As the worlds non Catholic population heaves a sigh and gets ready for another month of Pope related news, millions of Papists are gearing up to look at the soon to be rotting, festering corpse of the dead Pontiff in Vatican City. Indulging in the endearingly Christian pastime of looking at the empty husks of those they loved, lines of the faithful stretched around the block of Saint Peter’s Basilica in order to get a seconds long glimpse of their dead spiritual leader.
Professing love and allegiance to the Pope, while dismissing virtually everything he stood for as evidenced by the ignoring of his teachings and pronouncements against Gays, women, abortion and contraception, sex and fidelity is another charming aspect of Catholicism. It is perhaps the need to feel connected to something ancient an mysterious that makes a good Catholic, rather than agreement with the principles of Catholicism. The chance that your parish priest may be diddling your son is another particularly charming Catholic phenomenon.
But for the next several weeks, or until the College of Cardinals elects a new spiritual leader, Jews, Muslims, Hindus and members of the planets other religions both large and small will square their shoulders and pretend sympathy and admiration for a man who in the opinion of many was completely out of step with his own church, not to mention anyone else, in order not to get smacked by a grieving Catholic.
As always, the passage of time will determine how history will view the first non Italian Pontiff in four hundred years and one of the longest reigning Popes in terms of years. It can’t be denied that he was indeed a driving catalyst in the Polish Solidarity Labor Movement that led to the democratic liberation of Poland and the eventual collapse of the Soviet Union. It is also for history to determine if the fact that this led to a one Super power planet was a good thing or not, as viewed from the perspective of George W. Bush’s view of America’s place in the world. But for now, this reporter will join the rest of the lapsed Catholics world wide who’ll pay lip service to the late John Paul II. Wait a minute…no I won’t.