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Robert S. McElvaine Headshot

Open Letter to the Pope: Revolutionize the Creed

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Dear Pope Benedict XVI:

As an American Catholic, I want to take the opportunity of your visit to our country to call upon you to reverse some of the mistakes of the distant past that have made the Church a major force in subordinating women and in devaluing the very values that Jesus taught.

In my last blog, I called upon you to recognize publically, as did your predecessor John Paul I, that God, as a Creator, cannot be of one sex, but must be either asexual or androgynous: "a Mother as well as a Father," in the words of John Paul I.

An important step in restoring the female part of God would be revising the Creed to correct the errors made by the misogynistic bishops at Nicaea and Constantinople in the Fourth Century. In addition to correcting those mistakes, a new Creed could also offer a more inclusive, worldwide view that might help to make the Church a force for human unity rather than division.

Here, from my new book, Grand Theft Jesus: The Hijacking of Religion in America (Crown), are my suggestions for a revolutionized Creed, with the changes italicized:

"We believe in one God, the Creator, the Almighty,

maker of heaven and earth,

of all that is, seen and unseen.

"We believe in the Redeemer, Jesus Christ, the Human Incarnation of God,

eternally begotten of the Creator,

God from God, Light from Light

true God from true God,

begotten, not made, one in Being with the Creator.

Through him all things were made.

For us people and for our salvation, he came down from heaven:

by the power of the Father/Mother,

He became fully human.

For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate;

He suffered, died, and was buried.

On the third day he rose again, in fulfillment of the Scriptures;

He ascended into heaven

and is seated beside the Creator.

He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead,

and his world will have no end.

"We believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lady, the giver of life,

who proceeds from the Creator and the Redeemer.

With the Creator and the Redeemer, She is worshiped and glorified,

She has spoken through the prophets.

"We believe in many holy ways to worship God.

We acknowledge baptism as one means for the forgiveness of sins.

We look for the resurrection of the dead

and the life of the world to come. Amen."

Robert S. McElvaine teaches history at Millsaps College. His latest book, Grand Theft Jesus: The Hijacking of Religion in America, has just been published by Crown.

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