My Letter to the Pope and the Archbishop of Canterbury
By William Bezanson
(This is a copy of the second letter that I have sent to the Pope and the Archbishop of Canterbury, in April 2014, about a year after their respective appointments. Numerous people in their chains of command were copied.)
To His Holiness, Pope Francis, and to the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby:
Subject: Why Are The Pews So Empty?
Dear Holy Father and Dear Archbishop:
Just over a year ago I wrote separately to both of you to congratulate you on your recent elevations to your new positions as spiritual and executive leaders of the Roman Catholic and Anglican Churches. Now I write to congratulate you on having celebrated your first years in those positions. I wish you many more years of successful leadership.
Please excuse my presumptuousness in writing to you directly. However, the Subject issue is so very, very important, that it deserves your deep attention, to my mind. I write with a sense of urgency, soberness, and mission, to amplify the topic about which I wrote to you last year.
Your churches are moribund, stagnating from within, and failing to deliver the proper message of Jesus the Christ.
I have a solution. Change the Church so that it teaches an equal blending of:
Evolved, intelligent, thinking people have grown tired of being told to have faith, to believe the Bible literally, and to pray to an external deity. They hunger for the spiritual growth that comes from using their reasoning powers, digesting the truths from all spiritual myths, and awakening their own esoteric abilities to effect miraculous changes in the world. Religious myths tell cute, obscure, powerful stories; and individual mystical abilities enable one to awaken the Christ within. Both have benefits.
We should ever be mindful that Jesus taught, "The Kingdom of God is within you" (Luke 17:21). Please stop gesturing upwards when referring to God; point to your hearts. The important teachings of Jesus are not the exoteric ones (such as walking on water), but the esoteric ones (rising above the watery unconscious to a state of consciousness).
That's what the Church hierarchy should do: renew itself from top to bottom, to teach their members to learn from the inner, mystical process in equal measures with the outer, religious myths. Superficial fixes will be transient. If the Church does not undergo a fundamental transformation, the pews will become even emptier. (Christianity is our current myth, much as the Greek Myths dominated 3000 years ago, and who knows what will be the main myth 3000 years from now? Very likely not Christianity.)
Can the major organized religions, including the Roman Catholic and Anglican Churches, make such a disruptive change? Most likely not, without Divine intervention. The clergy will need to be persuaded to relinquish much of their power, and to transform from aloof teachers to peer facilitators. In the absence of perceived change, the people, being hungry, will find their own ways to spiritual growth. They know intuitively what God is telling them directly through their inner selves.
Incidentally, and more importantly, such a church transformation goes well beyond saving itself. It offers hope for saving humanity and the world.
For many years I have been an active member of a Rosicrucian Order (www.crcsite.org) to supplement my spiritual development beyond what the Anglican church taught. I find great compatibility between the Christian religion and Rosicrucian mysticism. Ultimately I want to see the Church incorporate many of the teachings of that Order, or similar mystery schools, into its own teachings, for all Christians who seek enhanced development of their spiritual selves. Do you not have responsibility for your members' spiritual lives? Please implement that responsibility by modernizing your churches.
My book I Believe: A Rosicrucian Looks at Christianity and Spirituality elaborates on the theme of this letter. It will be published this year, likely during the summertime. I would be glad to send you a complementary copy of the book, if you wish.
Thank you for reading this message, Your Holiness and Your Grace. I write in all sincerity and respect, and with deep conviction. I would be happy to discuss this letter and the urgency that it represents for Humanity, the Church, and the World.
With great respect for the offices you hold and the work that you do,
Sincerely, and in the Light of Christ,
(There was no reply from them, as expected, but I will keep trying, and one day I will help them change their churches. You can help, if you agree with the sentiment of this letter, by pressing for change in your own church.)
William Bezanson is a retired engineer who writes on systems design and world stewardship topics. This article was adapted, with minor edits, from his recent letter to the Pope and the Archbishop of Canterbury. His next book will be I Believe: A Rosicrucian Looks at Christianity and Spirituality, to be published in 2014. He lives with his wife in Ottawa, Canada. To learn about his books, visit his website at www3.sympatico.ca/bezanson1.