I’ve had 24 hours to absorb the news that Pope Benedict XVI is stepping down at the end of the month. I think he’s doing the right thing and showing some true fortitude. But I’m also glad because there’s an opportunity for the Catholic Church to right some wrongs.
The Church has stubbornly held on to backward beliefs about the role of women, the status of a person’s Catholicism after a divorce, and its attitude toward gays. It has the evil legacy of sexually abusive priests and the cover-ups involved still hanging over it. Perhaps as a result, few men are joining the priesthood these days.
The current thinking in the Church is that these matters aren’t open for debate because the Bible lays out how things should be. I agree with some of that. I think the parts about loving your neighbor, feeding the hungry and receiving the Sacraments are timeless. But when it comes to how we treat people who are different and how we treat women, the old ways of thinking need to give way.
I’m hoping a new pope can steer us in the right direction. Meantime, I’m going to just keep trying to be the best Christian I can.