Jul 28, 2009

A photo of the long forgotten Pope John Paul I is in the heading, patron of gay Catholics everywhere (in my humble opinion) and the patron of this blog. He lived a short but symbolically significant 33 days of his papacy before dying under mysterious circumstances which have never been adequately explained. Some believe he was murdered, a view I tend to share, though we will never know for certain. According to credible witnesses, he would most certainly have moved to soften the Church's position on birth control (leaving it an open question, rather than formally reversing it), and in a like manner would also have moved to alter the church's position on homosexuality and women's ordination. However, whatever decisions he might have made, they would have been done in a collegial and prudent manner and would have taken years to implement.

While I have moved far beyond the limited confines of present day traditional Roman Catholicism, I still retain spiritual ties to the tradition which was my home for many years and which birthed my own mystical faith. I was present in Rome for the death of Pope Paul VI, a death also clouded in controversy, remained in Rome for the election of John Paul I and was present in St. Peter's Square when this truly humble man overturned nearly a thousand years of precedent and walked out of St. Peters for his installation mass instead of being carried on the traditional catafalque (sedia gestatoria). A new era had begun. With his mysterious death, all hopes for reform of the institutional Catholic system entered a deep spiritual night and we remain in this night to this day. But this is not a statement of pessimism or despair, but rather one of careful discernment. The significance of his death and all that we have lost because of it is that the Spirit in her infinite wisdom is purifying us of our inordinate attachment to religious institutions and authority and weaning us from over dependence upon false idols of the sacred. We have been taught only so painfully the fallibility of religious leaders and institutions. At this point in history the Spirit of the Sacred is moving many of us beyond these limited, outmoded structures into a new maturity and a new age.