It seems like a silly time to step down when you’ve accrued 1.5 million followers on Twitter in the last two months.

We’ve all heard that Pope Benedict XVI announced his resignation on Feb. 11, being the first pope to do so since the 15th century.

Frankly, we couldn’t care less. In modern times, the pope seems about as useful as the British royal family.

But this unexpected move is important in that it draws attention to greater problems with the Catholic Church as a whole. Our main point of contention: hypocrisy.

Let’s look at one of the Pope’s tweets, published less than two weeks ago:
“Today I have a special thought for every religious: may they always follow Christ faithfully in poverty, chastity and obedience.”

(First of all, we know English isn’t your native language, Joe, but a grammatically correct tweet would be nice.)

Let’s dissect this tweet step-by-step.

Following Christ faithfully in poverty. Hmm… how much is your papal cross (that big gold staff you carry around) worth? Sell it, dude. Your papal slippers were tailor-made. Necessary?

We acknowledge that the Catholic Church does a great amount to help those in poverty around the world, but lead by example. The Franciscan Friars of the Renewal are a great showcase of how this is completely plausible within the Church.

Next: Following Christ in chastity.

We don’t care if priests break their vow of chastity. Except when it is to rape children.

Though Benedict XVI hasn’t been directly associated with any pedophilia scandals (and it would be wrong to suggest that he has), he sure has helped make it seem like pedophilia within the Church isn’t a big deal. As a cardinal in 1985, he signed a letter against the unfrocking of a priest convicted of child molestation.

His actions in that instance have never been officially denounced by the Church, and he’s been awfully quiet as pope about further instances of child abuse by priests.

And finally: Following Christ in obedience.

There’s no rule anywhere saying you can’t step down as pope. It’s been done before. But really? Preach that you should follow your god’s calling in life, and then quit as head of his business? Did your god suddenly decide you weren’t right for the job? Doesn’t seem too omniscient to me if he’s changing his mind eight years later (but that’s a whole different argument).

The problem of a religion is a big one to tackle, but the pope’s resignation should provide some food for thought.

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