G'Town Prof: Let's All Resign from The Church To Get a Radical Pope

A professor at Georgetown University wrote a piece in the NY Times advising Catholics to resign from the Catholic Church in light of Pope Benedict's resignation.

Paul Elie is a senior fellow in the Berkley Center for Religion, Peace and World Affairs at Georgetown, and he says that Catholics should boycott Mass (a mortal sin) as a way to instigate change, namely selecting a Pope that would introduce radical change.

This is just so fitting of a Georgetown professor and the New York Times. Here's some of the most outrageous parts:
AT 8 p.m. last night in Vatican City, Benedict XVI resigned the papacy. Now American Catholics should consider resigning too.

The conventional wisdom has it that Benedict’s resignation sharply reduced the aura of the papal office, showed a tender realism about old age, and made clear that even ancient Catholic practices could be changed. That is all true, but the event’s significance is more visceral than that. It has caught the mood of the church, especially in North America.

Resignation: that’s what American Catholics are feeling about our faith. We are resigned to the fact that so much in the Roman Catholic Church is broken and won’t be fixed anytime soon.

So if the pope can resign, we can, too. We should give up Catholicism en masse, if only for a time...

In traditional parlance, Benedict’s resignation leaves the Chair of St. Peter “vacant.” So I propose that American Catholics vacate the pews this weekend.

We should seize this opportunity to ask what is true in our faith, what it costs us in obfuscation and moral compromise, and what its telos, or end purpose, really is. And we should explore other religious traditions, which we understand poorly.

For the Catholic Church, it has been “all bad news, all the time” since Benedict took office in 2005: a papal insult to Muslims; a papal embrace of a Holocaust denier; molesting by priests and cover-ups by their superiors. When the Scottish cardinal Keith O’Brien resigned on Monday amid reports of “inappropriate” conduct toward priests in the 1980s, the routine was wearingly familiar. It’s enough to make any Catholic yearn to leave the whole mess for someone else to clean up...

A temporary resignation would be a fitting Lenten observance. It would help believers to purify and deepen our faith in the light of our neighbors’ — “to examine our own religious notions, to sound them for genuineness,” as the American writer Flannery O’Connor put it. It would let us begin to figure out what in Catholicism we can take and what we can and ought to leave. It might even get the attention of the cardinals who will meet behind the locked doors of the Sistine Chapel and elect a pope in circumstances that one hopes would augur a time of change.

And it might dispel the resignation we feel. Most ordinary believers have given up hope that the church will change its ways. But Benedict’s resignation reminds us of a truth we have known all along: change in the church can happen, even dramatically. If so hidebound an institution as the papacy can be changed, what can’t be?

A Georgetown University professor advising Catholics to give up Catholicism? I could see why he wouldn't think it was a big deal as Georgetown has already done so.
*subhead*Mortal Sin.*subhead*


  1. Like most of those dissidents show up usually anyway.

  2. What about those who want the opposite sort of change than that of Paul Elie? He also fails to mention that Benedict insulted the Scotists in 2005 (though we didn't riot... ok ok he made peace with us in 2007)

  3. I have to laugh about him quoting Flannery O'Connor, she would have told him he was full of rot.

    Let's see, I wonder what changes he wants to see, I'm guessing he wants the Church to remove abortion, contraception, fornication, sodomy and such from the list of intrinsic evils. And let's not forget allow womynpriests. These people are so predictable it's not funny.

  4. I completely agree--he should resign from Catholicism... and take all of his friends who like to criticize church teaching with him

  5. A wise priest once told me that leaving the Church because of the abuse scandals, things the pope might say that we don't like, and other stuff of this ilk is "A bit like jumping out of a commercial airliner because you aren't happy with the flight attendants."
    These people don't really believe in dissent or debate, they want the Church to conform to their new orthodoxies, immediately. It's sad and horrible that they would make attempts to goad the body of the Church into sin, to serve these aims, particularly when so many Catholics will view the end of Benedict's papacy with sadness.
    In their arrogance they cannot comprehend that the Catholic Church's longevity, stability, and beauty derives from its reluctance to embrace social trends. The pews only began to empty when she sought to be 'relevant' to the whims of the times.
    Benedict did much to right this course, we can only pray that the next pope continues in this vein.

  6. Perhaps Paul Elie should take his own advice and resign from his position at the Berkley Center for Religion, Peace and World Affairs at Georgetown

  7. As a fellow academic, although a scientist, I felt compelled to write him a letter expressing my disappointment. In short it says That nut...sorry autocorrect made NYT into nut...fitting...anyways,
    The NYT article was clearly not a piece of intellect, nor did it display any imagination or creativity. It was a silly little temper tantrum by yet another narcisistic coward who wants the world to conform to their whims.
    I await some nonsensical justification that reads the same.
    Perhaps I should have informed him his church exists. It's called episcopalian USA.

  8. In the second and third paragraphs, Paul Elie purports to speak for me. He doesn't. Our happy and holy and good Pope Benedict speaks for me. Otherwise, I speak for me. A whiny, precious little loser like Paul Elie will never speak for me.

  9. Paul Elie has self excommunicated himself a long time ago. Misery enjoys company.

  10. Proteios 1;
    "That nut...sorry autocorrect made NYT into nut...fitting...anyways," ...even the stones cry out.

  11. Oh brother. Leave the Church for Lent? This guy thinks we will believe he understands anything about Catholicism at all?

  12. You left out this part, which shows you EXACTLY where this guy is coming from. Yes, he seems to think that all these places are equivalent and would somehow give him the gay-friendly, feminist-friendly place he wants. Good luck at the mosque, bud:

    That is why this Sunday, I won’t be at the Oratory Church of St. Boniface in Downtown Brooklyn, even though I love it there — a welcoming, open-minded, authentically religious place.

    Instead, I’ll be at the Brooklyn Meeting of the Quakers, who have long invited volunteers from our church to serve food to the poor.

    Or I’ll be at the Church of St. Luke and St. Matthew, an Episcopal congregation that hosted the Occupy movement’s relief efforts after Hurricane Sandy.

    Or I’ll go to the Zen Mountain Monastery at Mount Tremper, in the Catskills.

    Or I’ll be in Washington, with colleagues who attend Shabbat services at Georgetown, the first American Catholic university and the first (four decades ago) to engage a full-time rabbi.

    Or I’ll knock on the door of the Masjid Ibadul-Rahman, a mosque on my block, or the Zion Shiloh Baptist Church, across the street, or L’Église Baptiste d’Expression Française, on the corner.

    I hope and expect to return to the Oratory church the following Sunday. But I can’t be sure. To some degree, it’s out of my hands, a response to a calling.

  13. It seems one must be very well educated to be this stupid.

  14. Definitely a big part of me that wants to say...Good Riddance!!!!

  15. How is he different from Joseph D'Hippolito?

    Well, except we have no record of Elie spamming comment threads with links that always turn out to be to his own work.

  16. Yes please. Do resign. Resign from Georgetown, resign from the Church.

    There are better people than you.

    No one is indispensable. We are all wanted, but even if we all resign en-masse, then..."if they keep silent, even the rocks would cry out."

  17. Don't let the door hit you on the way out!

  18. What Dean said. Just another (not so useful) idiot.

  19. maybe just a thought but the devil is working overtime to get his message out...perhaps we are on the cusp of something good (please not VIII though)

  20. The products of Jesuit education. First it was the itchy scratchy canyon of Sandra Fluke snatching up Federal dollars for her voracious vice. Now this pseudo-intellectual and his clarion call to idiocy and wrong doing.

    Perhaps, the Jesuits would be better off doing missionary work in Iran. Just sayin'.

  21. Well, darn. I just spent $15 at Half-Price Books on a thick volume he wrote ten years ago on O'Connor, Day, Percy and Merton.
    Now I know why it seems 'off' and subtly anti-C.


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