It has been hard to watch or read the news the past few days without being bombarded with stories from the Vatican about the papal election.
If a tag cloud were to be created from all of the stories since Jorge Bergoglio from Argentina was elected, the two largest terms, most definitely, would have to be humble and reformer.
We are told by the experts and reporters that Bergoglio is humble. That seems be a common thought without any objection. (Remember, this is the same media that covered Barack Obama’s 1008 campaign).
The question mark regarding this new pope seems to be whether or not he is a reformer.
He is a Jesuit and Jesuits have a reputation of being “progressive”. However, Jorge’s positions on some of the controversial social issues that come about seems to be in agreement with his predecessor whom few would describe as a liberal in the American sense.
What would it take for the newly elected (by the all-male College of Cardinals) to prove he was humble and a reformer?
Here is a top 10 list of items that should be on Jorge’s agenda:
- Put ‘For Sale’ signs in front of every Church-owned palace, castle, mansion, ski chalet, and golf course.
- Hire Sothebys or some other auction-appraisal outfit to hold the World’s Largest Estate Sale in history. Anything gold, marble, silver, hand-carved, silk, or of significant value will get thrown into the Donate/Sell pile. The only things that will be spared in this fire sale will be all of the documents, memos, and notes possessed by all of the different Church corporations. These will be turned over to professional archivists to sort, code, and then scan and upload onto the internet for all the world to see.
- Hire non-Catholic lawyers and financial managers to the transfer of funds from the Roman Church to an independent organization overseen by survivors of Catholic sexual abuse and a broad range of lay Catholics.
- Number One on the priority list for that new organization should be to build healing centers – at least one in every diocese (to replace the bishops’ mansion) – for all of the rape/sex-abuse survivors.
- Number Two on the priority list ought to be paying back taxes to federal, state, and local governments which had granted the Roman Church tax exemption, as if it is a religious institution.
- Number Three on the priority list should be to inform all governments to halt all tax monies going to the Church and to Church-owned or operated corporations and programs.
- Number Four on the list is fire all members of the Roman Curia, the Swiss Guard, and 95% of the Vatican staff. Any new hires should be women to make up for lost time.
- Confiscate all of the bishop, archbishop, cardinal, papal, and Swiss Guard costumes and hold a bonfire in St. Peter’s Square with them to mark and end to the Vatican Hill Circus of Nero, once and for all.
- Since the pope is a dictator, Jorge should make a declaration that women can be priests, priests can marry and have children, all gay priests and bishops should come out of the closet, and anyone who ever so much as turned a blind eye to the abuse of a child is shown the door with no pension, health insurance, nor letter of reference.
- As his very last act as pope, hopefully as soon as next week, Bergoglio should – if he is truly a humble reformer – declare an end to the papacy. He should return to the roots of the New Testament and re-structure the Roman Catholic Church the same way the bible says Jesus and the apostles set up the universal (catholic) church. That is, all bishops will be overseers, not rulers; they will all be of equal importance, not one over all of the others; they will serve, not be served; and they will be about people, not things and themselves.
Time will tell whether Jorge Bergoglio is truly a humble man. We will also see, in a matter of weeks, what kind of reformer he is or is not. Rome wasn’t built in day and it will take more than a day to tear it down. Still, a determined leader who is advanced in age doesn’t have time to spare.
Pope Francis, Open This Gate.
Pope Francis, Tear Down This Wall!!