12 Resolutions For Pope Francis in 2015

Christian Catholicism

Jerry Slevin

* Protect children by holding bishops accountable.
* Protect children by restoring the age of First Confession to 13 years of age.
* Help abuse survivors financially and emotionally.
* Help couples by endorsing contraception.
* Help women by ordaining women as priests.
* Appoint women Cardinals.
* Recognize same sex marriages as holy.
* Encourage divorced and remarried Catholics to receive all the Sacraments.
* Have all bishops selected and retained only with the full consent of the Catholics they serve.
* Sell all excess Church assets and give the proceeds to the poor.
* End Church involvement in political campaigns.
* Infallibly declare that popes are always “fallible”.

* Why not? Impractical, not really, as I discuss below. Was expecting a “pope for life” to quit impractical? Moreover, Jesus was not limited by what was considered “practical”.

* It is time for Catholics to take off the blinders and require that their leaders follow the Gospels. Catholics can require this by (1) ending their donations that even indirectly benefit bishops, (2) publicly challenging their bishops often, and (3) demanding that their democratically elected officials (A) investigate, and if the evidence is found, prosecute suspected bishops, and (B) end all subsidies to bishops.

* Pope Francis has so far offered few indications about concrete changes he really wants. Many Church leaders seem fearful of any changes. Yet, many Catholics and others are finally pressing for permanent changes. They have by now seen Vatican misconduct up close and too often. They now also understand better that many of the Vatican’s frequently ambiguous, if not vague, basic biblical and historical sources supporting papal power have too often been overplayed, if not misused, in encyclicals and a Catechism, to justify supreme papal power .

* Significantly, these permanent changes, that the Catholic majority seeks in good conscience and good faith, may differ ultimately from what many in the Vatican now want. As the “infallible Supreme Pontiff” for millions of Catholics, Pope Francis has the best papal opportunity in many years, if not centuries, to fix the broken Catholic Church. This may also be the final papal opportunity to clean up the “holy mess”. Time will soon tell.

* This Catholic Church’s crisis has led to one papal resignation already. Pope Francis appears for many reasons to be the Vatican’s best and last chance to lead on initiating overdue Church changes. Pressures beyond Vatican control can be expected to compel more severe changes if Francis fails to act effectively and transparently. This has already begun to happen with respect to Vatican finances, as a result of the continuing European governmental investigations of multiple misdeeds involving both the Vatican Bank and the Vatican’s own significant portfolio assets. Prospects for criminal prosecutions of Catholic Church officials have seemingly caused the Vatican to focus on overdue reforms in ways that earlier financial penalties and shameful publicity had rarely done before. As with corporate criminal executives worldwide, prosecution risk is generally a uniquely effective deterrent to future crimes by senior leaders.

* Almost 150 years ago, facing a similar crisis, Pope Pius IX refused to initiate overdue changes to his arbitrary and ineffective leadership of his Kingdom of the Papal States in central Italy. His key misguided “fix” was to push to be declared “infallible” in July 1870. Two months later, he militarily lost the Kingdom completely to Italian nationalists. Traditional papal protectors like France and Austria-Hungary stood by and passively watched, unwilling to support further papal mismanagement and capriciousness. Will Pope Francis make a similar mistake like Pius IX did by misjudging his precarious position?

Note: This is an Abuse Tracker excerpt. Click the title to view the full text of the original article. If the original article is no longer available, see our News Archive.