It is good to have a Pope who is not keen on all the pomp and ceremony and prefers the simply lifestyle. It is amazing the amount of work that many nuns and other Catholics do in caring for the vulnerable of the world. Also, there is much to be said for Catholic teaching in areas such as pro-life issues and the environment.
Because the Pope has a voice that is taken notice of, I hope that he will take action in the coming year:
1 – The Roman Catholic Church has much wealth through its cathedrals, other large buildings, the Vatican with its art collections, business dealings (and at the same time deal with tax avoidance of its funds by removing them from tax havens), etc, such that a lot of it could be sold to release funds to help re-structure business and society, dealing with the source of the many ills in this world;
2 – The Vatican should allow priests to marry. God did not make us to be alone. There are specific situations where celibacy is called for, but God is the initiator of that calling. If priests are to truly relate to people, they should have the option to marry;
3 – All priests should be encouraged to see that the Bible has the supreme authority in all matters of faith and that it provides a framework for an integrated lifestyle, based on the commands to love God, our neighbour, our enemy, one another and ourselves;
4 – All of its teachings need to be reviewed to check that they are based on the Holy Scriptures;
5 – All Catholics should be challenged to realise that Christians are people who have accepted by faith that Jesus is the Saviour and Lord, and they do this through repentance and believer’s baptism, and then by living out their discipleship through developing Godly character and an integrated biblical worldview, which affects every area of the lives. As most denominations, there is too much nominalism (churchgoers or others who call themselves Catholics because of tradition, but do not truly believe). There should be no Catholics, Protestants, Orthodox or any other ‘label’, but only that of Christian;
6 – Bishops need to live a simply lifestyle, by moving out of their large houses into a smaller property, and become more of a servant in their pastoral care of the priests and their families as well as taking the lead in speaking prophetically to the community they are part of.
7 – The renewal movement that has brought new life to many churches should be encouraged so as to make worship more accessible to people outside the Kingdom, using language that people can understand.
8 – The Pope should renounce infallibility (only God is infallible), marology, sainthood and other non-biblical practices, to help become a holy church.
There is much good in the Roman Catholic Church, but a real ‘root and branch’ renewal needs to take place for it to be really effective for the glory of God.