Sunday, 1 May 2011

Article Review MacLean's Magazine

I am a proud subscriber to MacLean's Magazine. I love getting that magazine in my mailbox, it is so much fun and it helps to make me feel like I am staying on top of the news, which if I am honest I don't do that often, hardly ever really will you see me watching the news.  I know bad, bad girl, I should watch the news more, but I just don't it's depressing.

A couple weeks ago the cover of MacLean's magazine had a picture of the Pope and the title asked if the Pope was Catholic.  It intrigued me and I kept it around hoping to have a chance to read it.  Which I finally got to do at the breakfast table as I wolfed down my cereal and it was a really interesting article. 

I should preface this to say that I was a little disappointed when Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger became Pope Benidict XVI .  I did not have a lot of faith in him, and felt that he would be a very conservative pope which would not necessarily be the best thing for the Catholic Church especially since there seems to be some struggles with Catholicism in today's society.  This could be said of all religions, but as I am Catholic I will keep it to my religion and I won't make assumptions on anyone else's religion.

Pope Benedict XVI is turning out to be a surprising pope, he's not making all kinds of changes, but he is putting a voice to Catholic beliefs that are embracing change and reiterating values that were brought to light back in the second Vatican council nearly 50 years ago.  I am pleasantly surprised by what I read about what he has done and what he has said and wrote.  It's not a cure all by any means, but it is a step in the right direction.

One thing this Pope will for surely be known for is his involvement in the sexual abuse scandal that continues to plague the Catholic Church. It seems through history that the Church is always connected to one sexual abuse case or another.  It discolours what the Church actually stands for and what actual good Catholics want to be known for. In the past many of these sexual abuse cases have been shush, and brushed under the rug.  The priests and bishops of the dioceses have been "protected" by the Church. Initially the Pope seemed to be following along in his predecessors footsteps, but his response as reported is " [the Pope] has been open about the scope of the abuse and the harm inflicted; he has met time and again with victims to express his personal sorrow; he has condemned bishops for their actions -and failures to act- as well as the criminal priests they ignored or sheltered; and he has made it clear that is is the welfare of the children, not the reputation of the Church that matters." (Maclean's April 25, 2011 p. 34).  It is this stance that has begun the warming of this Catholic's heart to the 'new' pope.

The Pope has also opened communications between different belief groups, the Muslims, Atheists, and even other Christians who have become disillusioned with their Church.  The pope does not want their to be an argument between faith and science.  The "big questions of our times" need to be answered but they do not have to be answered at the expense of one groups beliefs but in fact can be made so that everyone can have a better understanding of the other groups frame of mind.  It's the joining of humans together in society to live peaceably that should be the goal for all humanity not just religious groups.
In fact the Pope not only says Evolution is a viable theory but that is shows the "language of God" and goes on to say "In the magnificent mathematics of creation which today we can read in the human genetic code, we do recognize the language of God.  the functional truth about man has been discovered." (35)  Thus confirming that evolution only further proves God's creations and their ability to adapt.  The Church has not always done things to endear them to the Muslim community.  The Pope has also enraged this same community with "medieval anti-Muhammad remarks" (33) but he has gone back to repair those relationships with these people by visiting countries with high Muslim populations.  It is his ability to admit to his mistakes and to move forward to make amends with those he has hurt that has garnered him more respect from this Catholic.

Another important aspect that stuck out while I was reading this article was the Pope declaring the exoneration of Jews for the death of Jesus. Which is often a a matter of many disputes that can turn into wars. (WWII for example).  The Pope is quoted as saying, "Now we must ask, who exactly were Jesus' accusers?  Who insisted that he be condemned to death?  According to John it was simply 'the Jews' but John's use of the expression does not in any way indicate - as the modern reader might suppose- the people of Israel in general, even less is it racist in character.  In John's Gospel this word has a precise and  clearly defined meaning: the Temple aristocracy." (35).  Many hatreds have been bread because of the these beliefs and for the Pope to come out and call out all Catholics, and Christian's alike to take a look at why they are holding on to such beliefs offers people to address their own thoughts about racism and prejudices.

One other sort of noteworthy point in the article are the Pope's comments on condoms.  I mean really who ever thought that the Pope would say anything other than condoms are evil and should not be used. No instead the Pope said that their may be times when condoms should be used, most specifically with HIV/AIDS victims not wanting to spread the disease to their partners.  The use of condoms in the respect for human life could be a tolerated.

It's not perfect, but much like religion it is a step to better understanding this world we live in.  I am proud to be a Catholic although we have a sordid history that often clouds what the general population of Catholics believes in or stands for.  If you ever wonder just ask us, we will tell you that it's not about you believing what we believe but that we accept each other as human gifts and I am pleasantly surprised with the actions of this Pope.

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