Some 98 percent of sexually experienced Catholics have used birth control even though it is considered a sin by the church. The same percentage of Catholic women have abortions as non-Catholic women. The church is against women in its hierarchy. Women who haven’t already are going to start walking away. The church is against homosexuality. Gay Catholics who have not already will surely start walking. Priests are not always celibate. Soon they may not want to live such hypocrisy.
In old days, the Vatican operated much like a monarchy. The pope had the same kind of power as a king. And, like kings, popes accumulated a lot of money. They were extremely political. Read Hilary Mantel’s intriguing two books, “Wolf Hall” and “Bring Up the Bodies” to learn exactly how the Vatican used to operate and how Henry VIII broke away from the papacy in order to marry Anne Boleyn. The pope had much more power then than he does now.
Times change. Rules change. The Vatican moves slowly.
But Catholics have been drifting away, searching for their own kind of religion and spirituality, a personal spirituality which does not inflict rules on those whose lives are so very different from the celibate men in charge.
Colm Toibin’s novel, “The Testament of Mary,” brilliantly describes how it all may have started. The disciples sought Mary out in Ephesus after Christ’s death, where she had gone to get away, and tried to persuade her that the death was something different from what she had observed. They were already trying to build a church when all she saw was her son dying on the cross. They wanted it to be different. She wouldn’t play along. A lot of others did, of course.
Catholicism has come a long way in 2,000 years — from Christ’s sacrificial dying on the cross to the church’s self-protecting cover up of child sexual abuse.
But change it must, or else the Catholic Church may end up like Colonial Williamsburg, with the pageantry, the regalia, red shoes and all, a relic of what was once a vibrant, living institution.