Vatican spokesman: We’re looking for Something New

March 12, 2013 | By | Reply More

A TV plays nonstop in the lunchroom at my workplace.  Today, as I grabbed a snack, CNN was interviewing a “Vatican spokesman” (I didn’t catch his name, but he was the man on the right in the photo below).


While this interview was airing, the cardinals were still deliberating.   It occurred to me first of all that despite being guided by the “Holy Spirit” these men were struggling to make a decision.  The Vatican Spokesman said to the CNN reporter, “We’re looking for Something New.”  Amen to that!  In this time of intense media obsession with selecting a new pope, it’s also time for the media to focus on that “something new.”  The media should start by examining the outrageous religious claims made by the Catholic Clergy.

OK, let’s take the Vatican Spokesman at his word; what kinds of “something new” does the Catholic Church need? Who am I to opine on this topic?  I was baptized Catholic at the age of one-week old, and I’ve been told that once a Catholic always a Catholic.  Even assuming that to be the case, I never believed any of the stories about miracles or supernatural intervention (whatever that might be).  But in case I’m really still a Catholic, I’d like to suggest what the church should consider as part of its attempt to become “something new.”

1)      Get rid of “virgin birth,” “papal infallibility” and the “transubstantiation.”  I know a LOT of Catholics, and the great majority of them are either ignorant of the meaning of these concepts or they outright reject them.   The Catholics I talk to all agree that virgins don’t have babies.  When I asked them whether “Mary” was a virgin who had a baby, they scrunch their faces and struggle for an answer.  In short, the answer is no.    Therefore get rid of it.  Papal “infallibility”?  They’ve got to be kidding.  If the buck stops at the Papal office, there can’t possibly be infallibility when priest-inflicted pedophilia has been running rampant for decades.  If this “infallibility” only applies to doctrinal matters, how was it that there used to be a “limbo” (A place, I was taught, where dead babies unbaptized babies go) but there is no longer a limbo?  Finally, consider that most Catholics I know think the host is merely a “symbol” of the body of Jesus.  Nope.  Sorry.  You are a terrible Catholic if you think that.  This doctrine is one of the main things that differentiate Catholics from many other branches of Christianity.   You would think that Catholics would care enough about their religion to know at least the most basic doctrines, but in my experience they don’t.  I went to Catholic grade school and high school, and I can assure you that we barely cracked upon the Bible through the entire 12 years of religion classes.   One more thing about transubstantiation – It leads to a technical violation of the traditional rule to refrain from eating meat on Friday for anyone who receives communion on Friday—but I admit –this is a technicality.

2)      Rule for the Cardinals:  Stop covering yourselves in expensive clothes and stop living in opulence.  Jesus said to give away your riches to follow him.

3)      Stop treating women like second-class citizens.  This rambunctious video describes the problem bluntly and cites to chapter and verse.

4)      Stop acting as though miracles actually occurred.  Whenever cameras are present, there are no miracles. What does that tell you?  If there had been cameras back at the time of Jesus, the headlines would have been something like “Jesus walked in two feet of water” and “Man unable to cure amputee.” Thomas Jefferson liked many parts of the bible but created his own version by literally chopping out all mentions of miracles.

5)      Quit obsessing about what consenting adults do to pleasure each other behind bedroom doors.  And quit demeaning sex generally.

6)     Invite pointed criticism of Biblical passages that are unreasonable or self-contradictory.  This strategy is healthy for every organization, including churches.

Instead of the commandments, I would suggest that the “Something New” Catholics offer something like the guidance of Thomas Paine: “My country is my world and my religion is to do good.” If you need more details, offer moral guidance like the Neo-Humanist Principles articulated by Paul Kurtz.    Or how about the following, as a new commandment:  “Don’t say something unless you understand it and you really mean it.  That would mean we stop claiming that the doctrines mentioned in point #1 (above) are true.

These are some of my suggestions for a less-dysfunctional “something new” church.

I don’t mean to demean Catholics.  I know many intelligent good-hearted Catholics who I truly admire.  I don’t understand why they continue to be associated with a church that demeans their intelligence and life-styles.  It’s as though their minds are trapped in doctrines and pronouncements that make no sense, and are in many ways demeaning or deadly (e.g., the Church’s opposition to the use of condoms in AIDs-ravaged Africa).  Modern day Catholics deserve an organization they can actually believe in.  For starters, they should not be made to chant claims that they don’t believe.  Therefore, I agree with the Vatican Spokesman:  It’s time for “Something New.”


Category: hypocrisy, Religion

About the Author ()

Erich Vieth is an attorney focusing on consumer law litigation and appellate practice. He is also a working musician and a writer, having founded Dangerous Intersection in 2006. Erich lives in the Shaw Neighborhood of St. Louis, Missouri, where he lives half-time with his two extraordinary daughters.

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