Between the “John Paul the Great” on one side and the sneering about condoms and abortion on the other side lies the truth. I think Lance comes close:
The good who manage to aquire power do not stay good very long.� Power corrupts does not mean that all hobbits who touch the ring turn into Gollems.� It means that once you have power, your ability to do good is always governed by the karmic equivalent of Newton’s law — for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.
Power is like a twelve foot long two by four on the shoulder of Stan Laurel.� When Stan turns so he doesn’t hit the passing little old lady with the front end of the board, he whacks Ollie on the back of the head with the other end.
You can’t save everyone.� You can’t be everywhere.� Once you start making those choices, about who you will help, who you will have to leave to fend for themselves, you are doomed.
There’s also a lot of interesting observation about where he took Catholicism. If you’re interested in that sort of thing.
mary said on April 12, 2005 at 12:40 pm
OK. The pope can’t please everyone. He was a people’s pope and all that. What I begrudge JP2 is the way Bernard Law was dealt with. He resigned in Boston, as he should have. But there was no condemnation of his actions. He got a new job and there he was officiating at mass at the vatican yesterday. He moved priests who were known pedophiles from parish to parish in New England, hoping their reputations did not precede them. He moved priests to other archodiocese, recommending them, not letting it be known they were dangerous to children. Hundreds of children were sexually abused because of his actions. The pope could have sent a powerful message by censuring that SOB. But he didn’t. I don’t see where the other end of that two by four is.
jeff said on April 12, 2005 at 12:59 pm
Then there’s his bizarre handling of anti-Semitism within the Catholic Church.
On the one hand, he apologizes for church inaction during WW II, establishes diplomatic relations with Israel, becomes the first pope to visit the Great Synagogue of Rome.
Then there’s the other hand: He kept pushing Pius XII for sainthood, despite his virulent anti-Semitism and collaboration with the Nazis. He had Edith Stein who became a nun, made a saint, even though she was sent to the gas chamber because she was born a Jew.
He doesn’t deseve sainthood or the appelation “The Great”.
10 years from now he will be seen as an outwardly nice man who was tone deaf to the 20th Century.
The Catholic Church will soon experience a second schism over married priests, women priests, and birth control.
All because of JP II’s opposition to all of those ideas.
Nance said on April 12, 2005 at 2:45 pm
I think you can make the argument that JPII simply wasn’t on the job by the time of the sex-abuse scandal. Or rather, he had moved on to the “watch me suffer” part of his ministry and had delegated the running-the-church details to others.
I’ll never forget interviewing high school students for a scholarship program that year. One was from a Catholic school, identified herself as a strict Catholic, planned a Catholic life of total Catholicity, etc. The revelations were at their peak right around then, and I said, “Tough time to be a Catholic, isn’t it?”
She tossed her hair and replied, “Oh, I think the Pope has handled it very well.”
She didn’t get the scholarship.
Lex said on April 13, 2005 at 1:32 pm
If the Pope couldn’t properly oversee his underlings, he should have resigned/abdicated/retired/quit. A pontiff has earthly responsibilities, too, and some of them are essential to maintaining the spiritual health of the church. The Bernard Law case was one in which Paul failed badly, and it alone should disqualify him for sainthood or Greathood.