The news this morning of the resignation of Pope Benedict XVI has left my busy mind struggling to keep up. As a non Christian the news might be expected to impact me only tangentially. But as an Irish citizen and resident, the teachings of the Catholic Church still have considerable impact on the society in which I live – think of the role of the Church in education, the abortion debate, the numerous abuse scandals, the treatment of women and girls in the Magdalene laundries…… so any changes in the leadership of the Catholic Church potentially impact on my country hugely. As a feminist I would love to see full and equal treatment of women in every sector of society so have major problems with all patriarchal religions. As a news junkie I’m naturally hooked. As a fan of Twitter I am in stitches at some of the wit up there today. As a historian – and I really will finish my PhD one day! – I am fascinated in the way only history lovers can be by the historical impact of this news, especially when commentators on the radio disagree who the last pope to resign was (I want to dive into a library and start reading up on these guys!). As a Irish feminist woman whose PhD is (note the present tense!) on the role of lay women in the development of orthodox Irish Catholicism in the post-famine period, I am fascinated, slightly mesmerised, a little appalled at the blind faith expressed by people interviewed in Dublin and broadcast a few minutes ago on RTE Radio 1, and very very aware that this could be a big turning point for the Catholic Church.
So there is plenty for my busy little mind to turn over today and I keep jumping from position to position depending on which of my heads is in the forefront. A few commentators have mentioned the work of Elizabeth Johnson and her book ‘Quest for a Living God’ – another book for me to go and read 🙂
Oh and for those of you who don’t know who Worzel Gummidge is…..http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Worzel_Gummidge