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Friday, April 08, 2005

The Pope II 

First, I'd like to second Guthrie's comments below. Then, I'd like to share with you an email from a reader who is pretty put off by the fact that Presidents Bush, Clinton and Bush went to The Vatican for the funeral:
It bugs me! Standing up and saying how this guy was a great man and stood for freedom and all that! Bullshit!

He was a decent guy but resisted the opportunity to really stand for freedom and equality. He could have helped prevent the spread of AIDS among some of the world's 1 billion Catholics by advocating the use of birth control (this would not require promoting premarital sex, imho). And I'll bet the thousands who have been molested by priests are pretty psyched that the flag is flying at half staff right now.

I read the other day that the Pope brought the Wall down. What? And that he took a noble stand against communism. But of course -- communism as conceived by Marx was fundamentally anti-religion, right?

Now, it wouldn't be fair for me to expect flawlessness. But then, this dude is supposed to be closer to God than the rest of us! And while our nation may be one "under God", I don't think it is one "under the Pope," which is how I'm feeling these days.
I very much disagree with him on the idea that there's something unseemly about Presidents and ex-Presidents going to the Pope's funeral. I have no problem with that whatsoever. In fact, I think they should go to the funeral. However, on this reader's substantive points, I have to say I agree with him. The Church, under John Paul II, didn't merely campaign against condom use based on theology or the Augustine view of sexuality or for mere moral reasons. It actually put out disinformation about the effectiveness of condoms in preventing the transmission of AIDS. I think it's bad enough the church is against condom use in Africa and other high-HIV areas when it's based on religion. To pretend it is backed up by actual science is unconscionable.

In addition, there is the Church's shameful handling of the rape scandals. Steve Gilliard points our attention to the fact that the disgraced archbishop of Boston, Bernard Cardinal Law, not only was invited to the Pope's funeral, but was actually given an official role to lead one of the mourning sessions. Steve puts it best:
This man fled Boston one step ahead of a Suffolk County indictment for conspiracy. He was a constant roadblock in resolving this. And this is how the church rewards him. Instead of defrocking his ass for his criminal mismanagement of child rape, he's getting a nice bright spotlight. They just don't care. People should be outraged about this, it should lead the news. Instead of the treacle about the Pope. This was his greatest failure and the person directly responsible for said failure is being rewarded.
The fact is the Church still hasn't learned that punishing rapists and those who protect rapists is more important than protecting their own. Pathetic.

All that said, he still was the Pope, and if I were President, I'd have gone to his funeral.

More wise words on the pope from Billmon here and here, and Fafblog here. Oh, and for the truly sacrilegious take, read the Rude Pundit, who ones again lives up to the name.
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