As the cardinals prepare for the conclave to elect the next pope this week, I would like to recommend a candidate they may have overlooked. Someone I think would be the perfect pope successor. Father Duty.
Pope Benedict's resignation and the conclave that will convene to name his successor spark hope for a Catholic Spring that might bring the Vatican into the modern world.
No surprise, transparency has no place in the conclave; all participants must take a pledge of secrecy. Indeed, how can we even expect transparency when many of the cardinal electors stand accused of the very behavior they claim to deplore?
As the world's foremost religious figure, no one can do more to address carnal repression in religion than the new pope whom, if he chooses to ignore the sexual crisis facing the Church, will be absconding on the responsibility of leadership.
Machiavelli plotted to obliterate "this swarm of scoundrels." Perhaps the current governing Cardinals are in conflict how to institutionally cope with two mortal sins, adultery and theft, both of which were cited by Benedict. The true believers of the Church deserve a pure slate.
Grasped in its fullness, Evangelical Catholicism invites Catholics (and indeed all who are interested in the Catholic Church) to move beyond the left/right surface arguments of past decade and learn a new way of looking at the recent Catholic past.
Even if my dire assessment were completely off base, it would take nothing short of a miracle to avert failure for the next pope and a crisis of faith for believers.
As the conclave gets underway I hope the Cardinals understand it is time for moral, compassionate and truly healing leadership at the Vatican. There is no better time than now.
Frankly, the most important part of this affair is that it's another reminder of why the troupe of old men playing pajama dress up, known as the "Tea Party", are so perpetually angry.
Catholics are taught not to question Church authority, but how can a Catholic stay silent when its leadership advocates policy that counters basic human rights?
Pope Benedict cited his failing health as the reasons he is unable to appropriately fulfill the ministry that was entrusted to him. But the next pope will be handed the same 300-page report detailing Vatican corruption, including information about this alleged gay Vatican underworld.
For all the imponderables, Benedict's resignation has left the papacy, and the whole of the Church, rather more solidly on terra firma than might at first appear.
A bad choice could set back the cause of the Church's renewal even more. A mediocre choice will only ensure that the Church continues to wallow in the current woes. A truly wise, visionary choice will lead the transformation of the Church to ensure its vitality for generations to come.
While many people are forced to be remain closeted in a still often homophobic society, the closet nonetheless should never be seen as a healthy place. It suffocates its occupants and, when combined with power, has them victimizing many others.
What most of us see as victory, conservatives do not see as defeat. Those on the losing side of history have much longer memories than the rest of us. They keep resurrecting battles most of us thought had been decided long ago.
When my parents enrolled me in a Catholic school in Pakistan, our neighbors expressed a concern: Will my faith be at risk because of attending a Catholic school? As it turns out, the Catholic school taught me the lost Muslim value of grappling with disagreements in a non-threatening way.