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Church to Phase Out Jesus: ‘Too Iconoclastic’

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iconoclastRome, Italy (AP) – The impending resignation of Pope Benedict XVI in the coming weeks has presented the Roman Catholic Church with an opportunity to reconsider some of its fundamental positions, and the cardinals are already discussing doctrinal shifts that include a gradual elimination of Jesus Christ from the church’s teachings. The figure of Jesus as one who shakes up the current order and decries the stagnation and hypocrisy of spiritual leaders has proved more and more problematic to an institution that prides itself on safeguarding a particular spiritual tradition.

“The scandals of recent years have not merely given the Holy See a black eye,” said Timothy Dolan, a noted Catholic scholar. “They have highlighted just how out of touch and attached to power the leadership of the Church has become. Jesus never stopped railing against the Pharisees, and the cardinals, archbishops and other higher-ups recognize that they occupy the same niche as the old-time Rabbis. So getting rid of Jesus is a natural outgrowth of that.”

Since the identity of Benedict’s successor has yet to be determined, any actual changes to church doctrine will have to wait, but several dioceses are already preparing for the eventual emendations to orthodoxy. In Poitiers, France, church officials have solicited proposals from artists for replacements to medieval stained-glass windows in the city’s cathedral depicting various scenes from the Gospels featuring Jesus. In Cologne, Germany, the parish plans a community-wide effort to redesign its famed stained-glass crucifixion scene in that city’s cathedral, though some of the members, citing financial constraints, support keeping the scene and simply reinterpreting it as something else, such as a highly symbolic depiction of the Binding of Isaac.

“When Jesus disrupted the activities of the money-changers in the Temple, he was protesting, among other things, the way in which the people in authority use that monopoly on spiritual authority to enrich themselves,” explained Henri DuBois, who runs worship services in Poitiers. “And that’s essentially what the Church has become. Do you have any idea how many hungry people could be fed if the Vatican sold just a few of its priceless works of art? Or how much more relevance and compassion the Church could demonstrate if it endorsed the distribution of condoms in AIDS-plagued African countries?”

“The cardinals know what Jesus would do, and they’ve been doing the opposite,” he continued. “It’s pretty clear Jesus has become more of a liability to the Church leadership than an asset.”

Speculation is rife among theologians as to who, if anyone, might replace Jesus as the center of Roman Catholic teachings. Some, such as Dolan, foresee a greater focus on Noah, Isaac and other figures who submitted to divine authority unquestioningly.

Others, such as University of Pittsburgh professor Rick Santorum, wonder whether Catholicism might reinterpret the figure of Jesus negatively. A growing number of wealthy conservatives in the United States, for example, find Jesus’s personal care for the poor and downtrodden distasteful, and his clear mistrust of the moneyed classes have made the Church’s position awkward among those who see poverty as an indication of a person’s manifest lack of moral worth.

“The Church isn’t about to abandon its entire legacy – just a particular element of doctrine,” he explained. “The Church stood up to totalitarian communism for decades, and can leverage that moral standing to further the notion that private property and free enterprise are sacrosanct, unlike the ideas of a certain Democratic President.”

“But it’ll be an uphill battle at first,” concedes Santorum. “It will take years, if not decades, to overcome the existing literature and sensibilities. You can’t expect that the day after the changes are announced, an internet search on Church doctrine will suddenly bring up only acceptable results.”

“But I’m confident that particular Google problem can be managed,” he said.

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Written by Thag

February 16, 2013 at 11:31 pm

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