In "The Change Book", authors Mikael Krogerus and Roman Tschäppeler identify six dictatorships in the so-called "free world" which should be toppled. One of these is the "dictatorship of breaking news". They claim that if a piece of news was really so important then we would hear about it sooner or later anyway. Instead, we should draw our attention to what is overlooked. I couldn' t agree more. I feel like I am permanently exposed to a cacophony of information, most of all in my mailbox - the "real" and the electronic one.
I consider myself a person who by nature is not very interested in breaking news, for the reasons that Messrs Krogerus and Tschäppeler outlined above. However, every now and then there comes that certain "one in one thousand" headline that manages to catch even my attention...
On 28 February 2013 A.D. pope Benedict XVI resigned, aged 85. The last pope to do so was Celestine V in 1294. If you are not a Roman-Catholic you probably couldn't care less. But if you are like me someone who can best be categorised somewhere between pious church-goer and christened atheist, you might have wondered during the last weeks what the implications of this development are and whether you need to adjust your world view a bit.
That Was One Small Step For A Man ?
Some say that Benedikt XVI (now - again - Joseph Aloisius Ratzinger) was forced to resign. If that really was the case, I do not think that we would ever know. Assuming it is not the case, I congratulate Mr. Ratzinger for having taken this bold step. More people should have the courage to do what they know is the right thing to do even if their society tells them otherwise.
But what about those things which some societies approve of while others - alongside the church - resent? Who can give the unequivocal verdict on what is really ethically correct or morally wrong?
Some Things Are Almost Indestructible
What about fun things which some priests are trying to make us feel bad about? What is really so wrong about heavy metal, premarital sex, or a good joke about god?
La Décadence Aux Tours De Notre Dame
And are they practicing what they preach? The ones who do must be super-humans.
In religious discussions I like to bring the example of the indigenous man living in a jungle somewhere on this planet. All of his life he does his best to be a reliable partner, a caring father and a responsible member of his tribe. He also shows great respect for nature. However, when he dies will he fail the test at the gates of heaven because he does not know who Jesus is?
If there is a god then He will judge us by our behaviour towards others and towards nature rather than by our religious rituals I would hope. He would certainly also apply this rule of judgement to a man who some humans had called their "pope" for a few years. Was this also what the man formerly known as Benedikt XVI was thinking when he decided to step down instead of completing a questionable religious duty which foresees retirement only via death? If yes, then Mr. Ratzinger's move would symbolise a modernised Catholic church that I could identify with, one I would be proud to be a member of. Then - from my perspective - Benedikt XVI's resignation would have been much more than just one small step for a man.