A Letter to the Pope in Rome

March 31st, 2010

PRIVATE AND CONFIDENTIAL

His Holiness the Pope

My son,

It must be trying for you for live in a bubble like the Vatican - - no kindly wife to talk to and advise you and no children to keep you up to date with the real world, with technology and the current culture. Instead, you are surrounded by men, many rather old and all of them chosen because they share your world outlook in every particular. Where do you turn to learn other points of view or enhance your comprehension of the modern world, let alone refresh your understanding of the original teachings of Jesus? But I want you to know that we forgive you, my son. We all forgive you. We forgive you and the Church collectively for:

- Trying to avoid scandal by covering up decades of abuse of children in your care. Abuse has probably been going on for centuries. And we haven't yet heard from that bastion of Catholicism -- Poland.

- Making matters worse than they need be by insisting on celibacy of priests, a rule dictated originally not by doctrine but to suit the financial convenience of the church.

- Putting the reputation of the church ahead of the interests of little children.

- Belittling women, excluding them from the priesthood, celebrating female virginity and pregnancy every eighteen months, not to mention the harassment of American nuns and encouragement of the demeaning habit of curtsying to parish priests.

- Adopting a laager, defensive mentality, instead of allowing the sins of the church to be openly discussed and the boil lanced.

- Instead of doing the management job you were supposed to do as Archbishop, pursuing those who disagreed with you doctrinally and chasing them out of their jobs in the now discredited tradition of the Inquisition.

- Being an active supporter of the Hitler regime before you were old enough to understand better. (We are all allowed one mistake in this life.)

- Involving yourselves single-mindedly in the political objective of banning abortion, but ignoring the scores of unwanted children, many lacking the true parental love of two stable parents. (Jesus would have forgiven you for this cruel, uncharitable policy, and we do too.)

- Outlawing birth control and hence encouraging the growth of world population beyond the ability of this planet to provide water and adequate sustenance. (But we forgive you. We realize that your main concern is the after-life.)

- Denying the right of people throughout the world to use condoms, and thus to avoid AIDS and to make their own choices of family size according to their resources.

- Encouraging disaffected members of the Church of England to decamp to the Roman Catholicism. (What goes around comes around. We would deplore any attempt of the Anglicans to now poach your now-disaffected members.)

Peace, my son, and think upon these things in your well-known posture of humility.

Father