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 Blooming Stars

Autocracy is a Sin -2

            Autocracy is mired in a negative, highly distorted view of humanity. Right from the beginning humans are defective as they are supposed to be born in sin/defect according to the Christian reckoning. So we are repeatedly told that we are sinners, and as such not good; we are told we do not amount to much. It is not right that, we who are called by Christ as friends (John 15: 14-15), by Peter (the first Pope) as partakers of divine nature (2 Peter, 1: 3-4), and by Indian scriptures as sons (and daughters) of immortality (amrutasya putraah), go about beating our breasts as sinners, having no self-esteem and self-confidence. One may ask if there is no original sin, what is the need for a savior? We may not need a savior so much as someone who makes a needed course correction for humanity to reach the destination that humanity is designed for.

            A person born in original sin is defective and has depression as an inseparable part of his being. We need to be pulled out of this mess by some messiah or savior. This very damaging self-image is always in front of us. Since sin came through disobedience according to Christian theology it has to be remedied through obedience. Obedience to whom? The Jews are still awaiting the Messiah. The Christians believe that the Messiah prophesized in the Hebrew Bible (the Old Testament for Christians) came into the world in the person of Jesus who became Christ (the Anointed One). This theology needs to be revised with the modern understanding of theology and spirituality.

            The Catholic Church, the most autocratic, hierarchical, patriarchal, and powerful institution in the world came to the conclusion through self-serving interpretation of some vague scriptural passages that Peter, one of the twelve Apostles of Christ was given the supreme authority to lead Christ’s followers. Currently the head of the Catholic Church, the Pope, is elected in an autocratic set-up. He is known as the Vicar of Christ; he is the successor of Peter. He is also supposed to be endowed with primacy and even infallibility on certain occasions while proclaiming dogmas ex cathedra. The question that needs to be asked is: Are all these irrelevant, megalomaniac, and illogical titles necessary to represent Jesus of Nazareth who was born in the humblest of circumstances, and who came to liberate the captives, free the oppressed, proclaim the good news to the poor, preach the Kingdom of God, and, above all, to reconcile all humans among themselves and them finally to God (Luke 4: 18-19 & 2 Corinthians 5: 18-19)? These titles and attributes are not only unnecessary but also are anti-signs and great obstructions that distract and detract from the true message of Christ who was known by his message of love and service. They belong to an era of strife and obscurantism where Christian leaders discredited themselves by doing a disservice to Christ, and incalculable damage to Christ’s Church. The Church in fact survived in spite of them! God gave all that we needed to survive and negotiate our path of pilgrimage on this earth. Theologically or otherwise there is absolutely no need for primacy and infallibility. These pompous titles are scandalous, and serve no useful purpose at all.

            The Magisterium (the governing body) of the Catholic Church is the bastion of autocracy in the modern world. Most, if not all Catholics, identify the Catholic Church with the Magisterium. This is patently wrong. A tiny group of chosen leaders from about four thousand celibate clerical leaders as- bishops scattered all over the world as heads of dioceses form the magisterium and, governs the Catholic Church from the celibate city of Vatican in Rome. This small group of officials, however important and indispensable it makes itself to be cannot represent the gigantic whole (about 1500 million or 150 crores of Catholicsin 2017). Every member in the Catholic Christian community is as important as every other member. The role and function of a person in the Catholic Church do not make that person more important than others.

            In Christ’s community the least among them will be the great (Luke 9: 46-48), and the last among them will be the first, and the greatest among them will be their servant (Matthew 20: 27 & 23: 11). This is the greatest beauty of the Good News (Gospel). The early Christians were distinguished by their love, service, and humility by non-Christians. Currently Christian leaders, who need to set an example for ordinary Christians, are distinguished by their power and pomp, feudalistic, colonial titles of a bygone monarchical and hierarchical era (His Excellency, His Lordship, His Grace, His Eminence, His Beatitude, His Holiness), expensive, lavish, impractical, and highly odd medieval costumes and dress, ability to dominate, control, and, above all, raise money. Sadly, bishops are administrators and not spiritual leaders who inspire Christ’s followers into holiness and Christ’s teachings. A strong contention that if Christ were to visit our world today he would not recognize his bride, the Church that is indulging in pharisaic rites and rituals, as very relevant and timely.

 

     
 
 
 
 
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