PMS 7: Detroit Daydreaming
So if you were a “lifestyle columnist” for the Detroit News, and your favorite web sites were the Huffington Post and Slate, and your favorite other columnists were Ann Quindlen, Nora Ephron, and Thomas Friedman, AND you were a carrier of Papal Malarkey Syndrome, what kind of pope would you want to see elected? There’s probably no mystery whatsoever in that question, but Marney Rich Keenan makes it explicit:
With the surprise resignation of Pope Benedict XVI, many of the first requirements bandied about for his replacement were that the 21st century pope needs to know how to tweet, travel and speak a variety of languages.
Surely, the office of the papacy that guides the spiritual and moral conscience of more than 1 billion Catholics needs a longer resume.
If she thinks that tweeting, traveling, and multi-lingualism are the only qualifications being talked about, she clearly needs to get her eyeballs on something other than HuffPo and the New York Times. Of course, reading something like First Things or Catholic World Report might expose her to impure thoughts, but still.
Wouldn’t it be wonderful if the new pope could strike a balance between tradition and modernism? A pope who, rather than advocate a smaller church with more ardent believers, opened the church to more people by being more relevant. What about a pope who loosened all those Thou Shalt Nots (like reversing its position on contraception) and broadened the church’s appeal?
This makes a lot of sense. For one thing, all that talk about sin and salvation–who really cares about that? The exploits of Kim Kardashian or Miley Cyrus, that’s what the Church needs to be talking about! Or if it wants to really connect with people’s everyday lives, it should be trying to answer the Big Questions, such as:
•iPad or Android?
•Arugula or bacon?
•Zombies or vampires?
•HuffPo or Slate? (I know that;s not really a choice, but what if you only had time for one?)
As for those “Thou Shalt Nots,” she’s certainly right that loosening up a bit could open up some serious possibilities for new members. For example, if the Church would just lighten up on the Sixth Commandment, there are a lot of teenagers in Chicago would feel better about attending Mass. If it weren’t so uptight about the Seventh Commandment, Hollywood would be ripe for the picking. And God knows how many potential converts in Washington are driven away by all that talk about the Ninth Commandment. (This is the Protestant list, of course. Yours may vary.) Oh, and does it really need to be said that a bunch of old men who go about in dresses really don’t have any business telling women or gays what they can and cannot do with their bodies? I mean, really.
Wouldn’t it be amazing if we had a pope who agreed priests could marry, and opened the path for ordination to women?
Yes, it would be amazing to have a pope who allowed women to become priests. It would also be amazing if we had a pope who could turn cowpies into ice cream, cause unicorns to be born from badgers, and make Joe Biden sound like something other than a gibbering idiot. But this is, after all, a pope that’s being elected, not a miracle worker or an Episcopalian.
What if we had a pope who struggled to pay his own bills, who understood that most couples live together before marriage, a pope whose son was bullied because he was gay or whose teenage daughter got pregnant? Maybe a pope who understood that God’s match for you could mean someone who shares your gender?
Come on, let’s just cut to the chase. Maureen Dowd for Pope!
I love the idea that somehow previous popes didn’t know anything about what real life is like out here among the proles. John Paul II lived much of his adult life under Communism, and Benedict XVI grew up in Nazi Germany. Nothing but sunshine and rainbows there.
Oh, and I have to point out that she’s being a bit of an exclusive bigot here. Why not call for a pope that understands that God’s match for you could be a 9-year-old girl, a pot-bellied pig, or a half-dozen people named Connie, Butch, Tulip, Chuck, Randi, and Randy?
You get the idea. It’s nice to know that there’s somebody out there in flyover country channeling the Washington Post.
(Hat tip: Paul Stieg.)
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