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A Challenge for the Pope (Sun Dec 3, 2006 12:59 pm)

The Pope is Wrong!

Andrew Greeley recommends that the hierarchy should ask themselves, "What have we done wrong?" Given the current state of the Church, he should have used the present tense as in "What are we doing wrong?".

Pope Benedict XVI himself in addressing the German bishops (Nov. 10, 2006) gives us a clue. He stated, "Only the sacrament of ordination authorizes those who receive it to speak and act 'in persona Christi'."

While there will be contextual meanings and interpretations offered that try to soften the implications of this statement, the obvious meaning is that only ordained men can speak or act in the name of Jesus Christ, act or speak as other Christs. If this is true, only priests can speak and act as other Christs to other priests and to the hierarchy. If you are not ordained, don't even think about speaking or act as Christ. The full implication of this statement as it stands must be rejected by the People of God. We are all baptized into the body of Christ, and called to be other Christs to each other.

There is a fundamental gap in his thinking. While Benedict teaches that respect for life at all stages is the very basis for peace and justice in the world, does he not undermine a key factor for this respect, (i.e. the presence of Christ speaking and acting within us)? Does Baptism change anything? Are we not Confirmed in the same Spirit as the Apostles? Is the Eucharist not the Body of Christ, "neither male nor female"?

Certainly, given his experience at the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Benedict XVI ought to understand the orthodox Catholic teaching that all Christians are called to speak and act "in persona Christi". Any other assertion would be Catholic heresy plain and simple.

"Whenever the hierarchy decides to trust the laity, to recognize its true purpose as the empowering of the laity, the church will experience a second Springtime that will dwarf the first Pentecost." --Yves Congar


Other voices

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(Bishop Geoffrey Robinson in converation with Dr Ingrid Shafer)

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