Archive for the ‘catholic church’ Category

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The unceremonious departure of the Pope who protected the pedophiles

March 7, 2013

ImageAt the moment there is no pope. Ratzinger (what a great name that would have been for a metal band) has thrown in the holy towel, and his replacement hasn’t been chosen yet (I’m told Sinead O’Connor has mailed in her CV). But what intrigues me is the depontification process – or rather the lack of one. There doesn’t seem to be any official ceremony, which seems odd for a Church that has a ceremony for every occasion and contingency. One day Ritzy Ratzy is the Pope, and the next day he’s just an ordinary Joe Soap. Or at least an ordinary Joe Ratzinger. He just doesn’t show up for work, and that’s all there is to it.

So what exactly happens on the spiritual plane – do all his papal powers disappear at the stroke of midnight on the date of his resignation? One minute he’s the Pope, with the power of Infallibility, and the next minute he isn’t – just because he says so? His clothes don’t turn to rags as the Vatican chapel bell tolls, his Swiss guards don’t turn into mice, and his Popemobile doesn’t turn into a pumpkin. He just takes off his big sparkly hat and shuffles away to a presumably well-furnished bachelor pad somewhere in the bowels of the Vatican to watch daytime TV, play video games and surf the web looking for photos of altar boys.

It all seems a bit arbitrary and anticlimactic. At the very least you’d expect some kind of stripping down ceremony, whereby a clutch of Cardinals ripped off his papal tiara (yes, I know that it is properly called a triregnum), broke his staff in two with a dramatic flourish, and forced him to hand back his Ring of the Fisherman and, especially, his magic red shoes. If they don’t take back those shoes, how can they be sure he won’t click his heels together next week and reappear in the papal suite?

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