18 February 2012

Catholic Hierarchy Doubles Down

Archbishop Timothy Michael Dolan of New York was elevated to
cardinal on Saturday at the Vatican.
Photograph © James Hill for The New York Times.

I am a lapsed Catholic, having had the faith literally beaten out of me over the course of too many years in Catholic elementary schools. It is not that I want to advocate atheism - a self-defeating project, if there ever was one. And I surely didn't expect anyone in the church to take note of my earlier remarks about the unconscionably old, pale, male character of the hierarchy. But this report at The New York Times (from which I lifted the above, confirmatory image) suggests that the Pope and his underlings simply do not get it. As the reporter notes of the group of twenty-two newly elevated cardinals in the Church:
"With Saturday’s ceremony, there are now 125 cardinals under the age of 80 and thus eligible to vote for the next pope.* As a result of the new appointments, the group of cardinal-electors is now more than half Italians and Europeans, strengthening the Western voice at the church’s highest levels even as it grows most rapidly in the global south. Only three of the new cardinals hailed from newly industrialized nations, from Brazil, India and Hong Kong."
In other words, Catholics have a hierarchy reinforcing itself, with the Pope elevating voting members who will surely elect someone as his successor who is old, pale and male to impose moral and political standards on a constituency that primarily is none of those. I find all that stunning and am glad I escaped when I did. All I can do is repeat variations on questions I've posed before: Does this doubling down Sound like a reasonable plan to you? Is there any wonder why the 'morality' the Catholic church preaches to its own flock and pushes on others is so exclusionary and oppressive?
* The report focuses on newly elevated Cardinal Dolan of NYC who, at a mere 62, apparently is a spring chicken among his colleagues.

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