A professor at Georgetown University wrote a piece in the NY Times advising Catholics to resign from the Catholic Church in light of Pope Benedict’s resignation.
Paul Elie is a senior fellow in the Berkley Center for Religion, Peace and World Affairs at Georgetown, and he says that Catholics should boycott Mass (a mortal sin) as a way to instigate change, namely selecting a Pope that would introduce radical change.
This is just so fitting of a Georgetown professor and the New York Times. Here’s some of the most outrageous parts:
AT 8 p.m. last night in Vatican City, Benedict XVI resigned the papacy. Now American Catholics should consider resigning too.
The conventional wisdom has it that Benedict’s resignation sharply reduced the aura of the papal office, showed a tender realism about old age, and made clear that even ancient Catholic practices could be changed. That is all true, but the event’s significance is more visceral than that. It has caught the mood of the church, especially in North America.
Resignation: that’s what American Catholics are feeling about our faith. We are resigned to the fact that so much in the Roman Catholic Church is broken and won’t be fixed anytime soon.
So if the pope can resign, we can, too. We should give up Catholicism en masse, if only for a time…
In traditional parlance, Benedict’s resignation leaves the Chair of St. Peter “vacant.” So I propose that American Catholics vacate the pews this weekend.
We should seize this opportunity to ask what is true in our faith, what it costs us in obfuscation and moral compromise, and what its telos, or end purpose, really is. And we should explore other religious traditions, which we understand poorly.
For the Catholic Church, it has been “all bad news, all the time” since Benedict took office in 2005: a papal insult to Muslims; a papal embrace of a Holocaust denier; molesting by priests and cover-ups by their superiors. When the Scottish cardinal Keith O’Brien resigned on Monday amid reports of “inappropriate” conduct toward priests in the 1980s, the routine was wearingly familiar. It’s enough to make any Catholic yearn to leave the whole mess for someone else to clean up…
A temporary resignation would be a fitting Lenten observance. It would help believers to purify and deepen our faith in the light of our neighbors’ — “to examine our own religious notions, to sound them for genuineness,” as the American writer Flannery O’Connor put it. It would let us begin to figure out what in Catholicism we can take and what we can and ought to leave. It might even get the attention of the cardinals who will meet behind the locked doors of the Sistine Chapel and elect a pope in circumstances that one hopes would augur a time of change.
And it might dispel the resignation we feel. Most ordinary believers have given up hope that the church will change its ways. But Benedict’s resignation reminds us of a truth we have known all along: change in the church can happen, even dramatically. If so hidebound an institution as the papacy can be changed, what can’t be?
A Georgetown University professor advising Catholics to give up Catholicism? I could see why he wouldn’t think it was a big deal as Georgetown has already done so.