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  • Lance Mannion
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Well said, Lance. Why aren't you working for a major metropolitan daily?

j. bryant

I think we're all looking for the license to love/admire/accept/acknowledge without the necessity of whitewashing. As you said, the Pope was a mixed bag (okay - you said it much more eloquently than that but you know what I mean). I think the Pope's stand on liberation theology was a huge loss for the Church, but I also see a lot to admire (if not like).
I think you can appreciate someone but not be blind to their faults and - may I throw politics in here - that is what I don't think the right allows. For example, you can love America and be against this president (well, nevermind - that one is the same thought); you can find Reagan a likeable man and dislike him as a president; you can like Clinton as a president and not be a fan of his extramarital sex or how he handled Rwanda; you can be pro-choice but have trouble with abortions. We are not allowed the complexities of others or of ourselves.
One of the complaints of the right that I think could be valid is liberals can get mired down in those complexities - but that was once reason it used to be a good thing to have two or more parties - at the least, it helped encourage resolution.
The fighter she brought up sounds reprehensible but, it also sounds like he was a friend to someone else and I don't doubt the truth of both.


j. bryant says "We are not allowed the complexities of others or of ourselves."

Which is why GWB gets away with cracks like "I don't do nuance." To the right (and to the Pope) everything must be black/white (or red/blue, or urban/rural, or name your poison). Those of us who say "yeah, I'm for that, but..." are denigrated as "wishy-washy," and it seems to work politically.


That was simply a joy to read and a mindstretcher of the first order. Thank you, sir. Liking, admiring: two very different categories that are clearer for having read your meditation. I may actually like JPII a bit more than you, but a sense of what was not successful about his papacy is visible here in a way i would not have seen otherwise. Again, i thank you.

Peace, Jeff


The Pope - RIP - and his church give out "guidelines". We, the people have a free will and choices to make. You are not to completely and blindly follow "the rules".
Americans don't seem to believe that you have to fight constantly, (for democracy or religion or life) and keep changing, growing. Its all organic. You can not just sit back and have others tell you what to do, what to think and what path to follow.
Its a joy reading your posts.

 Michael G

While I read the Pope stuff on the Nance and Lance blogs a couple of days ago, I just got around to pitching my two pennies this AM...The topic was the putative greatness of His Holiness, Pope John Paul II. Much has been made of the Church's rejecting the opportunity to advance the level of female participation in Church activities, the use of contraception, the acceptance of gays, allowing clergy to marry and sheltering child abusers. I won't go into the latter except to say that it is inconceivable to me that in an organization as relatively small and close knit as the Catholic Church middle and upper management could be unaware of the child abuse problem given its size and its dozens of years of existence. As for the other points, not only did the Church pass on the opportunity to advance the causes noted above, but the JPII administration worked hard to push back any attempt on the part of others to advance those causes and to ensure that any future attempts at progress would be as difficult as they (the administration) could possibly make them. The administration of Pope John Paul II appears to have been one which strove not to expand the teachings, appeal and membership of the Church, but to work for its own benefit to consolidate and tighten its control of thought and _expression within the Church and to enforce the commitment of all insiders to an extremely conservative and rigid ideology. Pope John Paul II installed an unprecedented number of cardinals during his reign. All of them picked for their agreement with his very conservative ideology and for their commitment to preserve it. None of them picked to provide new ideas, a dynamic range of thought, discussion or, God forbid, loyal dissension. Witness the dramatic rise in membership and prominence of ultra conservative lay organizations such as Opus Dei and the Pope's sponsorship of them. Note the unseemly haste to canonize Jose Maria Escriva and the message that conveys. Again, all designed to advance and preserve his very conservative ideology At the same time any member of the clergy who questioned, debated or posed alternatives was quickly stifled. This is all certainly within the Pope's rights, but how has it worked to improve the Church through twenty odd years of JPII? Pope John Paul II worked very hard at promoting himself. He traveled constantly, met people, kissed babies and glad-handed like a champion ward heeler. The enduring image is of him getting off an Alitalia flight and kissing the ground. Having flown Alitalia, I can appreciate his feelings. The question is how did all this promotion work to advance the interests of the Church? During his tenure, the Church has lost members (present company included) in droves from Europe and the US. There is a critical and growing shortage of men willing to enter the priesthood. As third world areas develop, the same issues that alienate Europeans and Americans will come into play there. The Church is facing a very serious financial situation. Historically, the bulk of monetary contributions to the Church have come from Europe and particularly from the US. There is a large membership in third world areas but they have never contributed $$ like Americans and Europeans. All over the world -- including Europe and the US -- the Church is facing increasing and increasingly serious competition from Islam, the Mormons and to a lesser extent, the Evangelicals. John Paul II did nothing to advance the basic interests of the Church. He did not do anything to grow the membership, to make the Catholic Church more attractive against growing competition. He did noth ing to make the organization responsive to or even respectful of its members. He did nothing to advance the Church as a Catholic institution embracing all, providing succor and hope to all. In fact, quite the contrary. The Church has retreated to some narrow, old fashioned, constricted version of itself and told the faithful to take it of leave it. The difference between Pope John XXIII and Pope John Paul II couldn't be deeper or more dramatic. It's as if JPII had a vision of a smaller, tighter Church, almost a boutique religion that would appeal to a relatively small but extremely committed membership. The masses are welcome to join but their concerns are of no interest to Rome. Whatever. It's clear that the hierarchy's interests and the membership's interests don't coincide. The decline of the organization against the flourishing and the growth of the Mormons, Islam and Evangelicals is the real legacy of Pope John Paul II and the real probl em facing his successor. Greatness is measured in many ways. Was JPII as great man? I don't doubt his personal sincerity or his personal beliefs. I do doubt that he made any positive contribution to the long term health and prosperity of the Catholic Church. Whatever greatness he had lay in his genius for self promotion. His failure lies in his inability to parlay that exposure into any real benefit for the organization and its millions of members. This was not a case of a man valiantly striving to do good for as many as he could while handicapped by the inherent limitations of his position. This was a man with a clear agenda which he successfully pursued with a powerful single-mindedness. His advancing the interests of the Vatican may have had some positive fall out in encouraging the Solidarity movement and the like, but his contributions to the fall of communism are vastly overrated. Enough. If this is greatness, so be it. Given the late Pope's huge popularity and the current w idespread interest in Catholicism, the incoming Pope has a wonderful opportunity to strengthen and expand Church membership, to reconcile with the many people it has alienated and to drag the Catholic Church into at least the twentieth century. While no longer a member, I sincerely hope the new Pope is up to the task.


I was born and raised Catholic, in a family that remains devoutly Catholic (although I've personally left the church and Christianity behind).

The way the clergy have handled the sex abuse issue made me so angry I would've left the church over it, had I not already done so of course.

BTW, I read the papal encyclical in which JPII talked about the roles available to women. His take seemed to be that all women should aspire to being mothers and wives, and leave all that interesting other stuff to their sons and husbands. Women who couldn't have children or didn't want them apparently have no useful purpose in his view. I find that infuriating at best.

It's really ironic that my husband, a baptised Southern Baptist, could *technically* become Pope, but *I* couldn't, nor could my sister or mother or grandmother. Thirty years ago, when I was growing up Catholic, I couldn't even aspire to being an altar server, but I *could* be a nun, at the mercy of any and every priest. No thanks.


The Pope John Paul II clone Benedict XVI's latest book

In his latest book, Jesus of Nazareth, Benedict XVI in chapter seven interprets "The Message of the Parables" and cites the "3 Major Parables" of Christ: The Good Samaritan, The Prodigal Son, The Rich Man and Lazarus. Obviously the clone of John Paul II missed out one of the most important Parables of Christ in Mathew 18:6-7 --- which today is known better as the John Paul II Millstone

Watch the Google video of the latest video of Benedict XVI role in the cover-up of priest pedophilia.


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