Re: Egypt

I've also had some other thoughts, and one of those was how debilitating it can be for a country to be under the control of one man and his cronies for the length of time Mubarak has been in control in Egypt. . .

But I also realized I have actually undergone a very similar lengthy rule and it has been just as hope deflating for me as Mubarak has been for Egyptians. That rule was JPII's rule over Catholicism and now by extension Pope Benedict's. Egyptians have accused Mubarak of surrounding himself with yes men who won't tell him what he doesn't want to hear. The same has also been said of JPII, especially in the latter half of his reign. . .

The demographics in Egypt are really amazing when I think about them. Sixty percent of the population is under thirty with ninety percent unemployment amongst the college educated. Those are not statistics which spell hope for the sustainable future of Egypt. Lose the allegiance of the twenty somethings, frustrate them and their hopes, and you have lost their children and their childrens' children.

Catholicism has a similar problems. The Vatican has spent more than thirty years frustrating hope for change in the clerical nature of the church. Forget ideas about transparency and accountability and avenues for hearing the sensus fidelium, under the JPII brigade the church can't even make progress on a married priesthood. The message has come loud and clear: better millions of lost laity than one married priest in the Roman rite. That's an incredibly stupid message. But as far as women are concerned, the really stupid message is to keep promoting excommunication for the ordination of a women, but not for the male priest who rapes a woman's child. Actually, that is beyond incredibly stupid. Lose the women and with the women their children, and the church as a viable institution is thoroughly cooked.

In short, their are real lessons for the Vatican in what is transpiring in Egypt. There is such a thing as killing hope by over staying in a long reign of autocratic and unresponsive governing. Failure to address problems does not make them go away just because a given dictator dictates so. Eventually the 'simple' people choose to move on. The question is will Benedict and company be any better at getting these lesson than President Mubarak. If history is any indication, I doubt it.

COMMENT: Go read the rest of this article! It is the most insightful commentary on Roman Catholicism in the contemporary world that I have read for a long time.



  1. Very thoughtful, and right to the point. It does appear that Benedict would rather have a smaller, loyal church than a bigger, more problematic one. So,he has chosen his side. What is stupid is that much of the Roman church’s dicta are not supported by scripture in any case. Peter, the first pope – according to the Romans – was married. So why the prohibition? To prevent married priests from bequeathing their properties to anyone other than the medieval church. So, upon this corrupted – and corrupting – belief, the Roman church risks its future. There are only so many sheltered Romanian farmboys left to willingly enter a celibate priest vocation. Yes, others do enter this state voluntarily, but many also eventually leave because they ultimately cannot do without the thing that most of us desire: the unconditional love of another person in an intimate connected relationship. Forcing celibacy on priests is unfortunately an invitation to attract many of the wrong kind of people to the priesthood, as been amply demonstrated by the towering sexual abuse scandals of the Roman church over most of the last century, in many different countries, scandals that were covered up by the direct order of the Vatican (no, we did NOT “misunderstand” the Vatican letter to the Irish bishops). Alas, the rot at the top is still there.