Happy Easter. Now please allow me to ruin it.
Well, Pope John Paul II is currently on the fast track to sainthood. The soft-spoken "Polish Pontiff" was an inspiration to millions and his strength while fighting Parkinson's Disease and numerous other ailments was truly inspirational.
In order to become a saint ("beatified"), the Catholic church requires proof that he caused a "medically unexplainable" healing. No doubt the church will indeed be convinced of his mysterious, special powers and we'll soon smile and say "Saint John Paul" as casually as we say "tuna melt" or "John McCain is a liar." And all will be well across the quickly-warming planet. But hold your horses, Johnny Rocket....
While the Pope certainly seemed like an all-around sweet guy (after all, he often kissed children and old folks on the forehead!), would it not be prudent to nevertheless look at his overall record in determining the measure of the man? Of course it would. Any reasonable person would retort, "Yes, Paul, it is fair to look at a fellow's overall life before deciding if he was a good man, let alone a saint." So, let's graduate to the meat-n-potatoes section of my essay. Lent me your ear, har-har-har-chortle!!
Pope John Paul II, over and over again, refused to grant Catholics the right to use birth control. Starving, destitute citizens in third-world countries would NEVER defy the Pope so they could not realize the "benefits" of birth control while enjoying one of life's great (free) pleasures. It is not uncommon to find Catholic women all over the globe with six or more children, none of which they can afford. Living in unimaginable squalor, their desperation can be traced directly to a stone-age belief system, a system that refuses to adjust to the realities of modern life in any way. And let's not forget that countless people died agonizing deaths from AIDS because the Pope proclaimed that birth control of any sort (including condoms) was wrong. Insane? You bet! The Pope, the LEADER of the Catholics, is directly responsible for the suffering of these millions. A saint? Hardly.
The Pope's stance on homosexuality was barbaric. He claimed that the Bible condemns homosexuality (simple as that) but never, for example, aggressively ostracized fat people. But isn't gluttony one of the seven deadly sins? He chose to act with cruel indifference to a group of people who hurt no one. Remember Governor George Wallace on the school-house steps, screaming that segregation must prevail? Nasty stuff, eh? What this Pope did was far worse. And those who oppose same-sex marriage are no different from those who oppose interracial marriage. It comes down to hate, regardless of how one hides the hate behind a religion.
Next, let's discuss his vicious, misogynistic attitude. For centuries, women have been prevented from becoming Catholic priests because, well, the Catholic church has a history of oppressing women. So when Pope John Paul II came along (1978) he had a chance to change the world. Like Martin Luther King, Jr., he had the opportunity to face the majority and demand justice. And he chose to do nothing, deciding again and again that women were not worthy. Vicious and prehistoric. Hardly the actions of a saint.
Anything else, Paul? Yep. For decades, hundreds of priests satisfied their lust by viciously raping countless numbers of trusting Catholic children. And what did the Catholic church do about these outrages? They moved these remorseless pedophiles from church to church, whenever the local complaints became too heated. There is ample evidence that the Cardinals and the Pope knew full well about these atrocities but, rather than expose the precious church's problems, they instead chose to allow their employees/monsters to continue destroying countless young lives with impunity. Allowed them unfettered access to the flesh of vulnerable children. Utterly decimated life after life after life while paying hush money to those who complained. So, if a Pope is the LEADER of the Catholic church, what happened to the old adage, "The buck stops here?" Never once did he personally take responsibility for the actions of his criminal "employees!" A saint? A monster is more like it. Any OTHER boss would have been fired in an instant. Criminal felony charges would then have been filed in short order. But soon this man will be a "saint." Wow.
Had enough? Me too. But let's not forget the Pope's barbaric stance against ALL stem-cell research. Further, he opposed Euthanasia, even for patients screaming in agony while enduring final-stage bone cancer.
And if all of the above isn't bad enough, the guy was a lousy dresser! Everyone from Yves St. Laurent to Halston begged the Pontiff to lose the "pistachio-nut hat" but, time after time, he refused to embrace fashion in any way. Dressed sloppily in loose-fitting sheets and gaudy jewelry, the dude was a visual trainwreck.
Finally, the Bible is clear when it states (in Matthew 19:16-21), "If thou wilt be perfect, go sell what thou hast and give to the poor." Irrefutably, God is declaring here that man is morally obligated to live simply (avoiding vast material wealth) so ALL of his "flock" may avoid misery. And how did the Pope observe this fun Bible passage? Decide for yourself while enjoying these fine (free) photographs....
-Papal Palace in Vatican City
-Catholic kids living on a Sao Paulo dump.
Friends, I welcome all comments but, if doing so angrily, please point out specifically which assertions I got wrong. I am always eager to grow and learn. Thanks and God bless America.
-Paul C. Rosa