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Saturday 18 September 2010


The Pope's visit to England seems to be bringing up all kinds of responses and reactions. There are several things which I fail to understand, and several more thoughts about it which probably have no meaning but I shall write them anyway.

I was raised a Catholic and remained so (with misgivings) for over 4 decades but no longer adhere to that way of life. As a Catholic, I encountered, for the most part, only beautiful people, a few of whom felt a great allegiance to Rome and all that came from the Vatican, but most of whom went their own way in that faith, according to their own lights. There were saintly priests and there were arrogant priests. There were saintly nuns and there were severe nuns. There were the movers and shakers, the ones who went along for the ride, the individualists, the rebels, the dogmatists, the holier-than-thou (all of whom were interesting and these labels were only my judgement)and the kinds of people like you meet in any other group of people...and they were people like everyone of any other faith or no faith at all.

I don't understand why those who have no interest in the Church, feel a need to make a massive protest against this Papal visit. I was a part of the Church once and am no longer so, but don't object to other people doing what they or believing what they believe and don't come away needing to hate it and have meetings about it. Why have a meeting about something that has no meaning for you? It rather reminds me of those thugs who go hammering on the side of police vans taking murderers or child abusers to court. Were I the relative of a victim of such a crime, I would find it horrific to think people who did not know the victim, were using my relative's experience to express their own insecurity. The same is true of those who turn out to protest at this visit. It is true, I think, that there is much bigotry from Rome, but, if you don't like it, it makes no difference in your life. Why bother to turn up and protest against something that doesn't affect you and need not affect anyone else that you know? Make it an irrelevance and it no longer has any power over you.

Obviously the child abuse crimes are appalling and I will say no more about that because it is too appalling for words.

What was always and ultimately disturbing to me - apart from the massive disparity between the Gospel message and the Church hierarchy - was the sense of control: the arrogance of an institution, whose infamous history of murdered popes, nepotism, plunder, ambition, could then come up with the idea that a man was infallible. Far more disturbing, though, was the sense of having been robbed of my immediate connection to the Divine. For some reason, it had to pass through and be validated by this institution of men in the Vatican, and those whom they chose to ordain, before anything could be taken as Truth. This is the real difficulty I have with this visit: the condemnation of what they call relativism.

Relativism basically, I think, states that there is no 'one' truth. Churches and institutions are terrified of that idea because, claiming that they alone have the truth, it removes control from their hands. In the fear of that, it shows that they basically believe in original sin - people are pretty bad and without some kind of control, we will all become wicked. In fact, if you believe in any form of Divinity, the opposite must be true. If the Divine/God/Source of All is good and holy, then S/He surely brings forth only what is good. Within that goodness, there is infinite variety (look at Nature and the countless species) and how can any part of that brilliant expression of the Divine claim to hold some kind of singular truth or superior knowledge?

Among those who adhere to religions, there are those who find their way through drugs, alcohol, promiscuity (things which the Pope warned young people against) just as much are there those who do not adhere to religion and find their way along those paths. Among those who do not adhere to religions, there are those who adopt quite different paths...basically, everyone finds his/her own way in the end.

I just don't understand why there is the need for anyone to claim, "This way is right....mine is the only way...." - why the protests against this visit? Some people find it helpful and that is good. And why the need for this visit to spread the message of having to 'restore faith' when we don't need any outside influence to intermediate between us and our Source?

I have faith in the Truth of the Reality of each person, each part of creation as an expression of the Divine/Life. Relativism isn't a crime or a sin or anything of the sort - to my mind it is valid and, after studying many paths for many years, I don't understand why this has become the new enemy...except that it seems to be the fear of loss of control.

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