Praying the Post
Monday, April 04, 2005
There is an unintentionally funny letter to the editor today, in response to the death of Pope John Paul II:
Might we have a little reality in the midst of the hagiography? I am a middle-aged Roman Catholic who was extremely disappointed in Pope John Paul II. His stand on issues such as human sexuality, marriage for priests and the role of women set the church back decades. In addition, he appointed so many like-minded cardinals that his backward-looking philosophy is likely to be continued by the next pope.We get an indication of the depth of Mr. Madison's thought in his implication that the Pope's effect on world affairs was limited to the "Solidarity government... at the beginning of his papacy." (The papacy began in 1978; the elections that brought Solidarity to power in Poland were held in 1989.) We get an indication of the contact Mr. Madison has with his own Church in his claim that the Pope's "charisma... has been absent for the last decade. (As a middle-aged Roman Catholic, he may have been out of the loop on the World Youth Days, but how did he miss the Great Jubilee?)
The real howler, though -- and the most revealing phrase -- is Mr. Madison's assertion that Pope John Paul II "set the church back decades." Decades! How awful for the Church, to be decades behind. (Behind what? The Episcopalians, to judge from the list of issues given.)
A man who doesn't think beyond his own life-span, who demonstrates neither knowledge nor understanding of the Church or the world, who can speak of nothing but "issues such as human sexuality," proposes himself as the source of "a little reality." The wonder would have been if such a man weren't extremely disappointed in Pope John Paul II.