In a move that has shocked the world, Pope Benedict XVI, head of the Roman Catholic Church, announced that he was abdicating his pontifical duties at the end of February. “I am well aware that this ministry, due to its essential spiritual nature, must be carried out not only with words and deeds, but no less with prayer and suffering. However, in today’s world, subject to so many rapid changes and shaken by questions of deep relevance for the life of faith, in order to govern the bark of Saint Peter and proclaim the Gospel, both strength of mind and body are necessary, strength which in the last few months, has deteriorated in me to the extent that I have had to recognise my incapacity to adequately fulfil the ministry entrusted to me.” Already, speculation is flying fast and furious about who will replace him, and what the legacy of this Pope will be. However, for modern Pagans, for indigenous religious communities, for interfaith advocates, for anyone who existed outside the boundaries of the dominant monotheisms, his legacy of exclusion and derision was all too clear.
“I loved the Church for Christ made visible. Not for itself, because it was so often a scandal to me.” – Dorothy Day, Catholic Worker
For years now there’s been a quiet effort to rein in the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR), the Catholic Church’s largest association of American women’s religious orders. Back in 2008 it was announced that the Vatican was undertaking two large-scale investigations of American nuns who may “have opted for ways that take them outside” of Church teachings (meanwhile, the US Conference of Catholic Bishops instituted a ban on Reiki ). Many American nuns didn’t take kindly to this display of authority, did not participate in the investigations, and in some cases spoke out about what was happening.
Welcome to the latest installment of Unleash the Hounds, in which I round up articles and essays of interest to modern Pagans. Before we get started I wanted to give an update on the Pagan journalism crowdfunding experiment I launched on March 21st. The very excellent news is that not only have I reached my fundraising goal of $1850 dollars to send The Wild Hunt to Chicago in November so that I can cover the American Academy of Religion’s 2012 Annual Meeting, but I’ve surpassed that goal by hundreds of dollars. All in less than a week! Thank you!
There are lots of articles and essays of interest to modern Pagans out there, sometimes more than I can write about in-depth in any given week. So The Wild Hunt must unleash the hounds in order to round them all up. NME and LAShTAL are both reporting that Led Zeppelin guitarist, and noted Aleister Crowley fan, Jimmy Page, is releasing his unfinished soundtrack to Kenneth Anger’s film “Lucifer Rising.” The album is being released on vinyl, in three formats. The first 93 copies (of course) of the “Deluxe Edition” will be signed.
Pope Benedict XVI, head of the Roman Catholic Church, is making a historic trip to Cuba at the end of March, the first papal visit since Pope John Paul II’s visit in 1998. This high-profile trip has many people buzzing as to its significance, and what it means as Cuba’s communist government looks towards a post-Castro era. What is clear, is that the Pope will not be meeting with any leaders or practitioners of Santeria / Lukumi during his three-day stint in Cuba, despite a hurtful snub from the last Pope’s visit. “The 84-year-old pope’s schedule is considerably shorter than John Paul’s five-day visit was, and it includes no events with Santeros, or leaders of any other religions for that matter. A Vatican spokesman, the Rev. Federico Lombardi, said Benedict’s schedule could still be tweaked, but he absolutely ruled out a meeting with Santería representatives. Lombardi said Santería does not have an “institutional leadership,” which the Vatican is used to dealing with in cases when it arranges meetings with other religions. “It is not a church” in the traditional sense, Lombardi said.”