Wednesday, February 13, 2013

The Possible Next Pope's Colombia Connection

Cardinal Marc Ouellet
In the jostling for the man who'll replace Pope Benedict, oddsmakers have made Canadian Cardinal Marc Ouellet the favorite. The election of a non-European pope would be a watershed moment for the Catholic Church, and Ouellet, 68 even has a Colombian connection. He taught courses in Catholic seminaries in Bogotá, Manizales and Cali. (In fact, there's a Canadian Catholic seminary on the hill right above my apartment, where it blocks the morning sun. Did a possible future pope once walk there?) Ouellet is president of the Pontifical Commission for Latin America and his experience in Colombia and other parts of Latin America might give him a sensitivity to this very Catholic region.

Two of the other often-mentioned possible popes are Africans, and another is Argentinian.

Under the very conservative Pope Benedict, the Catholic Church seems to have lost relevance in the eyes of many young people thru its blanket opposition to abortion, gay marriage and other progressive social ideas. But if some hope that a non-European pope could make the Catholic Church more progressive, Ouellet probably won't bring that. His Wikipedia entry says that he's an extreme opponent of abortion, even in the case of rape, and a critic of the progressive Second Vatican Council, which contributed to the progressive Liberation Theology movement popular in Colombia in the 1960s.

If the Catholic church's actions in Colombia are any indication of Ouellet's ideas, it's not encouraging. The church recently placed a gag order on a Colombian Jesuit priest for questioning the Virgin Mary's virginity, amongst other heresies. The Colombian Catholic hierarchy has also stuck to unyieldingly conservative positions on subjects like gay rights, contraception, abortion and euthenasia and tried to stamp out the last vestiges of the Liberation Theology movement.

It's hard to imagine that the Catholic Church isn't opening a huge breach between itself and the young people who must be its future.

It's hard to imagine that the Catholic Church isn't opening a huge breach between its Eurocentric mentality and the developing world, which must be its future.

It's still likely that the next pope will be European, as every previous pope has been, simply because most of the cardinals, who elect the pope are European. In fact, 28 cardinals are from Italy alone - more than from all of the Americas, or Africa and Asia combined. This despite the fact that there are far more Catholics in Latin America than in Europe, where the number of Catholics is declining. And it is despite the fact that European nations have generally become more secular, and in many cases legalized gay marriage, abortion and euthenasia, while most Latin American nations have stayed true to Catholic values - at least in their legal systems.

And many African nations are even more conservative on social issues.

That's why a non-European pope might not be a more progressive move for the Catholic Church.

By Mike Ceaser, of Bogotá Bike Tours


Stuart Oswald said...

This is an astonishingly bigoted and unenlightened view of the Catholic church (and even faith as a whole). To be frank, I didn't expect such nonsense from yourself. I fear I may have been over estimating you.

You've missed some fundamentals of the Church (and faith as a whole for that matter). The sanctity of life along with the importance of morality. Those things do not change at a whim, and seems warped.

You failed gravely in pointing out that in societies where people supposedly loose faith in favour of atheism (or correctly defined as agnosticism) the quality of life, morals and fulfillment (happiness) are at low perhaps comparable to Pagans gone. Murder, rape, teenage pregnancies, injustices, extinction of young lives (for self convenience if anything else), persecuting victims of crimes (against humanity), drug use, self deprecation. The list goes on and is far greater than any criminality that could be critical of the a church.

I challenge you to really (and without bias) actually go to that church that (pitifully) blocks your Sun and enlighten yourself from ignorance (I mean this without offense).

I really do wonder why you live in a religious (Catholic) society if you believe it to be so bad. There's plenty of Westerners that try to knock religion and the Catholic church but yet leave (in your mind) their a perfectly atheist (secular) states for countries that hold faith dear, and then praise those countries for all the benefits that religion brings (namely, good people). It just shouts "Hypocritical" to the extreme.

Stuart Oswald said...

It really doesn't matter where the next pope comes from or even what race that person is.

What is required is that they uphold the values of Jesus's examples.

mauricio forero l said...

Mike, in the end, who really cares for the Pope??? This is a very irrelevant figure now. Perhaps in Rome as a tourist attraction, just like the Queen of England. The Pope is a figure of zero importance in a world that fortunately is becoming more secular so who cares if he's white, yellow or black? I believe that the Catholic presence is no longer that prevalent. And for that I'm happy. Not that I prefer the Evangelicals, but still the Catholic church has so much dirty laundry to clean that no matter who is in the throne, it will be impossible to pay for all the sins they have committed.

mauricio forero l said...

LOL, Mia, whats up, Is the Pope in to this HipHop recording??? Any way, I'll be checkin out the video...This was really cool!!!!! LOL

Miguel said...

Hi Stuart and Mauricio,

I take a middle ground between you guys on Catholicism and religion in general. I think that most all religions teach lots of good values (Do unto others, Do not kill or steal, Love thy neighbor, etc), as well as some bad ones, altho that's also in the interpretation. I've also seen wonderful influences from religion, including people who have escaped addiction, as well as the general comfort which religion can provide in times of crisis.

And Mauricio, the Pope does, for better or for worse, still have a lot of influence. I liked Pope Benedict's criticisms of materialism and consumerism, but I didn't like his conservatism on social issues, which I think also harm the church as an institution by making it look out of step with society. (Altho, Stuart makes a good point that if religious principles are absolute and eternal, then the church has no business reinterpreting them.)

Stuart, I'm not sure where you come from criticizing heavily agnostic/atheistic societies. After all, some of the world's most agnostic nations, in Scandinavia, also happen to have the highest qualities of life and donate the most to poor nations. On the other hand, I can think of some very religious countries which are basket cases.


Stuart Oswald said...

The line you are drawing between two aspects of Scandinavian society are not attributed to one another. My undeniable accounts of atheistic societies still stand. I'd much prefer a religious society as evidently you do to. lol

Stuart Oswald said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Stuart Oswald said...

Mauricio, you have to make me laugh when you talk about the Queen of England.

mauricio forero l said...

Just chill out Stuart, Juuuuuuuussssssst chiiiiiilll out, relax dude...I love English pop culture, I love Radiohead, and I definitely love London, but get real bro, the Queen of England is a decorative figure and nothing else, the royal family, is nothing but a bunch of lazy people, useless and disgusting.