Novelist. Author of APSARAS and tales from the beautiful Saigh Valley. First person to quantify spiritual values.

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Monday 25 February 2013

Leadership I

The Pope has surprisingly resigned his post, the first to do so for over six hundred years and with it the leadership of over one billion Roman Catholics, the world over. It is the recent tradition that the Pope, the 'Vicar of Christ', dies in the post and his resignation has provoked much speculation about his reasoning. His deteriorating health is widely thought to be the principle reason and the Pope's fear that he couldn't continue his Ministry as he should. Perfectly sound if it wasn't for the rarity of the occasion and the fact that he seemed to apologise to his flock for his decision, asking for pardon for all his defects.
Could there be other reasons for Pope Benedict XVI to abdicate the Chair of St. Peter? It is widely held that Joseph Aloisius Ratzinger as he was originally known, was not a Pope like his predecessor, Jean-Paul II, with a strong pastoral inclination. He is more a man to seek the quiet and seclusion of a library where he can continue his research and writing.

Could it be that Benedict XVI, who is not a stupid man, has discovered something, a document or argument, for instance, that has altered his thinking. Could it be the scandals that have haunted his tenure, the alleged money laundering activities of the Vatican's bankers and the abuse of innocents by paedophile Roman Catholic priests that went unheeded, even ignored by Bishops and Cardinals, have prompted him, at times to ask the question I have so far not heard; namely: "where was God when all this was taking place?"

Another question he might have asked himself is why in the whole of the Bible, a work, so we're told, inspired by God, is the story of the Creation, his single greatest ever achievement, confined to just one page out of seventeen hundred (My Bible) with the remainder taken up with His greatest flaw; man?
The account of the creation in the first page of the Bible seems to me to be consistent with an incomplete report of events told say, ten thousand years ago, at the end of the ice age, but which has been distorted by thousands of repetitions over many millenia of oral tradition. The writers of Genesis had no more information to go on; merely fragments of a story told to scientifically ignorant hunter gatherers who could understand the horrors of the (true) flood but not the mechanics of celestial cosmology. It is sad to relate that God's inspiration didn't extend so far as explaining the science!
Joking apart, it is a serious matter because it directly relates to the earlier question of God's whereabouts, a question posed by those Jewish folk held in Nazi concentration camps. It is the same question asked by Job thousands of years earlier when he faced a world full of injustices and surely it is a question that Benedict XVI might have, himself, asked.
Job was told he was maggot by Bildad, the Shuhite, to even contemplate the question as 'Dominion and Awe belong to God' . It didn't convince him, even when Elihu reinforced the argument so that finally God appeared to Job, in person - a very rare occurrence, indeed.
And what did God tell Job? He told him that man had no right to question (interrogate) God on how the world ran because Man was insignificant compared to a God that had created heaven and earth.
"Do you have an arm like God's
and can your voice thunder like this?" Job is asked.
God's argument seems to me to rest solely on the premise that unlike Cassius Clay, he truly is 'The Greatest' and man is a 'worm' by comparison. No Argument!

Which brings us back to the legitimacy of the 'Creation' story. It is an act of faith to believe what is written in the Bible is the absolute truth. Most of what follows Genesis seems to me to be a good history of the Semitic peoples as passed down by the said oral tradition until it was first written down about three thousand years ago. However the paucity of detail about the 'Creation' story dispels any notion that it was God inspired. 'Let there be light and there was light', is simply not good enough.

I believe that Benedict XVI will retreat and consider all he has learnt with increasing scepticism, afraid to prey; not because he is afraid of the answer but because he's afraid there will be no answer. There will be no answer because no one is listening: there is no one there.

Who will now lead the Church? Who will come forward to seek the spiritual truth and announce it to the world? We wait and see but the peoples of the world are no longer totally ignorant. They want an answer to man's innate spirituality but they are becoming increasingly unlikely to be fobbed off with lies. Shamans and witch-doctors have had their day. Will the priests and imams soon follow?

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