Archipelago-townThe stepping down pope: a contemporary Martin Luther?

The Pope is, in popular imagination, infallible by definition, even though, to be precise, he is 'infallible' only when he speaks 'ex cathedra' on questions of faith and morals.   The Pope has bee...

The Pope is, in popular imagination, infallible by definition, even though, to be precise, he is ‘infallible’ only when he speaks ‘ex cathedra’ on questions of faith and morals.

The Pope has been long considered God’s representative on Earth.

The Pope is, in fact, an emblem of Jesus and just like Jesus, he is expected ‘to carry the cross to the end’ no matter what physical condition he finds himself in.

The last phase of the life of his Polish Predecessor provided a very effective demonstration of a cross carrying performance that deeply moved the world.

On February 28, 2003 all of the above is coming to an end.

Last week news has shocked the faithful and the the scholars alike: the Pope is in the process of becoming an ex-Pope and, in consequence, of being fallible again. Furthermore, somebody else will inherit the job of ‘carrying the cross.’

The implications of the decision are, at present, little talked about, yet they are fairly clear: the Pope has transformed an office with an aura of divinity–an holy job–into something far more human or even secular. In fact, the Pope is basically saying that he is no different than the chairman of American Express, or any other corporaration, like many have suggested (to those who were willing to listen) before.

In other terms, by introducing the idea of a secular individual, not a holy presence, the Pope is basically providing the dynamite to blow the catholic dogma for good.

If this is the new Evangelical Catholicism, as George Weigle argues in latest book, it remains to be seen. Weigle argues that the last two Pointiffs ‘commandably ushered’ in a new phase of Catholic history: Evangelical period in contrast to Counter-reformation Catholicism that has held sway for more almost 500 years.

What remains undisputed, however, is that there will no leader showing the way of the currently accepted theology supported by the Vatican: ‘pay now and you will be rewarded later.’

In this respect, Benedict XVI will go down in history as a contemporary Martin Luther even though, contrary to Luther, he decided it was time to chance course, dropping much of the historical and instituional baggage, acting from the most powerful chair left in the globe.

It took a German Pope to steer a new course.

Could this be also the reason for which ‘Germans’ had banned from being Pope after Martin Luther’s 1517 Ninety-Five Theses whose theology challenged the authority of the Pope?

Pope Adrian VI, the Dutch Pope also known as a German Pope, was the last German elected Pope.

He served from January 1522 to September 1523.

After him, The list records only Italian Popes till Karol Józef Wojtyła.

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