The election process to fill the vacancy in Rome begins today. The Conclave will meet for mass and the doors will be locked and they will be left alone to their deliberations.
Geza Vermes writes in the Telegraph, Let’s hope Vatican politics do not hinder the Holy Spirit in which he hopes for a more liberal, thoughtful Roman Catholic Church, less wedded to dogma and closer to Vermes’s view of Jesus of Nazareth:
To judge both the legacy of John Paul II and the problems facing the new papacy, there should be one sure criterion – the teaching of Jesus. Is conservative Catholicism based on the gospel?
It would be presumptuous for an outsider to offer advice to the conclave, but may he be allowed a dream? In this dream, the new Pope is urged by God to revitalise Catholicism from within by concentrating on the authentic gospel of Jesus, on the message conveyed by him to his disciples, and not on the doctrine about Jesus developed by St Paul and two millennia of Christianity. This is a simple and moving message, which Jesus formulated in his own language for his simple Galilean audience, about God, the heavenly Father, the dignity of all human beings as children of God, a life turned into worship by total trust, an overwhelming sense of urgency to do one’s duty without delaying tactics, a sanctification of the here and now, and, yes, the love of God through the love of one’s neighbour.
If made prominent, and not concealed under verbiage about sex, rituals, mass canonisation of saints and Mary worship, the authentic gospel would concentrate on the true essence of religion, an existential relationship between man and man, and man and God.
Reconstructed with the tools of 21st-century historical and biblical scholarship, and perceived by 21st-century minds in 21st-century circumstances, it would appeal to thinking people all over the world, who have left the Church in droves, and feed a genuine ecumenical spirit among religious groups outside Catholicism.