Thoughts on Popes and the Catholic church

I have thought long and hard about this subject as religion is complex and personal, and I think people should follow their own route to their own salvation, by whatever means that takes.

However I’ll just make some personal comments.

The Catholic Church claims the Pope is infallible (as the Catholic Church is infallible too). But people in the Catholic Church  (along with other faiths) have done some bad things (like all humans, ceding to temptation) and I forgive them, but I ask that they be judged by due legal process also. Child rape and abuse of people in subservient positions is to be forgiven ,but not tolerated. As the Church is a human invention, and all human things are imperfect, we can improve and learn from experience.By claiming infallibility we close our minds to the learning experiences shown to us. Infallibility, one suspects ,is a devise to control and manipulate.

The election for a Pope is made by old men and I would prefer a wider electorate. Any Catholic could be voted Pope in theory, but in practice it will be a Cardinal. Why not trust the whole Catholic community?
It is however a fascinating ritual.

I’d like the Christians (and other faiths)  to give women a better, wider more equal role. And not just piecemeal number chasing.

I’d like preaching against homosexuality to stop, and an acceptance of love in all its forms.. The writings in the Bible (and other sources), weren’t emailed from heaven, but written and translated by men, who as we have established, make mistakes ,which is a good way of learning and improving. refusing to accept errors is a refusal to learn, a refusal o improve. An acceptance of sex as a natural, healthy thing, is lacking. Homosexuality isn’t a disease.Mutually consensual  adult sexual acts are fine.

I’d like celibacy to be optional. Forcing people to do this just seems cruel and against their human rights.Marriage should be celebrated by the Church, not condemned.

I’d like contraception to be accepted and the Catholic Church is simply encouraging poverty and illness and hardship with its line one this.Its not cheating God when we watch TV (invisible waves) or drive our cars or use other modern inventions. Sexual intercourse doesn’t equate to the creation of a life, especially in sexually active people who are past the age of child bearing. Not every act of sexual intercourse leads to a life being formed, as in my life I’ve been married for 15 years and we adopted a child as we couldn’t have children, but we did and do have sex. So the Catholic line on contraception is pre-enlightenment nonsense.

I’d like abortion to be the choice of women, not the Catholic Church. I’m pro choice. Although I’d prefer that abortions didn’t happen, I think a legal and health frame work is needed to control abortion, council women and protect them.

I’d like a more liberal view to be taken over euthanasia but strict guidelines and practice to be followed.

The Church can not dictate what is ‘good ‘ or ‘bad’ until it has set its own house in order. We need to forgive and then use legal routes for legal problems. Moral problems are a personal issue, which we should condemn but forgive.

I’d like a more active faith presence in communities, rather than the passive one we see now. With a Church that isn’t just an empty building full of hypocrites, but a community working for collective good. The Church has become distance, irrelevant, out of touch and sidelined.

Finger wagging and blame don’t help people reconstruct themselves, rather it reinforces negative images and shallows the opportunity for spiritual growth. By accepting our mistakes, and learning from them, we improve. Catholics practice confession, which seems such an opportunity ,but why do they insist on collective infallibility for the Church and individual  infallibility for the Pope? It seems counter intuitive.

I don’t understand the Catholic Church, and I am not a Catholic, so my view could be seen as and is perhaps biased. I am human  and fallible. I do think the church could be a force for real good in the world. We need to think about and plan that very carefully, and learn from the mistakes of the past. Ecumenical efforts and peace, love forgiveness and reconciliation are things the church (and all of us) could and should work on. I’m not anti catholic. I think we should celebrate our differences, share our similarities.


Sportsmen and their demons

I looked through the best and the most flamboyant sportsmen and I noticed that some of them are so great that they have to fight their own greatness with demons of their own invention.
Lets take a look at some examples.

The list of footballers who have struggled with demons is a long and depressing one.
Peter Shilton and gambling
George Best and booze
Paul Gasgoigne and gambling/booze

Three giants in football. Shilton played well into his 40’s, George Best was just a pop star god who played football and Paul Gasgoigne believed he was the best.
Best drank himself to an early grave, Gazza’s doing it now and Shilton’s gambling cost him everything.
They created another environment to escape the stress of the real one, they were so brilliant they added challenges to make life interesting.
Best was a name that sold newspapers, and his antics made sure he was often in them.
Gazza is the same, following that well trod path. beaten and with no plan B, death is the easy option.
Shilton’s wife of 40 years has left him and he has nothing left except the memories.




The ultimate great one was Alex “Hurricane” Higgins.
He could pot the balls off the lampshades, and was very popular.Why? He played to the crowd, and it cost him many a match including the world championship.Once the crowd were behind him, he was either unbeatable or he went to pieces.
Higgins sold papers with his antics, the newspaper men knew it, Alex knew it and they fed of each other.
Alex smoked and drank himself to death, dying of malnutrition and cancer and pneumonia.
Higgins popularized the sport.Alex demonized the sport.
Lets face it, watching someone pot balls into a pocket isn’t the most exciting sport, and it takes a genius with electric character to make it interesting. Alex did it, winning the public.
Drink and smoking and gambling and Alex Higgins killed Alex Higgins.That’s what the sponsor’s wanted.
Never predictable, the ‘bad boy’ of snooker. Great moments. But not great consistency.
Friends included Oliver Reed and Brian Moon two of the biggest binge drinkers in history.
Frustrating yet bewitching.

RIP Alex Higgins