A venerable institution, the Catholic Church is at a moment of its history, where decisions to be taken in the next few weeks will impact on its continuing relevance in the modern age.
The unprecedented decision of the Pope to quit on February 28th, is I believe a good indication that the Church is at a point where it can redeem itself first with those outside of the Catholic faith, then with those within. It is still only a chance, and therefore it is important that the 117 Cardinals from all over the world, under 80 years of age who are permitted to vote, will select the best amongst them.
Firstly let me say that a position for life, which the Papacy is, decides to retire, it shows that the person occupying the seat has been able to come to the conclusion that an office of that responsibility requires someone more able, be it mentally and physically able at the time to carry out the onerous duties as the head of the Church. That is an example to all leaders that in this day and age the responsibility of governing is sometimes best left to others, if one’s personal faculties become limited to carrying out the task as one would have liked.
Then when it comes to the particular issue in question there was an excellent article in the Washington Post today, very readable that maps out some of the event in the past year that may have led to the decision; namely a breakdown in the management structure of the church. So the implication is that it is time for someone more able to manage this behemoth, to take over the reins.
The task of the Pope is made easier or difficult by the competence of his team and their agendas. In many instances of Government there are personal agendas that get in the way of good governance, and the Vatican is no different. It is a lesson for us in Sri Lanka that we too must put our house in order, as when there are times when things are not what they seem, there requires a change to improve the situation.
Let us hope for the best interests of the Catholic Church, they find a suitable leader, who is able to instill confidence and be able to guide the flock out of its present slumber into a more meaningful period of spiritual upliftment, more in keeping with the teachings of the Church and not merely following the processes of a bunch of bureaucrats.