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What a state!

2013 March 18
by Gordon Reid

Once Pope Francis settles into the job, I hope he will come to the conclusion I came to many years ago when I was in and out of the Vatican – namely that the pious fiction that the Vatican is a country is one of the heaviest weights dragging the Roman Catholic Church down.

If Francis has the courage to say that the Vatican is the headquarters of the Roman Catholic Church and nothing more, many great benefits would flow to the Church. For one thing, they could get rid of all the Papal Nuciatures scattered throughout the world. This would not only result in hundreds of valuable properties being able to be sold, and the money used for the spreading of the Gospel. It would also remove a whole class of papal diplomats. The Nuncios are Archbishops in nothing but name and are usually regarded as curial spies by the bishops of the countries they are in. They and their staffs could be far better employed in pastoral work throughout the Church.

The new Pope will almost certainly move quickly to give real powers to the Conference of Bishops in each country, thus genuinely implementing the decrees of Vatican II. And what better way to do that than to cast off the modern idea that the Pope is a secular monarch (or any kind of monarch at all) and tear up the Concordat that a previous Pope made with Mussolini’s fascist regime.

You heard it here first!


3 Responses leave one →
  1. Paul Goings permalink
    March 18, 2013

    Well, Father, it would certainly be interesting, and, as I’ve said to other people, I’ll believe that the Holy See is serious about the abandonment of courtly ornaments and protocol as soon as they renounce the Treaty of the Lateran, recognize the sovereignty of the Italian state over the Pontiff’s person and palaces, and stop issuing passports, currency, and postage.

    But I no more expect that than I expect those in favor of the idea of “a poor church for the poor” to reach the obvious conclusion that we need to return to the practices of the Apostolic Church, and give up the idea of owning buildings, paying salaries, and celebrating the Eucharist dressed as first century Romans.

    • March 18, 2013

      You are probably right Paul, but there may be moves in that direction. Also it may be that the income from coins, stamps, etc is very great, and that would be a loss for the real mission of the Church, I guess. We shall see.

  2. Stephen permalink
    March 20, 2013

    Interesting post, Father. As an RC, I have never had a problem believing that the Pope is the successor to St Peter and as such derives his authority from Christ, But I have no such certainty about the curia or the Vatican city state. I am wondering what your response would be to two arguments that spring to mind in favor of keeping the current status quo. One is that if the Vatican is not a Nation and the Pope rules from Italy, doesnt that give the Italian government far too much influence on a world-wide Church? and secondly, I remember seeing the biographical movie of a Monsignor who worked in the Holy Office during WWII. He was able to hide many Jewish people from the Nazis, and wasn’t that helped at least in part by the fact that the Vatican is an independent state?

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