With Pope Benedict resigning, there has been a lot of attention brought to the Catholic Church and most of it is not positive. Recent progress to modernize the Vatican through the use of Twitter has shown a step in a positive direction for the Catholic Church and its willingness to connect to its followers. However, the scandals committed by priests and the recent breach of confidentiality in the Vatican has only reassured the public that the Catholic Church is in need of an overhaul. This is not the first time the Catholic Church has been under this much fire, but it is the first time it has faced such wide spread scrutiny, thanks to the power of new media. Although the office of His Holiness is a symbol of God’s power on earth for Catholics, Pope Benedict’s resignation shows us that we are all human, subject to the same worries, troubles, and struggles.
The fact remains that spirituality is not defined by the building or the religion you chose to worship in. Faith is defined by your belief in a power greater than yourself and your willingness to surrender to it. Interestingly enough, Mark Wahlberg, well known TV and film actor is a man of faith. As a practicing Catholic, he visits his local church in the mornings to pray. Growing up as a high school dropout in the rough areas of Boston, he became involved in drugs and gangs. When he was just 16, he was charged with attempted murder and sentenced to jail at Boston’s Deer Island House of Correction. This event changed his life and as soon as he left the jail, he visited his parish priest. Wahlberg explains the experience as life changing and states:
“Once I focused on my faith wonderful things started happening for me. And I don’t mean professionally – that’s not what it’s about. These days, I’ll be in church and people will come up to me and say: ‘Do you mind if I sit and pray with you?’ And they’ll start praying and it’ll turn out they’re praying for their new movie to be a success or whatever, and I’m like, this is not what I come here for. For me to sit down and ask for material things is ridiculous. It’s a much bigger picture than that. I want to serve God and to be a good human being and to make up for the mistakes I made and the pain I put people through. That’s what I’m praying for, and I recommend it to anybody.”
As the Catholic Church and others say goodbye to Pope Benedict, it is poised to make significant changes of its image and internal affairs and policies. Faithful followers like Mark Wahlberg believe that the teachings and traditions of the Catholic Church are steeped in a long history of charity and love and that the Church provides more than a rulebook but a sanctuary to practice one’s faith.