The world is abuzz with the Holy Father’s recent resignation; the first in a few hundred years. My respect and administration for Pope Benedict XVI has grown even more. The dramatic decision was surely not taken lightly. The Pope was well aware that his resignation would not only be a personal one but one that would impact the Church and indeed its history. How courageous and humble for the Head of the Lord’s Church to step down and “climb the mountain to dedicate [himself] even more to prayer and meditation” but now “in a way that is more appropriate” to Ratzinger’s age.
After the pioneering John-Paul II, Benedict XVI was installed as a “bridging” Pope so that a new historic phase in our Church can begin. The next Holy Father should come from Latin America, in my opinion, Brazil in particular – the fastest growing Catholic community on the planet. It is time for our Pope to be non-European. But it is not only important that the next leader of the Church be from outside of European boarders; also the needs of the Church needs to be considered; where it is to go and its future.
It is time for serious and official debates to take place about the option for priests to marry. True traditionalist, if they are indeed traditionalists, would logically welcome this as this is the way it was back in the day of our very first Pope, St Peter, who himself was married.
I will now be even more controversial, however I suspect that the Church is not ready for this; it would be to start looking at the ordination of women Priests. Jesus had female disciples; His mother being the supreme female priest. Alas, I think this won’t be considered for at least another 100 years.
The reality is that just as Vatican II opened the windows of the Church and let the light and fresh air in, the Church now needs to move beyond its Eurocentric perspective and to look at the Church’s “next step” in its evolution as it becomes even more Universal than ever before.