The next pope may bring with him an invigorating connection to the Southern Hemisphere, a media magnetism or better leadership skills than the shy and cerebral Benedict. But whoever he may be, the 266th pope will inherit a gerontocracy obsessed with turf and Italian politics, uninterested in basic management practices and hostile to reforms.
VatiLeaks, as the scandal came to be known, dragged the fusty institution into the wild WikiLeaks era. It exposed the church bureaucracy’s entrenched opposition to Benedict’s fledgling effort to carve out a legacy as a reformer against the backdrop of a global child sex abuse scandal and the continued dwindling of his flock.
It showed how Benedict, a weak manager who may most be remembered for the way in which he left office, was no match for a culture that rejected even a modicum of transparency and preferred a damage-control campaign that diverted attention from the institution’s fundamental problems. ...WaPo
Surprised? Shocked? And you actually live in this world? Anyone who has even a passing acquaintance with the Church knows it to have been serially and very comfortably, the pinnacle of corruption from the get-go. We weren't given that constipated, unhappy man, Martin Luther, for no reason whatever.
We have, per esempio, indulgences. You can actually make a deal -- financial, or involving goods of some kind -- with your priest who will then absolve you of your sins.
It is, nil obstat, about power. I don't think we should fall for the notion of Benedict as "reformer."
... To cut out the source of the corruption, the church would have to attack its own authoritarian culture. Had Benedict done so in his pastoral letter, it would have been the most dramatic moment in the history of Christianity since Paul fell off his horse on the road to Damascus.
Benedict, as Cardinal Ratzinger, was one of the key figures in the Catholic counter-revolution. His career has been all about rolling back the democratic ideal of the church as the "people of God" that emerged from Vatican II and re-establishing hierarchical control. Indeed, in the pastoral letter he slyly suggests that Vatican II itself was responsible for the church's collusion with abusing priests – which, given the existence of precisely the same system long before the council, is patent nonsense.
So, for all the breast-beating in the pastoral letter, there is no acknowledgment of Benedict's own culpability. (If the "credibility and effectiveness" of Irish bishops have been undermined, as he says, by the scandals, what of his own standing as a bishop, as the power behind John Paul II's throne and now as pope?) ...Fintan O'Toole, Guardian
These guys, those costumes, that building, the money, the jewels -- where are the echoes of Antonello's St. Jerome?