Monday, April 04, 2005

Apologetically yours, John Paul II

Apologies can be spiritually meaningful. And no one can be indifferent to the life of John Paul II. There will be high drama at the Papal Conclave and a soap-opera for the secular-humanists. It is possible to praise this worthy Servant of God as a good and true Christian while also remembering his significant failings. While these are few, they are memorable. Two, in particular, should cause all believing Catholics to pause. Kissing the Koran, for example, was not a particularly successful evangelical or ecumenical act. Few Mohammedans view the Catholic Pope kindly, and his obeisance to their book is most likely seen as a weakness, not a gambit for their reluctant souls. In the more public, secular sphere, it was a political and diplomatic mistake. No follower of Jesus is swayed to a different flavor of Christianity by the Pope's obeisance to a lie; no pagan follower of Mohammed is swayed by an "infidel" -- indeed the leader of the infidels -- honoring the Green Book. Perhaps with the best intentions, this was a dishonor to the Truth, the Deposit of Faith, entrusted to the Pope. Similarly, the carefully-worded apology for the "violence some have used in the service of the truth" is an apology that either (a) says nothing or (b) says just enough for critics and enemies of the Church to make the case that, in admitting these wrongs, the Church is confessing the error that they smugly knew and reified lo these many years. Exactly what good comes from that? Even the strongest of Catholic defenders, William Donohue, in commenting (on the occasion of the Pope's death) on the "apology" that JPII was "brave" enough to make, can't seem to distinguish between individuals who might (I'm not convinced) have committed sins in the name of the Church on the one hand, and the Mystical Body of Christ, the actual Church, composed of Christ and all His followers in the union of belief and faith, on the other hand. Exactly what has been accomplished by bowing to the modern sense of emotion and confusing even your supporters? The late pope left the American homosexual clergy scandal to fester, elevated schismatics to the rank of Cardinal, as well. These imperfections alone probably prevent him from being considered a "great" Pope; the standards, however, for such elevation are publicly and proudly debased. All one needs for sainthood these days is a public disagreement with Madonna or Britney. John Paul II was a good and holy man (if my opinion doesn't irritate the reader overmuch), who made many wonderful decisions along with these few wrong ones. St. Peter will welcome him with all of the honors dues to a faithful, if erring, Servant of Christ. Pray that the next pope takes the name "Gregory" or "Sixtus"; something to recall the days of tradition, honor and loyalty to the Church and not to modernism.

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