså, i en mycket jämn omröstning.

Själv fyllde jag på "vet inte"-spalten med en röst, ifall ni undrar...


"In spite of a letter to bishops around the world that immediately provoked professions of solidarity, Pope Benedict XVI, it seems to me, is like a solitary monarch in a curia that has lost its bearings.

The storm caused by the remission of the excommunications against four Lefebvrist bishops may appear to have died down but the crisis that exploded following the chain of errors which Pope Benedict sought to explain has not. It has become a pontificate of two halves: before the break and after. The period after has brought to light questions concerning the leadership of Joseph Ratzinger, revealing at the same time a tension between the Church's central government and important bishops from the Northern Hemisphere.

Reading between the lines of the bishops' messages of solidarity to the Pope, there are requests that he change his style of government. The German hierarchy professes itself delighted that the Pope wants to enter "into dialogue with the bishops" (signalling that thus far this has not happened). The French bishops underline the necessity for the Vatican to become accustomed to an exchange that is "rich and substantial", hinting that the relationship between the Pope and the bishops should not consist simply of orders from on high. In Switzerland, the Bishop of Lugano, Pier Giacomo Grampa, expresses the hope that the humble and fraternal style of Benedict XVI's letter should become the style adopted in the day-to-day governance of the Church.

But it is the Austrian bishops who delivered the most strongly worded message. The Church guided by one of his most faithful disciples, Cardinal Christoph Schönborn, reminds the Pope that he is not the only person who is suffering and that pain has also been endured "by many local churches and people outside the Church".


Did it make sense to revoke the excommunications of the four Lefebvrist bishops - without obtaining any statement of faithful adherence to the Second Vatican Council - on the very day that marked the fiftieth anniversary of Pope John XXIII's decision to call the council? Did it make sense to insist on pardoning the Holocaust-denying Bishop Richard Williamson in the very week dedicated to the memory of the Shoah?

Here an important detail should be remembered. The Vatican decree lifting the excommunications was published a full 48 hours after the story was first leaked to the press. Immediately afterwards Bishop Williamson's interview with Swedish television was published in which he insisted that six million Jews did not perish in the Holocaust. There were two days in which Benedict XVI and his aides had ample opportunity to block the publication of the decree and avoid the need for the warnings, explanations and requests to the Society of St Pius X (SSPX) that emanated from the secretary of state only after the catastrophe had happened. The generosity with which the Pope in his letter avoided blaming any of his collaborators - foremost among them Cardinal Castrillón Hoyos, president of the Ecclesia Dei Commission charged with negotiating with the Lefebvrists - does not negate one fact: although he was warned by the world's media of the impending crisis, the Pope did not consider it opportune to call a halt and review the decision.


The Pope's entourage has a maxim: "Do not disturb the driver." But this is not the way to guide a community of 1.2 billion faithful. Pope Benedict's letter expresses a great personal sincerity but also betrays a weakness. To speak of hostility directed against the Pope especially from within Catholic circles raises some serious questions. It suggests that either the Pope considers every criticism to be a personal attack - and this should not be the reaction of a leader who needs to understand the complexity involved in the process of government - or that there exist in the Church many people who are uneasy with the direction being taken by the Pope.


When I interviewed him in November 2004, just a few months before the conclave in which he was elected Pope, the then Cardinal Ratzinger said: "It is increasingly apparent that a worldwide Church, particularly in this present situation, cannot be governed by an absolute monarch ... in time a means will be found to create realistically a profound collaboration between the bishops and the Pope, because only in this way will we be able to respond to the challenges of this world."

Benedict XVI has done nothing to realise this principle.


Truly, beneath the surface of Roman power - as under a volcano - one can hear ominous rumblings."

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