by Edd Doerr
Following are the thoughts I hastily put on the Washington Post's web site on Feb 12 ----
Benedict's retirement suggests these random observations, in no special order: 1. Since the death of John XXIII the Vatican has been rolling back many of the reforms of the 1962-65 Second Vatican Council. 2. The Vatican and rhe hierarchy are largely out of sync with the Catholic people over contraception, marriage, ordaining women, clerical celibacy and other issues. 3. The Vatican's stubborn opposition to family planning has caused misery for countless millions of people and has made the overpopulation and environmental problems worse. 4. The Vatican's opposition to family planning keeps the abortion rate far higher than need be. 5. The hierarchy's never-ending drive for tax aid for its private schools has done great harm to religiously neutral democratic public education in the US, Australia, Canada, New Zealand and other countries. 6. Catholic theologian Daniel Maguire noted in the Feb 12 NY Times that "There is no evidence that a papal monarchy was Jesus' idea" and that the church got "mired in obsessions [about reproductive issues] that obscure the message of justice and peace that Jesus preached." 7. One wonders what part might have been played in Benedict's retirement of the documentary film "Mea Maxima Culpa" that was shown in theaters last fall and on HBO on Feb 4, a film that explored the clergy sexual abuse scandals and followed the chain of responsibility for coverups all the way to the Vatican.