Pope breaks tradition (About time)

EDITOR: A hardy congratulations to Pope Benedict XVI for having the courage to change tradition. Liturgy over time tends to dig in the heals as to what is right and what is wrong. The key question should be - does it work or does it not! Clearly, the Pope had the intelligence and strength to drag Catholic ecclesiastical practices into the 21st century by acknowledging that change is a necessary part of evolution. One would think it's a no-brainer to resign when one is sick, has loss of cognition, energy and failing health. A small fissure in tradition is a healthy sign of fresh air - looking at liturgical practices and hopefully future bold moves toward addressing male dominated attitudes that have permeated for centuries toward a reluctance to change.

This is especially relevant in the Middle East, where dogma is dictated by self-absorbed and self-anointed clerics who espouse vitriolic attitudes based on ancient practices, including stoning, beheading, micromanaging the lives of the opposite sex, and interpret dogma that God rewards murderers with sex who kill 3,000 innocent beings. The truth is… no one ever feels they are the "aggressors." Every one feels they are "defenders" of their age-old beliefs. There is muted dialog from religious establishments in the name of tolerance and sensitivity. If one of the clerics had to wear a hot black cover (burkas) from head to toe for a day… there'd be a new edict. Nothing ever changes until there is a change in beliefs. This was the core of Gen. David Petraeus' Middle East policy and his failure to appreciate the task it takes to bring it to fruition.

The weather changes, the cosmos changes. In fact, everything changes - nothing ever stays the same, except for tradition. A perfect example is the Lilly generation of China. Foot binding was performed on women through the 20th century. It required breaking the arch of the feet, and tying up the feet, causing them to curl up into stumps regarded as beautiful and sexually exciting to men. You would think that someone would object that the process used to create bound feet was incredibly painful. A pregnant silence is warranted here for male dominance and perceived needs. Once the job was complete women hobbled rather than walked around. Such silence leaves a painful stain on tradition.

Thankfully, the ancient - some say barbaric - practice is almost gone. The practice fell out of favor at the turn of the 20th century, viewed as an antiquated and shameful part of imperialist Chinese culture, and was officially banned soon after. But in rural areas, the feet of some young girls were still being bound into the early 1950s.

The point made herein, is not to throw out the old ways, but to examine practices of the past, see what works and change what does not - in order to leave this world a better place. According to the season at hand… the Creator's core message is appropriate - to love one another. Be a friend to every one you meet.

Chuck Kovacs

Wysox