Timothy Shriver: ‘The Next Pope Should Be a Mystic’

An excellent reflection on the sede vacante, the vacant seat of St. Peter.

Mother Teresa's feet and sandals. A reminder to the next pope.

“There’s no need to rehash the recent disastrous track record of the all-male Roman Catholic hierarchy. The sordid abuse of children by priests, the sinister coverups, the callous treatment of nuns, the deaf ear turned toward Catholics who happen to be gay or divorced — it’s all on the front page. The Catholic Church is hemorrhaging moral authority.

What’s much more devastating is that it is losing believers, too. If you can’t trust the messengers, why trust the message? It is not too much to say that the crisis in the church is contributing to a crisis of faith in the Gospel itself.

This is a crisis not of management nor of theology. This is a crisis of the spirit. But before the church can address its great moral collapse, it will have to recover its spiritual bearings. The next pope should be a mystic.

A mystic? Absolutely! Contrary to popular perception, a mystic is not a magician or a crystal-ball-gazer. A mystic is rather a person who has had an experience of God’s love so unmistakable that it changes him or her forever, imparting a confidence that cannot be shaken, a humility that cannot be doubted, a freedom that exudes love and gentleness and authenticity. A mystic knows from experience, not books, that we are each beautiful beyond our understanding, loved beyond our capacity to love, united beyond our perceptions of difference and division.” —Timothy Shriver is the chairman of Special Olympics.

Read the whole column.

1 thought on “Timothy Shriver: ‘The Next Pope Should Be a Mystic’”

  1. Thank you so much for your well written article in todays Washington Post. I am a follower of Avatar Meher Baba who honored all religions and especially asked us to focus on Theresa of Avila and St. Francis of Assisi among others.
    You may enjoy some recent performances we gave in India (I am definitly not encouraging you to follow Meher Baba). These are on Youtube and under Meher Baba East West Gathering 2013. One is called All Are One another Ja’i Ho. There are good and not so good renderings of these. The message is good though and goes along somewhat with what you have said.
    I have made 2 trips to Assisi and surrounds, following in St Francis’s steps. Wouldn’t it be wonderful to have a Pope that had a real experience of the divine.

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