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John Allen on Vatican Critics as Sharks Out for Blood: That’s One Way of Looking at It

Followers of Vaticanologist (and, increasingly, Vatican head cheerleader) John Allen at National Catholic Reporter will find his latest screed at that site interesting, I think.  It compares critics of the Vatican to–get this–sharks.  Sharks circling in the water, who are now revved up by the blood they sense leaking out of the poor old Vatican as it encounters one hard knock after another in recent weeks. Continue reading

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The Bishops of Rome

(Originally published at Queering the Church onNovemebr 27, 2009)

Whenever I look at the institutional Catholic church, as represented by the Vatican establishment and local bishops around he world, at its centralised, totalitarian power structures, its despotic control of speech, and self-selecting methods of appointment and promotion, its wealth, flamboyance and ceremonial, I wonder how the small band of early Christians, so utterly different in culture, ethos and practice, could ever have developed into what we know today as the Roman Catholic church?

“All the believers continued together in close fellowship and shared their belongings with one another. They would sell their property and possessions, and distribute the money among all, according to what each one needed. Day after day they met as a group in the temple, and they had their meal together in their homes, eating with glad and humble hearts.”

-Acts 2: 44-46

This passage is well known, and clearly refers to a small group of people sharing possessions, as is feasible when a small group share strong beliefs. But what happened later? How did the sharing of possessions extend to the trickier issue of decision-taking? Later in Acts, we read, in connection with the journey of Paul & Barnabas to Antioch:

“Then the apostles and the elders, together with the whole church, decided to choose some men from the whole church and send them to Antioch with Paul & Barnabas.”

-Acts 15:22

Continue reading