Richard Sipe suggests Pope Benedict should resign

by Thomas C. Fox

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In an article entitled "What can Benedict do to resolve the sexual crisis of Catholicism?" author Richard Sipe and Joe Rigert, write on the Australian Catholica website:

What can Benedict do to resolve the sexual crisis of Catholicism? At the very least he could open up for discussion and study the antiquated sexual teachings on such common practices as birth control, use of condoms and sex outside of marriage. Further, he could lead the way to making celibacy optional for priests and allow women in the ministry. (Would women have taken part in, or allowed, the sex abuse scandal?) And he might call for a representative church council to consider all of these basic reforms.

But it is unlikely that any of these reforms will happen as long the aging pope and the old men of the Vatican persist on retaining their power and control. They must be willing to share their authority and then undertake a Sexual Copernican Shift in their basic assumptions about sexual teaching and discipline, a shift recognizing that our core sexual nature is a bio-diverse reality, not a theological construct. Only then will the pope and his men begin to address the crisis now inundating the church.

And now we get to the hard part, the need for a courageous act. The pope could initiate this change by resigning from the papacy and calling for the resignation of all the other bishops, like him, who were complicit in the abuse scandal. (In Ireland, the archbishop of Dublin proposed such action, and five bishops offered to resign.) Other popes have quit. In centuries past nine of the 265 Roman Catholic popes have resigned or been forced out of office for the good of the church. The most recent was Gregory XII who abdicated in 1417 to help settle the claims of three competitors for the papacy.

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