If the Pope Can Quit, Catholics Can, Too


AT 8 p.m. last night in Vatican City, Benedict XVI resigned the papacy. Now American Catholics should consider resigning too.

The conventional wisdom has it that Benedict’s resignation sharply reduced the aura of the papal office, showed a tender realism about old age, and made clear that even ancient Catholic practices could be changed. That is all true, but the event’s significance is more visceral than that. It has caught the mood of the church, especially in North America.

Resignation: that’s what American Catholics are feeling about our faith. We are resigned to the fact that so much in the Roman Catholic Church is broken and won’t be fixed anytime soon.

So if the pope can resign, we can, too. We should give up Catholicism en masse, if only for a time.

We are in the third week of Lent, a six-week season of reflection and personal sacrifice when Christians prepare for Easter by taking stock of their religious lives. In recent centuries Roman Catholics have observed Lent by giving up a habit or pleasure, whether red meat, chocolate, soap operas or Facebook, to simplify their lives and regain their independence from worldly attractions — their religious freedom, if you like.

Two years ago, Stephen Colbert gave up Catholicism itself. As the comedian told it, he swore off Catholicism on Ash Wednesday and made it as far as Good Friday, when he went on a “Catholic bender.” His riff inverted the old saying that history repeats itself, the first time as tragedy, the second as farce. Mr. Colbert beat the pope to the punch.

Written By: Paul Elie
continue to source article at nytimes.com


  1. His papacy was the best argument for renouncing Catholicism is recent years; I don’t see how his stepping down , for reasons of infirmity, is going to encourage people to leave.

  2. I can never understand why people follow religions at all. If someone wants to believe in a god or gods, if they need that belief that some invisible being is looking after them, fair enough, but to belong to religious movements/groups with their ridiculous doctrines, dogmas and rituals is so far off-beam that they really need to take stock of the whole situation and come to a reasoned and logical decision about their need to be sheep and follow the nonsense.

  3. “Dear God,

    Goodbye and thanks for all the frocks,



    It must be something like the Mother of All Comedowns: to go from the heady heights of sitting at the Right Hand of God to the lows of staring out of the window of an an old age pensioner’s home. Actually, staring out of a prison cell window would be better for this apparent master criminal. Retirement and/or resignation is not, and should not be, a defense in law!

  4. It is to be assumed that the rat jumping ship is a devastating kick in the spiritual groin to the so called faithful acquiescent and smug legions.

    They had been force fed the spam that emphasized that the pope was the de facto Regimental sergeant major on earth for the staff officers above and the Field marshal in particular.

    As such it was a position conferred for life and was, and still is, the ultimate ju ju man accolade.
    Only the most devout and worthy attain the goal and they are anointed ever afters, at least until maxwells silver hammer bops a bonce!

    They do not quit, they do not retire, that never happens, Popes don’t do that!

    Their lot after ascension is to lead the myriads. that has and always been so.
    Oh there were a couple that quit in pre-history but those were different times, but for over half a millennium that has never happened.

    But is has and the confusion must be cataclysmic, if that can happen then is it possible other things the church preach might also be …not true?

    And there you have a beginning!

    According to a family relative, my lady’s side, reports that in the local RC church most members are in shock, confusion and dismay, this was not how it was supposed to be.
    He is not religious but his wife’s family is.
    The feeling is desertion and betrayal, from a fairly devout and close knit but elderly congregation three have apparently left, at least not attended mass since, which. for lifelong devotees strikes as highly unusual, and two others are openly considering moving on, but no specifics on where!
    I often have a conversation about religion with him, a quite atheist I guess is his bag, but he claims that the RC as a viable religion is dying a death, and has been for a decade or so.
    The congregation he is familiar with is not adding numbers and natural death is eroding what is there.

    They are not relevant any more and only remain as a hangover from another era, it is fossilizing, this latest escapade will not change the decline in the slightest!

    It has opened a crack in the façade, and it might yet prove fatal.

  5. The pope emeritus has not left Catholicism, only the office of papacy to which he was elected eight years before. His religious beliefs and commitments remain what they have been for decades. But I agree with Alternative Carpark that “his papacy was the best argument for renouncing Catholicism in recent years.” The hope of a more open, inclusive and enlightened church that the Second Vatican Council offered was gradually and consistently suppressed by the pope emeritus in his previous, very influential role of prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and in his role of pope. Over this time it has also come to pass that the arrogance of the church’s hierarchy with regard to secular law in cases of clerical crimes against children were revealed and the world, including lay Catholics, was, rightly, horrified, disgusted and angered. It is only understandable that many Catholics should wish no longer to be associated with such a fraudulent, oppressive and hypocritical institution.

  6. If I read the article correctly, his faith has been shaken by the shockingly immoral record of the RCC so he’s going to look around for something else to believe for a while?

  7. If the Pope Can Quit, Catholics Can, Too

    The Pope will live out his days in the splendid palatial isolation of the Vatican, – remote and out of touch with the realities of the outside world. – Nothing new there!!

    Catholics on the other hand (and those who live among them) will have to make the best of living with the problems he and his bunch have caused them over the years.

  8. “We should seize this opportunity to ask what is true in our faith…”

    The answer should be a complete no brainer.

  9. In reply to #7 by Rosbif:

    If I read the article correctly, his faith has been shaken by the shockingly immoral record of the RCC

    Considering he was the earthly architect of a policy that worshipped secrecy above and beyond criminality.

    He can only be shaken by the realization that he failed and failed miserably and in the process destroyed the mystique of a cult that is now in terminal decline.

    Partly from a growing knowledge based world, the instantaneous communication and globally donated content of the internet, the dissolution of the hermetically sealed enclaves because the entrapped victims now have to journey beyond the borders of the diocese, and therefore out from under the smothering manipulative blanket that priests weave, and the advent of medical science which has become a totem of an advanced and humane society.

    The meme and the need has been out grown by reality, granted a few that still tremble in fear of the church do not know that, but that does not mean it has not happened.

    We all know it is not just the cult of the RCC suffering from ‘reality poisoning’, the other scams are also haemorrhaging bums on pews.
    The only recourse for all of them is to become allied with a political force to insure and protect their ranks.

    Unfortunately for them they chose a side that is increasingly out of touch, and seen as an embarrassment not as a legitimate reasoned view, in fact a stunning caricature of dumb, old, rich, white, racist, misogynistic, pretend cowboys and patriotic mentally stunted imbeciles.

    No wonder the woo cults are coming off second best in the public relations sphere.
    And it is no wonder the political party that harbours them is gradually imploding under its own utter dumb stupidity.

    They are taking each other out, a symbiotic parasitic death wish that has a terminal disease of sheer ignorance as their swan song.

    Benny has probably realized the fact and has also realized the numbers and the trends are non-reversible, besides which he himself is a liability the RCC must obscure, at least they think that is the only way to regain past glory by putting the nasty stuff out of view.

    Too late…too little…too bad!

    so he’s going to look around for something else to believe for a while?

    Maybe he should give the Discovery Institute a ring, they would welcome an ex-pope to their ranks of the dispossessed, inane and disillusioned.

  10. Leave for good, American or otherwise. No one needs to look to a septuagenarian virgin in silly hat for moral guidance.

  11. I do not see that people are going to take the rat slinger’s decision to fuck off an excuse for a mass exedous pun intended, but every one who leaves is always good news.

  12. This author just needs god and doesn’t seem to care from which vendor—just so long as he can feel good buying it. How about dropping it all? How about getting a little closer to reality. They are all frauds, even the nice ones.

  13. Well, from a different perspective this may be a disaster- by that I mean the vacuum may be filled by Islam, a vastly more dangerous dogma. We perhaps should be careful what we wish for.

  14. The Poop ‘pulled out early’ in the best of cathlick traditions as an example to others.

  15. Can an alcoholic give up alcohol for “Lent”? Or a druggie until their next fix?
    What a silly space filling fee generated article the central point of which:

    “We should seize this opportunity to ask what is true in our faith, what it costs us in obfuscation and moral compromise, and what its telos, or end purpose, really is. “,

    can easily be answered:

    You made it up, it’s just imaginary bollox, wishful thinking that strengthens the hand of dangerous people with a drive to control the minds and actions of non-critical thinkers.

  16. Ironic, yes, but I myself once stopped sugar in tea for Lent and never took it since so it would be a great start!

    In reply to #4 by Vorlund:

    Giving up religion for lent?

  17. In reply to #4 by Vorlund:

    Giving up religion for lent?

    I gave up lent for lent and never looked back!

  18. In reply to #19 by Jon Snow:

    I gave up lent for lent and never looked back!

    Wise move of thee – a pillar of salt ye not be ;D

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