Say Benedict were to wake up tomorrow and something in his mind were to just snap. He now sees the entire Catholic church as an evil conglomeration that spends its time deluding the masses and actively making the world a worse place. Occupying his position as head of the RCC how easy would it be for him to overtly or covertly bring it down as an organisation?
“Destroy it” probably not; even if he can do that much harm to it, after he did enough damage he’d either be removed or it would start to schism and you’d have different factions with their own Popes.
The first obvious overt way he could do huge amounts of damage would be to release incriminating/embarrassing evidence about past Church activities; this has the advantage he could use the prestige of the Pope against itself. Release the evidence, tell the world that as Pope he feels the Church has become hopelessly corrupted and this evidence shows why. I doubt that would actually destroy the Church, but it sure wouldn’t do it any good.
The best covert way he could hurt the Church I think would be to ruin it economically. Deliberately mismanage the wealth of the Church (even more). Start multiple noble sounding, extremely expensive projects and run up huge debts, that sort of thing.
For a one-two punch, combine the two; first rack up huge debts, then embarrass the church so as to lower its income from donations.
If anything, that would probably help the Church. People will think they’ve reformed and all the naysayers would shut up as people flocked back to the Church due to it’s confession
The way to destroy is economically, and maybe with a tweak of your plan above. But in this case, simply come out with the evidence, and the refuse to punish the bad people in the Church. Elevate them to higher positions. Reward people who break the law and hurt people to protect the Church
the catholic magisterium is the highest college in the church and the highest teaching authority. the best and the brightest in the RCC man it. no single person, even the pope, can reverse everything the college says. the magisterium has more than 1,000 years of research archives, documented arguments and debates. they have long resolved things that other christian denominations keep accusing the RCC of:
- jesus a god and not a man
- RCC practices and beliefs not found in the bible
- primacy of peter
- the holy trinity
Say what? That’s not simply a Catholic belief – those are central to Christianity itself.
Actually Guin, there are or have been denominations/heresies which denied the Trinity or which claimed that Jesus was not “wholly a man and wholly God”. Some claimed that he was adopted by God, others that he was a man granted special powers by God, others that he was created (i.e., not eternal) and therefore inferior to God.
I’ve known people who, in this day and age, spoused notions similar to those. Heck, J. J. Benítez made a ton of money by claiming that JC was a mole from the aliens in his “Trojan Horse” series.
The Pope would likely succumb to a “sudden and fatal heart attack” as soon as certain cardinals see a change in his behavior. Wouldn’t be the first time.
Well, “Pope” Anthony Quinn did it in the movie the Shoes of the Fisherman
(The movie is from the cold-war era, and The Pope declares that he will sell ALL the church’s property, world-wide, to bring peace. (By giving all the money to the starving masses in China and Russia,thus preventing a nuclear war, or something like that…)
From a German perspective:
Actually, this is exactly what many critical thinking Catholics (at least in Germany) would want the Pope to do to rescue the church: to be honest about the church’s shortcomings and frankly name the crimes. Some even think this would be the only way to retain the German Catholic Church, as after all the revealed scandals and crimes of the last years, the believers are leaving the church in swarms.
The Cadaver Synod sets the bar pretty high for how crazy you can get as pope and still not destroy the Church.
If exhuming the body of the previous pope, putting it on trial, mutilating it after finding him guilty, and tossing the corpse in a river when you’re done doesn’t do it then you’ve really got to up the ante.
If he announced that he was going to marry Cardinal Sin next week, there might be some stirrings among the cassocks.
No, he can’t.
If the Pope announced that he wasn’t infallible, could he be wrong about that?
I was going to say “fall down one of the Vatican’s many flights of stairs”, but yes.
There are non-trinitarian Christians today, even. I got roped into going with a friend to his church back in college. The church thought they needed to get me saved (not even bothering to ask me if I was a Christian), and spent time after service (my friend was my ride and he was busy) telling me how Jesus and the Father were all the same person, quoting Scripture at me and telling me the Trinity didn’t exist.
Furthermore, my crazy roommate in college constantly would tell me about how Jesus was actually lower than God, claiming he had learned this at a Seventh Day Adventist church. Then again, he is the guy that started his own cult, so who knows.
Especially since Sin has been dead for nearly six years…
…with beams from his eyes? I would SO watch that on the SyFi Channel! If only there was a country brave enough to make really bad horror movies about virtually Anything. That spoke English. And played hockey. I mean, I can almost see the trailer:
*“General, he’s taken out our satellites!”
“Get the President on the horn. No, I don’t care what time it is…”
“What should I tell him?”
“Tell him Holy Hell has broken loose…!”
“Time for some separation of Church & State!”
“What’s there left to do?”
“Pray, son…just pray.”
"General, that actually might be a Very Bad idea…
“How in the Holy Hell do you get get 8 Billion people to stop praying?”
“Cancel Glen Beck?”
“Declare the Cubs World Series Champions?”*
I was wondering if he could use the very-rarely-used power of Papal infallibility to declare that now and forevermore the Catholic church would be dissolved into autonomous, that there would be no central authority for the teachings of Jesus now and forevermore, that Catholics would be responsible for their own interpretation of scripture, and that anyone who tried to recreate a central Catholic authority would be placing himself outside the church. This might run afoul of Holy tradition, I can’t tell for sure, but at the very least I could see this sending a few shockwaves through church structure.
I don’t think he could do it overtly. Probably the most he could do would be to bring about a No Homers type situation, where everyone who still wants to be Catholic gets together and forms a more or less identical alternative; “As the long we’re Catholics we have to listen to the Pope … but maybe we don’t wanna be Catholics no more. Maybe we wanna be … Smatholics.”
'Course, that’s pretty unlikely, since the old RCC would still control vast amounts of money and property, and no one would want to start from scratch. Probably in such a situation the Cardinals would get together and find an excuse to remove Benedict.
You’ve got to pitch that idea to someone. I’m a conservative Catholic and I’ve just pissed my pants laughing.
The highlighted part is comedy platinum.