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a lost opportunity

By Diogenes ( articles ) | Oct 17, 2003

Modest Dan Maguire, Professor of Moral Theology at Marquette ("Milwaukee's Jesuit university"), had high hopes 25 years ago for the newly-elected non-Italian pope...

Instead we saw a pope who squandered his moral authority on issues in which he has no privileged expertise. I did not expect to be writing now that this has been a failed and disappointing papacy.

About 40 years ago, Pope John XXIII threw open the windows of the Catholic Church by convening the liberating Second Vatican Council. But beginning in 1978, John Paul II slammed the door on the council's progressive changes and locked the Catholic Church out of dealing with the issues of a turbulent new age.

Since then, it has been left to other Christian churches to meet the many modern challenges, including the role of women in organized religion, clerical celibacy, moral questions surrounding reproductive science and contraception and even the mere acceptance of gays. ...

Aside from reversing many of the changes emanating from the Second Vatican Council, he silenced the voices of many Catholic theologians and arrogantly asserted his own unique teaching prerogatives in ways that cut the legs out from any true ecumenism.

Two areas especially signaled his inadequacy as a world moral leader: his demeaning view of half the human race -- women -- and his obsessive concern with what can be called pelvic orthodoxy.

I think I see the point ... you see, if we had a more open ecclesial structure -- one that recognized and rewarded talent -- experts like Maguire could do the thinking and pastors like Weakland could do the outreach and we would meet the many modern challenges as successfully as the Episcopal Church. Obvious once you think about it.

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