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Despair Over the Pope

In response to:

The Pope and the Hedgehog from the May 27, 2010 issue

To the Editors:

Anthony Grafton respectfully dances around Benedict XVI’s manners and abilities with undue reverence [“The Pope and the Hedgehog,” NYR, May 27]. He fails to read in Benedict’s deliberations the disastrous effects on the Catholic communion in the midst of this century’s increasing embrace of secular humanism.

In the meanwhile the Pope has succeeded in offending the world of Islam, he has reintroduced into the Good Friday Liturgy a prayer identifying the Jewish people as culpable in the death of Jesus, he has insulted the Anglican communion with an invitation to the disaffected to join the Roman Church, and he has demoralized the Catholic community in his divisive attempts to undermine the liturgical reforms of the Second Vatican Council—despite Grafton’s adulatory comment on Benedict’s beautifully performed Mass, as if performance were the intent of liturgical worship!

The priest sex abuse crisis is not an isolated concern of the Catholic faithful. Both Benedict and his predecessor, John Paul II, despite the Vatican Council’s clear call for regional episcopal self-governance, have recentralized authoritative administration in the Vatican. Further, and perhaps more devastating, has been their condemnation of the Liberation Theology movement in Latin America, a proven dynamic catechesis for Gospel renewal among the Latino faithful.

Only when Benedict passes on his miter and staff to another will we Catholics not “despair.” Only when the new pope is elected by the voice of the universal church will we not despair. Only when a person of contemporary intelligence cognizant of the inherent spirituality of secular humanism consequently works with and not against the universal concerns of all peoples, believers and not—only then will we not despair. Benedict may be “a great scholar,” but the Catholic Church is crying out for an arch pastor with generous human sensibilities capable of healing the divide into which we Catholics have descended.

Reverend John B. Giuliani
The Benedictine Grange
Redding, Connecticut

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