This loss in followers that gradually degraded the Catholic church in its cradle (Europe) meant a huge loss in political power and in money. Then Miraculously came John-Paul II, a man that many regard as remarkably tolerant, good, modern, gentle and so on. Some praise him as the iron fist that shook communism in Poland, others praise him as the defender of poor people around the world, the man who renewed the church… A lot has been said about this man but let’s get back to earth, his presence, his actions and his decisions were all part of a good plan:
- Attract the young generation:
He gave the young generation a distinct place in the church they had camps and activities inside the Vatican itself, he emphasized on their role thus attaching them and using them for work that needs to be done
- Looking like a saint
Well you know how they teach us in the bible that the early Christians lived in total poverty? How they relied only on the help of God? How Jesus in person forbidden us from piling riches? Well every time the Catholic church went through a identity crisis, they did readopt that Saint appearance. Just as an example, remember the establishment of the Dominicans and the Franciscans , also known as the Mendicant Orders. These orders were established as a direct response to the rise of Catharism. These orders quickly spread like mushroom on wet lands, the prohibition of Catharism and the inquisitions favored the rise of Mendicant Orders on the detriment of Catharism naturally. But the fast expansion of Mendicant Orders expresses the need among the population for a better spiritual guidance. That’s what was going on since the dawn of the last century, and that is why the church has been trying to restore a stoic/humble/poor façade.
You see, a lesson that history has taught us, humans have an empathy/selfishness balance within them; rough environmental conditions favor selfish behavior, clement conditions favor empathetic behavior. This, in my opinion, partially explains the clash of cultures also. But in general the modern world is more at ease and satisfies its needs much more easily than before, especially in the Occident (again and again). That is why people would find a docile and soft Christianity far more appealing than a tough and powerful one. Christianity has the ability to fulfill that role, because Christianity in its beginning was a very oppressed religion, it was found and established in a hostile environment under constant threat, unlike Islam that spread quickly and establish an empire even quicker (the Coran being written under the guidance of kings not fugitives) and Judaism, a religion who’s holy books were written over a long period of time, and more often than not by an independent nation. So the New Testament is a tolerant book, because tolerance is usually the demand of the weak and the minority facing an oppressive majority. Christians in post-war Lebanon demand tolerance, Christians before the war demanded the right to preserve the Christian privileges by force.
So the Catholic Church, back at the good old days of John-Paul II tried to resurrect the memory of that old Christianity backed with a very tolerant New Testament…
However there are a few flaws that show the insincerity of this docility. The Church is only docile with the powers… So can we call it a resurgence of tolerance or reassessment of alliances?
- Reinforcing the role of Africa and Latin America, but also the InterChristian, the Christian/Jewish and the Christian/Muslim Dialogue:
Europe has always been the cradle of Catholicism and all Catholic Christians were subjugated to the central power of the Vatican, in fact all Catholic Churches were obliged to sing in Latin (except our Maronite Church), to pay the tax directly to the Vatican, the Pope was almost always an Italian… Many saw that the election of John-Paul II and his work afterwards was colossal and amazing, sort of like a liberation a modernism… Well allow me to disagree, though I do agree on these moves I don’t really understand how can people neglect the fact that John-Paul II’s election in itself indicated that the change within the church wasn’t the result of that pope’s election, on the contrary it is the change that brought him to power. In fact it was utterly absurd and idiotic to keep the power of the Church so centralized, it was absurd that Africans and Latin Americans would be so excluded of the church, it was absurd for people who never even come in contact with the latin alphabet to be forced to pray in Latin, thus pray in a language they cannot understand, the changes John-Paul II generated were the strict minimum that anyone would demand, he didn’t liberate the church he just didn’t want to fight the changes that were inevitably happening.
To understand why this is not such a great work, you should simply remember how big Latin America and Africa are in terms of Christianity, of blind belief and compare it to the atheist and small Europe. I am shocked it took them so long to take this step don’t you think? These are powerful groups that the church simply needs
And think of their attitude toward other entities…
- What about powerless minorities
Now the modern society hasn’t just abandoned the old catholic beliefs like for example Muslims and Jews brought the plague in the medieval times or Protestants are heretics… They morphed their whole society, there were the emancipation of women, the gay pride, just to name a few. However, in an all-Male Vatican, the emancipation of women does seem absurd, of course don’t beat them but would they want to invert roles in society? Why do they refuse to bear children? Why do they demand to become part of the Ecclesiastic body? Why do they want to head the religious celebrations?
I am sadly speechless against these questions as they express the blindness and the stupidity of the people in charge, starting from the head of the church back then to the simple priests… They simply refuse to listen, ever since the election of John-Paul II and his work for the Catholic Church’s reform feminists tried and tried to reason with them, it just wasn’t heard, we just looked funny for him.
And allow me NOT to mention the homosexuality debate… The mere mention of such a subject is sufficient explanation in itself.
In fact the Church is still the dictator that it always was, it only started to realize who have become too powerful for her to oppress, those that are still not powerful enough are still oppressed
- Condom anyone?
Well it’s very very very very simple, what is the objection against safe sex? What is the objection against enjoying sex? What kind of modern church are we talking about? Why? Why? Why? Why?
My personal conclusion: It wasn’t that great and he wasn’t that much of a saint afterall
But wait! Don’t close the window just yet!
Well, I am not a big fan of John-Paul II but the last thing I wanted was the return of fundamental Catholicism. Yes I know many people cried out Nazi when Pope Benedictus was elected… and I know they were cruel, inaccurate and silly. But that doesn’t change the other aspects about this person. Benedictus is, just like John-Paul, the result of the changes that are storming in the Church and the world. And his ascendance to power was not the fruit of chance either. Three main points:
- The absence of Greater enemies
When John-Paul II was elected, the Church was threatened by new ideas such as communism, there were a sense of anti-religion, a sort of anti-religion imposed by politics, churches were being burnt Christianity was being attacked (along with other religions). At that time the Catholic church had to struggle against that current to preserve its political influence, after all communism and other ideologies failed to eradicate Christianity as a belief but did manage to eradicate the financial and political power of the Institution (the Church).
Nowadays, it’s different, attacking any entity is banned, there fore religions can’t be eradicated. However, a worse anti-religion has been established… the one that grows inside the individual, individuals are no longer against the church, they are indifferent to it! This is even more lethal than the political oppression.
Struggling against the Church is now being tougher, to distinguish itself from others, to affirm itself as THE right belief, sort of creating a new Identity for Catholics. It is no longer OK to agnostic/atheist/muslim/jew/Buddhist for as long as you are “tolerant” no you HAVE to be Catholic Christian to be GOOD.
Sadly this attitude is nothing but a regression to a time that we thought won’t come back.
- The rise of extreme Islamism
Fundamental Islamism has hasted many changes both in the Muslim Middle East, The Christian West and the Secular West. Though the Christian and the Secular West have evolved side by side and have become archenemies they do rely on the same population. The Secular West could be described as a dreamer for the past few centuries they have promulgated fundamentalism as THE problem, claiming that secularism and tolerance will solve all the problems and that others (Muslims for instance) will be friendly if we are friendly… Skipping many details we can say that this simplistic view of the Middle East failed to protect the Europe and the West against gruesome and unimaginable violence.
Up until recently, secularism was THE rule, among the Western population. The rise of Islamism and the apparent absurdity of this philosophy/ideology makes the Western population more inclined to the Fundamental Ideologies (throw the Muslims back to where they belong kind of ideas). One of the fundamental Ideologies is expressed by the rise of Christian Fundamentalism, remember when Benedictus claimed that Europe is unfaithful to its Christian roots and ungrateful to its Christian History. Unfortunately, people are now going to be more and more attracted to fundamental speech, and to be honest I am no longer sure if secularism/tolerance is the solution anyway, but I am certain that Fundamentalism is NOT.
As a final result, the Church tightens its grip and it launches outrageously intolerant remarks hiding behind the excuse of caring for linguistic precision! Just check this article:
Catholicism is the only true church, Vatican declares
Or this one (thank you Nomad for posting it):
Catholic claim 'offensive'
Ok let’s consider that this source is not that objective or whatever! I am honestly tired of this! This is STUPID… there shouldn’t be any comments that could be interpreted in a negative way by unsubjective sources.
I have no idea why I have spent around 5 hours writing this!