The abdication of Pope Benedict was a shock as well as a mystery. The rumor mills failed to take off in India. The Mallu papers even went on to the extent of glorifying ‘the sacrifice’. The western media weren’t that kind though. The hushed talks about the pope failing in his fight against financial & accounting malpractices came up. Moreover his zealous stand against the liberation theology failed to find him many fans.
Pope John Paul left behind a pious & sagely image. He was not well known for his hardline stance against the dilution of ‘core values’. Still western corridors of power were ever grateful to him for his positive approach to the solidarity movement in Poland. He was seen off with much fanfare. Sadly Pope Benedict had to take the reins when the church was hitting the bottom with so many allegations & abuse around the world. It wasn’t the medieval period & brushing it under the carpet only helped the issues stink more.
From the way I see it, the success of a pope depends on how well you are sellable to the media. Simplicity is a good USP. You will have to have a few photos & stories to make the point’ Slow movements , gentle voice, portly figure are added flavours. It’s better if you make the right sounds & stay out of politics & economics of the globe.
The church of today is so different from the one long ago. The election of the popes were itself mired with controversy and rumors of huge money going to & fro before the white smoke piped out. The popes themselves were ruthless, had army of their own & waged wars against the landlords/kings who defied them. The popes lived in luxury & begat illegitimate children too. There was also an infamous period of papal schism, when two popes ruled the church simultaneously. But today the flock prefer their priests to stay in church, do social services & conduct masses. Running the country is best left to professionals.
One convenient truth everyone tends to forget is- no religion was created for the sake of creating a religion. The prime objective- be it Hinduism, Islam or Judaism- was running & managing the well being of a society. The argument that religion should stay away from politics is lame & is of crooked interests. The church should pro actively involve with matters of the world even if it has to shed the meekness factor.
The common man cannot align his minds with the modern intricacies of democracy , socialism or communism. But he would be comfortable to understand the scriptures he have been hearing from his childhood. He would have set his living standards from the scriptures.
Is it the right thing to keep him out of decision making process that pertains to his life? On the pretext of him being too illiterate is it fair to allow the businessmen, aristocrats & oligarchs to make his decision. All the so called ‘phobias’ & animosities is a part of a bigger game to keep the common man from governance.
I call for our churches & mosques to be power centers!!