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View Diary: How to Destroy a Legacy in one Interview: Lech Walesa (69 comments)

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  •  the RCC doesn't think it has to choose (10+ / 0-)

    Long story short, the conservatives believe that people are falling away from "traditional" Catholicism because the Church has grown complacent, out of touch, and let the fire of its faith all but burn out.  They think that a bold re-affirmation of orthodox dogma and ritual is exactly what the Church needs to regain its flock and its power.  Get this: the arch-conservative and virulently homophobic African candidate for pope is widely regarded as coming from a very populist background - born poor and has spent most of his church "career" as a pastoral priest amongst the flock rather than locked away in the Vatican as a scholar and bureaucrat - like JP2 versus Ratzinger.  The RCC really doesn't see any contradiction between getting closer to the people and becoming more conservative ... especially in places like Africa where A) the Church is actually growing and B) the powerfully mystical and traditionalistic influence of folk religion is still very strong.

    •  The popularity of Catholicism in Africa (0+ / 0-)

      ...may largely come from embracing elements of traditional folk beliefs.  

      That has very much been the case in the history of Ireland; pilgrimages to sites such as holy wells are clearly pre-Christian.

      •  RCC conservatives are betting they can accomodate (1+ / 0-)
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        For example, Cardinal Peter Turkson (the black guy who might be pope) was arguing that Africa is less receptive to the "gay agenda" because traditional African culture is also anti-gay.

        The RCC has a long history of incorporating non-European and pre-Christian beliefs and practices.  They have several regional variations on the Latin Mass still on the books, as well as "Eastern Rite" Catholics.  "Novelty" in Catholic practice has gotten a bad name among Catholic conservatives because the most recent examples have all sprung out of Vatican II.

        Catholic conservatives want to put the magic back into the religion - they utterly reject the idea of Catholic worship as mere metaphor.  People who are already inclined to believe in literal magic seem like ideal instruments for their larger project.

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