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BS: John Paul II's Legacy

GUEST 09 Apr 05 - 11:28 AM
mg 09 Apr 05 - 12:29 PM
GUEST 09 Apr 05 - 12:53 PM
*daylia* 09 Apr 05 - 01:38 PM
GUEST 09 Apr 05 - 02:16 PM
wysiwyg 09 Apr 05 - 02:47 PM
Joe Offer 09 Apr 05 - 04:10 PM
McGrath of Harlow 09 Apr 05 - 05:26 PM
mg 09 Apr 05 - 09:21 PM
Joe Offer 09 Apr 05 - 10:07 PM
OtherDave 09 Apr 05 - 10:16 PM
GUEST 09 Apr 05 - 10:23 PM
Peace 09 Apr 05 - 10:52 PM
GUEST 09 Apr 05 - 11:40 PM
DougR 10 Apr 05 - 12:25 AM
Joe Offer 10 Apr 05 - 04:42 AM
Alba 10 Apr 05 - 06:15 AM
GUEST 10 Apr 05 - 06:28 AM
wysiwyg 10 Apr 05 - 07:52 AM
GUEST 10 Apr 05 - 07:55 AM
wysiwyg 10 Apr 05 - 07:59 AM
GUEST 10 Apr 05 - 08:04 AM
wysiwyg 10 Apr 05 - 08:22 AM
GUEST 10 Apr 05 - 08:29 AM
wysiwyg 10 Apr 05 - 08:54 AM
GUEST 10 Apr 05 - 08:58 AM
wysiwyg 10 Apr 05 - 09:03 AM
GUEST 10 Apr 05 - 09:09 AM
McGrath of Harlow 10 Apr 05 - 10:12 AM
GUEST 10 Apr 05 - 10:15 AM
Big Mick 10 Apr 05 - 12:04 PM
GUEST 10 Apr 05 - 12:21 PM
GUEST 10 Apr 05 - 12:27 PM
GUEST,Seneschal 10 Apr 05 - 12:46 PM
GUEST 10 Apr 05 - 12:49 PM
GUEST 10 Apr 05 - 12:55 PM
GUEST 10 Apr 05 - 01:12 PM
GUEST,leveler 10 Apr 05 - 01:19 PM
GUEST 10 Apr 05 - 01:41 PM
Nigel Parsons 10 Apr 05 - 04:06 PM
GUEST,leveler 10 Apr 05 - 04:38 PM
GUEST 10 Apr 05 - 04:46 PM
GUEST 10 Apr 05 - 04:51 PM
Joe Offer 11 Apr 05 - 11:47 AM
GUEST,WYS 11 Apr 05 - 01:24 PM
McGrath of Harlow 11 Apr 05 - 06:30 PM
Joe Offer 11 Apr 05 - 10:13 PM
Alan cayn 12 Apr 05 - 08:53 PM
GUEST,WYS 12 Apr 05 - 08:55 PM
McGrath of Harlow 13 Apr 05 - 01:33 PM
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Subject: BS: John Paul II's Legacy
From: GUEST
Date: 09 Apr 05 - 11:28 AM

As I was reading all the suggestions being bandied about in the press, I came to the conclusion that JPII hadn't really done much to heal the rifts between Christianity and Islam. He really didn't do much to heal the rifts between Christianity and Judaism either, though I do acknowledge the fact that he laid what may eventually be the groundwork for that with his trip.

I noticed the Dalai Lama did not attend the pope's funeral, even though his press releases say he and the pope enjoyed a warm, personal friendship. While the DL doesn't represent all the world's Buddhists by a long shot, he is the most publicly known world figure for Buddhism. Was he snubbed by the Vatican? Anyway, I'm wondering if the pope didn't reach out more to Hindus and Buddhists because of the inroads the Catholic church is making in Asia.

So what I am saying is, I don't agree that the pope really accomplished all that much in terms of his "reaching out" to other world religions. He managed to remain pretty separate from most of them, including (and especially) his main competitors, the Orthodox churches--notably the Russian Orthodox church. That could be because of his generalized pathological hatred of the Russians (a feeling shared by the majority of Poles) because of the years of occupation, but I think there must be much more to it than that.

However, I really do believe JPII did accomplish one very important thing, which will become a part of his legacy, and that was to, in some places, heal the rift between Catholics and Protestants. He of course remained remarkably silent about the Irish question, the Balkans, etc. But when it came to his breaking down barriers between the Vatican and the Protestant domination of the US government, he made some real inroads.

And before everyone leaps on their high horse and says the US doesn't have a Protestant dominated government, please. Look at the history of US presidents, Supreme Court judges, leaders of Congress. Look at the diplomatic history between the Vatican and the US. Even though we in the US don't ever talk about our country being a Protestant dominated country, that is just because it is, like discussions of class, the elephant in the living room.

So, my vote for a sure fire historic legacy is that JPII will be remembered as the pope who "opened up diplomatic relations" with the superpower US Protestant dominated state. It's amazing what politicians will do to get themselves next to insanely popular religious figures, isn't it?

Was Billy Graham at the pope's funeral?


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Subject: RE: BS: John Paul II's Legacy
From: mg
Date: 09 Apr 05 - 12:29 PM

Well, part of it for sure is not pretty...millions of babies born to parents or a single mother who could not afford to feed them, in addition to the ecological damage of an overpopulated (in some places) world. He was too slow to react and too behind closed doors and just too publicly silent on the abuse of children that happened on his watch. And probably some of his liberating actions could have led to WWIII rather than the breaking down of barriers. He would have left Saddam in power with all that implies for torture etc. of his slave country.

These things will all be duly noted, both here and on his judgment day, which I presume has already happened. The good legacy I think far outweighs it...and I think when we add his WWII experiences in, a lot of heroism etc. will be shown that we are not yet aware of. He showed us the face of not just a decent man forged in the fires of war and genocide and slave labor...but specifically that of a Pole. In my lifetime we have not heard much from the Poles..they make up a big chunk of America, but I don't think they are too prominent even here. Now we have two million Poles who made it to Rome for his funeral. that to me is a miracle..that they could afford it even..that after all their years of subjugation they were even free to travel. Things are looking up in that quarter of the world.

He showed us the importance of travel, of one on one contact with people of other cultures. The importance of physical fitness. Of singing in large groups (and that was a terrible omission at his funeral...they should have had at least a well-known Polish hymn to send him on his way, and perhaps a Latin one..Panis Angelicus? as well that many in the crowd could have sung along to).

Bottom line: common decency and standing up to be counted. mg


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Subject: RE: BS: John Paul II's Legacy
From: GUEST
Date: 09 Apr 05 - 12:53 PM

I should also have made note of the original Anglo Protestant nation's "conversion" regarding Catholicism as well. Though the history of rulership of England and then Britain regarding Catholics and Protestants is, shall we say, a bit more mixed than the US?

The US has just been Protestant all the way down the line, with the exception of JFK. And despite the nearly unanimous insistence of the pundits that a political leader's religion doesn't matter anymore in US politics, we can still point to only a handful of Catholic political leaders at the national level throughout US history, and all that I can think of off the top of my head have been in the wake of JFK.


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Subject: RE: BS: John Paul II's Legacy
From: *daylia*
Date: 09 Apr 05 - 01:38 PM

The Dalai Lama mourns John Paul II, Apr 3    In his own words:

"...The Pope was very sympathetic to the Tibetan problem. Of course, as the head of an institution trying to establish good relations with China and seriously concerned about the status of millions of Christians in China he could not express this publicly or officially. But right from the start of our friendship he revealed to me privately that he had a clear understanding of the Tibetan problem because of his own experience of communism in Poland. This gave me great personal encouragement.

Finally, I want to express my deep admiration for the Pope's ability to forgive even his would-be-assassin. This was a clear indication that he was a true spiritual practitioner."



Last Friday the Dalai Lama was arriving at Tokyo airport, urging the world to continue the late Pope's legacy of peace.


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Subject: RE: BS: John Paul II's Legacy
From: GUEST
Date: 09 Apr 05 - 02:16 PM

Right daylia, I've read all that too. But he wasn't at the funeral with the world's other religious leaders. Considering China's opposition to him showing up ANYWHERE, I think it was likely the Vatican's decision he not be invited to attend the funeral.


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Subject: RE: BS: John Paul II's Legacy
From: wysiwyg
Date: 09 Apr 05 - 02:47 PM

I don't think JPII's legacy is about what he accomplished himself, but about what can be acomplished by God THROUGH the start JPII made on so many fronts. It's us to us whether we ourselves continue what was good in what he helped start, and whether we try to do it in our own power alone or through the power of the Holy Spirit.

~Susan


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Subject: RE: BS: John Paul II's Legacy
From: Joe Offer
Date: 09 Apr 05 - 04:10 PM

I think whatever is said about the Dalai Lama's absence is pure speculation. I'm sure the Vatican invited him - to fail to do so would have no purpose. If he didn't go because of China's opposition, I'm sure the decision was jointly made by Rome and the Dalai Lama. Has he been known to show up at events like this in the past? Maybe he thought the cost of his trip could be spent better in other ways. As for Billy Graham, I don't know if he attended the funeral or not - but he's at the point in life where he limits his travel, so I wouldn't read anything into his absence.

I also think it's "iffy" to speculate about John Paul II's failure in his relationships with outside groups. He traveled infinitely more than any pope in history, and he reached out to an infinitely wider variety of people - but a large part of that is the reality of our time and the reality of his history. He was the first non-Italian pope in centuries, so he wasn't as likely to be ties to Rome. He was one of the youngest popes, so he had the physical stamina needed for extensive travel at the onset of his papacy. As he grew infirm, the mechanism for papal travel was already in place, so there were no great hurdles to prevent him from traveling.

He did reach out to Orthodox Christians, including the Russians. he constantly worked toward reunification between Rome and the Orthodox churches. Unfortunately, his vision of reunification didn't match the vision of the Orthodox partiarchs, so the distance between the churches remained. In any move toward unification, Rome views itself as "primus inter pares" (first among equals), and the Orthodox this Rome's view of "primus" is too dominant. It's a rift that has existed since 1054 (with animosity that festered for centuries before that).The churches have evolved differently in all that time, so unification is not something that can take place with the strok of a pen. The fact that there is even consideration of unification, is quite an accomplishment. Rather than speculating about animosity between Catholics and Orthodox and trying to assign blame, I think it's safer to say that the churches did not reach a satisfactory compromise, although both sides did make efforts. I don't know that I'd say there is real animosity on either side - but the relationship is certainly "guarded." Both sides are certainly considering unification, and that in itself is a huge step.

As for the Catholic Church being responsible for overpopulation, I think it's more a cultural thing than religious. You don't see large numbers of Catholics in the U.S. and Western Europe with families of ten children any more. In countries with large Catholic families, the factor determining family size seems to be as much cultural as it is religious. Still, I'd like to see the Catholic Church change its position and advocate population control - but changes like that take a long time.

As for the issue of child molestation by priests, I think it's fair to say that the Catholic Church did not handle it as well as it should have. I do think it needs to viewed realistically and with some balance. At least 95 percent of priests were not involved in child molestation in any way. Priests are supposed to be celibate, so they really don't have much experience in dealing with sexual matters, and their thinking about sex tends to be unrealistic. So, when a sex scandal erupts, it's unlikely that a bunch of celibate males are going to be able to deal with it effectively. And they didn't. They really bungled it. But on the other hand, child molestation happens everywhere, and nobody has really come up with an effective way of dealing with it. The American Way is to throw huge amounts of money at the victims, but that does little to heal the harm that has been done.

John Paul II was certainly more conservative than I would have liked, but I don't see him as a man driven by a conservative agenda. He did a decent job of administering the Catholic Church, and he did a lot to end the isolation of Rome from the rest of the world.

I suppose he'll be named a saint sooner or later, and I guess he deserves it. However, I think it would be a shame to canonize him before they get to John XXIII and Mother Theresa. I think Joseph Cardinal Bernadin of Chicago and Dorothy Day of the Catholic Worker Movement should be in line for canonization before John Paul II, also - but I don't think that's going to happen.

-Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: BS: John Paul II's Legacy
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 09 Apr 05 - 05:26 PM

I rather assume that the Dalai Lama wasn't there because he decided against it, for whatever reason, as Joe said. I noticed on the TV there was a Buddhist monk in a prominent position, sitting in the front row among the dignitaries. His robes looked Tibetan to me, and I rather assumed he was there as the Dalai Lama's representative. After all the Dalai Lama and JP appear to have been mates. (And they both wore Doc Marten boots...)
....................................

The main reason poor people in the Third World have big families is because of infant mortality, and because big families have always been better at coping with the crises of life in that kind of situation.

I don't think there's any evidence that where the people in those parts of the world aren't Catholics they have significantly fewer children. The idea that it's a matter of the Pope snapping his fingers and all Catholics fall into line, so if he snapped his fingers in the right way all the problems would be solved - that's basically rubbish, and if you think about it for a minute it's self-evident rubbish.


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Subject: RE: BS: John Paul II's Legacy
From: mg
Date: 09 Apr 05 - 09:21 PM

you don't leave crimes that should be reported to the police to the celibate males. Pick up the damn phone and call the police on them if there is active injury going on. I don't care if the police are celibate or non-celibate. I don't care if my dentist is. I don't care if a priest or nun is but if they are harming children how smart do you have to be, how sexually experienced, to know to you have to stop this from happening? mg


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Subject: RE: BS: John Paul II's Legacy
From: Joe Offer
Date: 09 Apr 05 - 10:07 PM

Well, of course, Mary. The trouble is, it's not all that simple. Many of the incidents happened years before they were reported. Sometimes, the reports weren't believed because the priests who received the reports had no training in how to tell fact from fiction. Other time, the child molestors charmed their way out of accusations. As a federal investigator, I sometimes had to confront child molestors who had applied for a law enforcement job or security clearance, and I know first-hand that they can be very charming and convincing. That how they get the kids to go along with them in the first place.

The Boy Scouts had a similar problem in the early 1980's with accusations against adult leaders, and it took the Scouts time to come up with solutions, too. Child molestation is not something that normal people are equipped to deal with - and often it goes on undetected, right under their noses.

After news of the child molestation scandal broke in the U.S., it took quite some time for the U.S. bishops to convince Rome of the seriousness of the problem. The old guys in Rome just didn't seem to understand, seeming to want to wish the problem away.

No, the problem was not handled well at all - but there are reasons to explain those failings. Rather than nailing blame on somebody, it might be wise for us to look into ourselves and see how we might have bungled in a similar situation.

-Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: BS: John Paul II's Legacy
From: OtherDave
Date: 09 Apr 05 - 10:16 PM

It's true there's only been one Catholic president. On the other hand John Kerry's religion was scarcely mentioned during the last election, and the proportion of Catholics in the U. S. Congress is roughly the same as their proportion in the population as a whole. There were 150 Catholic members in the 107th Congress, making 28%.

They do skew toward the Northeast, the Great Lakes, and California.

It was the (barely) Protestant Ronald Reagan who named the first U. S. ambassador to the Holy See; previously relations had been handled by an ambassador without portfolio. Possibly the Protestant "domination" of the U.S. results from nearly two-thirds of the people adhering to one or another Protestant denomination. But then you're lumping Quakers and Methodists with Evangelical Lutherans and Southern Baptists.

I disagree that the Russian and Greek Orthodox churches are the 'main competitors' of Catholicism. I suspect more people have been born Muslims in the 26 years of the Pope's reign than are Russian Orthodox.    And while the Russian Orthodox church is the nominal faith of 90% of Russians, in fact the active membership is much lower, as with alleged Catholics in France. And in Latin America, the Catholic church is confronting conversion to various forms of evangelical Protestantism.


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Subject: RE: BS: John Paul II's Legacy
From: GUEST
Date: 09 Apr 05 - 10:23 PM

JPII never went to Russia because the patriarch of the Russian Orthodox church wouldn't stand for it. No point trying to sugar coat that one. It was something JPII desperately wanted to do, but was never allowed to do by the Russians themselves. The Russian government could have chosen to override the objections of the Russian Orthodox hierarchy, but they didn't.

So, apparently it is just a coincidence that the history of the US government is Protestant then? And even though Quakers and Evangelical Lutherans ARE all Protestants, we shouldn't "lump them together" and call them by what their religion is?

Are our learned contributors here suggesting there really is no such thing as Protestant Christianity, and that there has never been any anti-Catholic bigotry behind the domination by the Protestants in the US government?


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Subject: RE: BS: John Paul II's Legacy
From: Peace
Date: 09 Apr 05 - 10:52 PM

"The Rev. Billy Graham, the world's best-known Protestant, said John Paul "was unquestionably the most influential voice for morality and peace in the world during the last 100 years. ... He was convinced that the complex problems of our world are ultimately moral and spiritual in nature, and only Christ can set us free from the shackles of sin and greed and violence."


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Subject: RE: BS: John Paul II's Legacy
From: GUEST
Date: 09 Apr 05 - 11:40 PM

How scary is that?


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Subject: RE: BS: John Paul II's Legacy
From: DougR
Date: 10 Apr 05 - 12:25 AM

Well, the liberal's hero, Bill Clinton, declared that the Pope will have a mixed legacy. Sort of like his, I guess.

DougR


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Subject: RE: BS: John Paul II's Legacy
From: Joe Offer
Date: 10 Apr 05 - 04:42 AM

I think I agree with Bill Clinton on that one. "Mixed legacy" is an apt description.
-Joe Offer, ambivalently-


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Subject: RE: BS: John Paul II's Legacy
From: Alba
Date: 10 Apr 05 - 06:15 AM

The context of Clinton's remark, as he explained in a interview, was that in some ways John Paul II held Liberal views as in feeding the World Poor and his anti-War stand while at the same time holding strict Conservative views regarding Pro Life, Homosexuality ect.
I agree with President Clinton's comments.
John Paul II does leave a mixed Legacy.

It was a remark taken from a discussion while travelling to the Pope's Funeral on Air Force 1 and was, as is the Media's want, reported out of context.
If Folks are going to use comments from President Clinton who has stated his admiration for the Late Pope in a very articulate manner, it would be better if they did it with his actual comments and not a sound byte....

Just a thought:>)
Blessings
Jude


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Subject: RE: BS: John Paul II's Legacy
From: GUEST
Date: 10 Apr 05 - 06:28 AM

In the short term, his legacy will be that the celebrity adoration and worship of him will completely eclipse the realities the Catholic church is facing in it's homelands--Europe and North America, where Catholicism has seen a very rapid decline in the past 50 years.

From yesterday's LA Times:

"ROME — Only a few miles from the throngs that pressed into St. Peter's Square to bid farewell to Pope John Paul II, a soaring Baroque-style basilica echoed with emptiness.

Inside, 20 of the faithful were sequestered in a side chapel for the noon Mass, while Father Virgilio Missori, 84, sat alone near a confessional booth awaiting penitents who did not come.

In many ways, the quiet scene day in and day out at the 17th century Basilica of Sts. Ambrose and Charles on the Corso is far more representative of the state of the Roman Catholic Church today than the one in St. Peter's Square, where an estimated 2 million pilgrims paid homage to John Paul in what was arguably the world's largest funeral.

For all the glory of its churches and its history as the preeminent keeper and promulgator of the Christian faith, the Roman Catholic Church is in retreat in much of the developed West that used to be called Christendom.

Regular attendance at Mass is on a downward spiral in many predominantly Catholic countries, especially in the church's European heartland. It is much the same story in the United States."


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Subject: Whose Job Is It?
From: wysiwyg
Date: 10 Apr 05 - 07:52 AM

The tone I have been hearing from folks blaming the Pope for the failings of the human race feels a lot to me like the blame folks aim at God-- "How could He let [this] happen?" My recollection is that God gave this world to US to care for responsibly, offered to help us run it, left a pretty good owner's manual, reminded us often to be good to our fellow human beans, stands ready at all times to offer wisdom and power, grieves when we do such a poor job, and loves us regardless.

We disregard all that, preferring to define, for His job description, the job He gave to US!

Mudcat is so defensive of late I am sure plenty of folks here will conclude that I am addressing them specifically, or offering to debate. I'm not. I'm just commenting on an observation. And oh yeah-- not just observations of Mudcat, but (gasp) in life! ;~)

~Susan


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Subject: RE: BS: John Paul II's Legacy
From: GUEST
Date: 10 Apr 05 - 07:55 AM

Well Susan, I hate to disappoint you, but I don't believe in god, God, and especially, YOUR god. I believe religious people have serious cognitive development issues, and you and a few other Mudcatters are good "living proof" examples of it.


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Subject: RE: BS: John Paul II's Legacy
From: wysiwyg
Date: 10 Apr 05 - 07:59 AM

Then with your superior cognitive ability, GUEST, out-do the job the Pope did, yourself, and please let us all know how that goes. Be sure to do it namelessly, too, because hey-- who needs a name for a legacy? :~)

~Susan


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Subject: RE: BS: John Paul II's Legacy
From: GUEST
Date: 10 Apr 05 - 08:04 AM

Now now Susan, you aren't even a Catholic. Gee, you Protestants must be SO jealous of this global group hug thing not including you.

Must be why you are so desperately trying to live vicariously through the celebrity adoration and worship.

It is so easy to spot the celebrity worshipping sheep around this place...


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Subject: RE: BS: John Paul II's Legacy
From: wysiwyg
Date: 10 Apr 05 - 08:22 AM

OH SURE!

~S~


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Subject: RE: BS: John Paul II's Legacy
From: GUEST
Date: 10 Apr 05 - 08:29 AM

What narcissism! Linking to your own post! Hahahahahahahah....

Thanks for the laugh, ye Queen of the Mudcat Holy Rollers.


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Subject: RE: BS: John Paul II's Legacy
From: wysiwyg
Date: 10 Apr 05 - 08:54 AM

Simply saving myself the time and trouble of restating what I already had stated, in response to your troll, o nameless one. :~)

~S~


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Subject: RE: BS: John Paul II's Legacy
From: GUEST
Date: 10 Apr 05 - 08:58 AM

Gong! You've lost the argument by invoking the "T" word AND linking to your own post.


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Subject: RE: BS: John Paul II's Legacy
From: wysiwyg
Date: 10 Apr 05 - 09:03 AM

You flatter yourself by characterizing my response as an argument with you. As I said above, I'm not debating today. Too much to do; you'll have to entertain yourself on someone else.

Anyhow, how are you going to out-do the pope when you can't get elected without a name people can vote for? :~)

~S~


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Subject: RE: BS: John Paul II's Legacy
From: GUEST
Date: 10 Apr 05 - 09:09 AM

susan maybe not everyone apires to popedom. Maybe not everyone thinks we need one. Shock horror eh?

izzy wizzy also lost the argument by using the T word and the G word and linking to her own post. Always the old familiar when presented with an opposing point of view.


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Subject: RE: BS: John Paul II's Legacy
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 10 Apr 05 - 10:12 AM

I get the impression from the replies that we are still getting a bunch of different people popping up sounding-off about the Pope from diametrically opposed viewpoints, but all "signing in" as unnamed GUEST. That's taking them at faceless face value as actually having a point of view, which of course isn't necessarily so at all.   And people still get drawn into asymmetric dialogue...


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Subject: RE: BS: John Paul II's Legacy
From: GUEST
Date: 10 Apr 05 - 10:15 AM

This excellent commentary by Polly Toynbee of The Guardian sums up how I feel about all this papal adoration in a nutshell:

Not in my name

How dare Tony Blair genuflect on our behalf before the corpse of a man whose edicts killed millions?

Polly Toynbee
Friday April 8, 2005
The Guardian

With the clash of two state funerals and a wedding, unreason is in full flood this week. Yet again, rationalists who thought they understood this secular, sceptical age have been shocked at the coverage from Rome.
The BBC airwaves have disgraced themselves. The Mail went mad with its front-page headlines, "Safe in Heaven" and the next day "Amen". Even this august organ, which sprang from the loins of nonconformist dissent, astounded many readers with its broad acres of Pope reverencing. Poor old Prince Rainier of that squalid little tax haven missed his full Hello! death rites through bad timing.

The arcane flummery brings forth dusty academics in Vaticanology, the Act of Settlement and laws of Monegasque succession. These pantomimes of power fascinate in their quaintness, but they signify nothing beyond momentary frisson.

The millions pouring into Rome (pray there is no Mecca-style disaster) herald no resurgence of Catholicism. The devout are there, but this is essentially a Diana moment, a Queen Mother's catafalque. People queue to join great public spectacles, hoping it's a tell-my-grandchildren event. Communing with public emotion is easy now travel is cheap. These things are driven by rolling, unctuous television telling people a great event is unfolding, focusing on the few hysterics in tears and not the many who come to feel their pain.

Bill Clinton had it right yesterday: "The man knows how to build a crowd." Curiously, the celebrity nature of this event - a must-do for 200 world leaders - signifies the opposite of what it seems. It shows how far people have forgotten what the church really is, how profoundly ignorant and indifferent they have become to history and theology. Hell, he was just a good ol' boy, wore white, blessed folk, prayed for peace - why not?

In Europe church attendance is plummeting, even in Poland, the heart of reactionary Catholicism. Here the young are clueless about the most basic Christian stories. How about the DJ who opened his show with "Happy Good Friday!" Art galleries now need to explain the agony in the garden, the raising of Lazarus and even the annunciation. In surveys, half the population couldn't say what Easter meant. It is precisely this insouciant ignorance that lets people emote with the flow; they know not what they do.

The Vatican is not a charming Monaco for tourists collecting Ruritanian stamps or gazing at past glories in the Sistine Chapel. It is a modern, potent force for cruelty and hypocrisy. It has weak temporal power, so George Bush can safely pray at the corpse of the man who criticised the Iraq war and capital punishment; it simply didn't matter as the Pope never made a serious issue of it or ordered the US church to take strong action.

The Vatican's deeper power is in its personal authority over 1.3 billion worshippers, which is strongest over the poorest, most helpless devotees. With its ban on condoms the church has caused the death of millions of Catholics and others in areas dominated by Catholic missionaries, in Africa and right across the world. In countries where 50% are infected, millions of very young Aids orphans are today's immediate victims of the curia. Refusing support to all who offer condoms, spreading the lie that the Aids virus passes easily through microscopic holes in condoms - this irresponsibility is beyond all comprehension.

This is said often, even in this unctuous week - and yet still it does not permeate. He was a good, caring man nevertheless, they say, as if it were a minor aberration. But genuflecting before this corpse is scarcely different to parading past Lenin: they both put extreme ideology before human life and happiness, at unimaginable human cost. How dare our prime minister go there in our name to give the Vatican our approval for this? Will he think of Africa when on his knees today? I trust history will some day express astonishment at moral outrage wasted on sexual trivia while papal celebrity and charisma cloaked this great Vatican crime.

The editor of the Catholic Herald was somewhat Jesuitical when I argued with him in a BBC studio yesterday. He asked how the Pope could be blamed when all the church calls for is sex within marriage and abstinence. But abstinence and celibacy are not the human condition. If the Vatican learned anything about humanity, it would humbly meditate on 4,450 Catholic clergy in the US alone accused of molesting children since 1950, and no doubt as many in Catholic churches elsewhere still in denial.

The scale of it is breathtaking yet not at all surprising: most humans are sexual beings. A Vatican edict in the 1960s threatened to excommunicate anyone breaking secrecy on child sex allegations, and guaranteed that ever more children continued to suffer. And within its walls the Vatican shields an American priest from allegations.

Still the Vatican turns a blind eye to this most repugnant and damaging of all sexual practices, the suffering little children whose priests come unto them. Yet at the same time it thunders disapproval of sex in every other more innocent circumstance, blighting the lives of millions with its teaching on gays, divorce, abortion and unrealistic self-denial. There is no reckoning how many of the world's poorest women have died giving birth to more children than they can survive; contraception is women's true saviour.

In 1971 I interviewed Mother Teresa and asked how she justified letting starving babies be born to die on Calcutta streets for lack of contraception. She said sublimely that every baby entering the world was another soul created in praise of God, even if it lived only a few hours. She was never keen on cures: suffering was a gift of God that enabled those who cared for the afflicted to demonstrate their love. She was beatified by John Paul II for their shared religious mania. Those who met them talk of an aura of love, power, listening and intensity. But goodness is in doing good; good intent is no excuse for murderous error.

Today's saccharine sanctimony will try to whiten the sepulchre of yet another Pope whose obscurantist faith has caused pointless suffering; it is no defence that he was only obeying higher orders.

At the funeral will be a convocation of mullahs, rabbis and all the other medieval faiths that increasingly conspire together against modernity. Islamic groups are sternly warning the Vatican to stand firm against liberal influences on homosexuality, abortion, contraception and the ordination of women. What is it about religion that unites them all on sex? It always expresses itself as disgust for women's bodies, leading to a need to suppress women altogether. Why is controlling women's bodies the shared battle flag of every faith?

Disgracefully, the European rich quietly ignore the church's outlandish teachings on contraception without rebelling on behalf of the helpless third-world poor who die for their misplaced faith. Those "civilised" Catholics have as much blood on their hands as the Vatican they support. They are like the Bollinger Bolsheviks who defended the USSR and a murderous ideology that they could do much to change. For today, just remember what lies beneath all this magnificent display.


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Subject: RE: BS: John Paul II's Legacy
From: Big Mick
Date: 10 Apr 05 - 12:04 PM

Strikes me that this nameless junk mailer is the defensive one. The praise being given this man really worries you. That is why you react so, instead of politely (now there's a concept, eh?) stating your views. The best critique I have heard so far, and the one that brings him such adulation from the young and the old alike, is that he was consistent. In today's world that seems to be a terrible thing. I didn't agree with a number of his positions, but he was consistent in his expression of them. When he said he was Pro Life, that meant he was opposed to abortion AND the death penalty, unlike so many of our supposed "traditional values" friends. He was not a friend of convenience in the things he supported, and conversely, opposed. He was an outspoken critic of the Iraq war. He supported the fall of the Communist state, yet indicated that there were parts of it that should be kept because of their worth.

Rant on, GUEST. It is just more of your intolerance toward any idea that isn't in lock step with your ivory tower view of the world.


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Subject: RE: BS: John Paul II's Legacy
From: GUEST
Date: 10 Apr 05 - 12:21 PM

Yes, John Paul II was quite masterful at consistently ignoring the Rwandan genocide, and the Roman Catholic church's complicity in it, wasn't he?

And child sexual abuse--he consistently ignored that too.

And the AIDS epidemic. Now there was one consistently ignored topic under JPII. Except when the hierarchy chose to consistently put out bogus "medical" information about how the use of condoms contributed to the spread of AIDs...

Yup, the former pope was nothing if not consistently wrong in ways that resulted in millions of deaths on his watch.

That's quite a legacy.


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Subject: RE: BS: John Paul II's Legacy
From: GUEST
Date: 10 Apr 05 - 12:27 PM

And all those deaths in the name of love, compassion, and social justice too.

But what did we expect from a "rock star" pope?


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Subject: RE: BS: John Paul II's Legacy
From: GUEST,Seneschal
Date: 10 Apr 05 - 12:46 PM

Then why didn't you travel to Africa to try and correct this, guest?


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Subject: RE: BS: John Paul II's Legacy
From: GUEST
Date: 10 Apr 05 - 12:49 PM

The pope was in a position to. Anymore stupid questions?


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Subject: RE: BS: John Paul II's Legacy
From: GUEST
Date: 10 Apr 05 - 12:55 PM

Why aren't you in a position to?


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Subject: RE: BS: John Paul II's Legacy
From: GUEST
Date: 10 Apr 05 - 01:12 PM

Not too many bully pulpits in the world that puts a single individual in front of a billion+ people Guest Seneschal/12:55 PM.

So in answer to your question as to why I'm not in a position to do what JPII didn't do--all those jobs were taken.

I couldn't get the job of Oracle of Delphi either.


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Subject: RE: BS: John Paul II's Legacy
From: GUEST,leveler
Date: 10 Apr 05 - 01:19 PM

These claims thrown out so freely about how the Pope was responsible for millions of Aids death by being against the use of condoms for contraception could be a bit suspect.

How is it supposed to work? It's said that the way Aids has spread in anAfrica has been primarily hookers and long-distance lorry drivers and similar. Is the suggestion that they have been refusing to use condoms when they get together, because that would be against their religion, so they go ahead and do the business without using them, because that means it's OK in the eyes of Mother Church?

And there's the accusation that Church workers are at fault for saying that, while condoms may greatly decrease the risk of passing on HIV and AIDS, they aren't 100 per cent safe. I suppose the idea is that people react to that by saying "In that case there's no point in using them". But does that seem very likely?


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Subject: RE: BS: John Paul II's Legacy
From: GUEST
Date: 10 Apr 05 - 01:41 PM

Add 'em all up--Rwanda, AIDs crisis in Africa and the refusal of Roman Catholic missionaries to distribute condoms to stop it, in Africa alone that adds up to millions of preventable deaths.

AIDs in Africa is being spread by hookers and lorry drivers? What right wing fundamentalist delusional world are you living in? What a pig ignorant, stupid statement. And of course, we are all dying to know who you are labelling "and similar".

What is the point of having a bully pulpit to be used to lecture the world on ethical treatment of our fellow human beings, and then not using it ethically? There are regions in Africa where over 50% of the population is HIV positive or has AIDs, and the disease in Africa will have a devastating impact FOR GENERATIONS. An estimated 11.4 million people are currently living with HIV in sub-Saharan Africa alone, according to the 2004 UNAIDS Update.

As to what the propaganda about condoms and AIDs the Catholic hierarchy and it's troops on the ground are saying:

Vatican: condoms don't stop Aids

Steve Bradshaw
Thursday October 9, 2003
The Guardian

The Catholic Church is telling people in countries stricken by Aids not to use condoms because they have tiny holes in them through which HIV can pass - potentially exposing thousands of people to risk.
The church is making the claims across four continents despite a widespread scientific consensus that condoms are impermeable to HIV.

A senior Vatican spokesman backs the claims about permeable condoms, despite assurances by the World Health Organisation that they are untrue."


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Subject: RE: BS: John Paul II's Legacy
From: Nigel Parsons
Date: 10 Apr 05 - 04:06 PM

That Guardian Story


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Subject: RE: BS: John Paul II's Legacy
From: GUEST,leveler
Date: 10 Apr 05 - 04:38 PM

I see that Guardian story has the World Health Organisation as saying that " 'consistent and correct' condom use reduces the risk of HIV infection by 90%." In other words "they aren't 100 per cent safe".

Ninety per cent protection is a lot better than zero protection, but there's still quite a risk involved if those WHO figures are correct. One in ten.

But how is it damaging to point this out? How does it make it less likely that people would use condoms to reduce the risk of infection? It would just mean that they'd be aware of the risk that was still present.


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Subject: RE: BS: John Paul II's Legacy
From: GUEST
Date: 10 Apr 05 - 04:46 PM

Hmmmmm...one in ten out of 40 million. Do the math. I think condoms could save a few lives and prevent alot of spread of the disease, no?


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Subject: RE: BS: John Paul II's Legacy
From: GUEST
Date: 10 Apr 05 - 04:51 PM

And leveller, the point you are overlooking is that the church told people NOT to use the condoms, and gave this wrong information as justification, rather than just being honest about their reasons for telling people not to use condoms.

In other words, the church, all the way up to the pope, decided their personal dogma trumped the right to life of the people at risk from HIV and AIDs.

Not so compassionate and loving of the "culture of life" cabal now is it?


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Subject: RE: BS: John Paul II's Legacy
From: Joe Offer
Date: 11 Apr 05 - 11:47 AM

I've been very critical of the Pope for his entire career, so I've watched what he's done and I know what he's done. I find myself in the uncomfortable position of defending a man I disliked, because there has been so much blatant untruth posted about him here at Mudcat. I wonder why people can't find value in discussing him from the viewpoint of an honest and balanced assessment, instead of spewing all these half-truths and veiled bigotry. I didn't like him, but John Paul II was not an evil man. He was just conservative.

I'd like to see a moderate chosen as his replacement, but I'm not too optimistic about that. Most likely, we'll see another conservative.


-Joe Offer-


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Subject: Making Time for Actual Facts???
From: GUEST,WYS
Date: 11 Apr 05 - 01:24 PM

I wonder why people can't find value in discussing him from the viewpoint of an honest and balanced assessment, instead of spewing all these half-truths and veiled bigotry.

Partly I think for many people, it's because they are so prejudiced (and so busy looking for opportunities to stir the sh*t), that they can't be bothered to do any actual research or think about the possibility of actual facts. The Pope's bio was a fascinating read. Biggest surprise-- he was human and really loved people, human beings, in general and in specific, just as they were. Earthy as well as a mystic.

The slams about old celibate men not understanding sexuality issues-- how many people know that long before he became Pope, his curiosity about people and the human condition led him to seek out young people and couples for long, frank discussions of all aspects of human relationships? Celibate he was (well, as far as I know), but not out of being anti-sex. In him it was more a case of being wired to be totally dedicated to one pursuit, and choosing things that came along that path.

~Susan


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Subject: RE: BS: John Paul II's Legacy
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 11 Apr 05 - 06:30 PM

He was just conservative.

The thing was, he wasn't "just conservative" - more especially in the sense in which that is now taken to be defined. The general assumption is that all theb issues about which the world is divided can be bubndled up in a straightforward way, so that when you kbnow where people stand on a coupoel of themm, you know where they stand oin the rest.

And it just wan't like that for JP, and I don't think it's actually like that for most thinking people, if we're honest with ourselves. Typically the temptation is that we find we agree with people on a couple of issues that are high on our list of priorities, and decide that's the side we are on; then we hold our peace when the discussion gets on to other issues where we don't see things the same way as the allies. Or we might even try to persuade ourselves that we really agree with them. Anyway, we avoid rocking the boat.

JP didn't do it that way. He had no worries about rocking the boat. He's launch out against the things he thought were wrong, regardless of whether the people promoting them were people he agreed with on other issues.

I think that's a good way to opoerate - and that's one reason I feel that though I might disagree sharply with some of the views he took, that is no reason to see him as in some kind of opposing camp.


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Subject: RE: BS: John Paul II's Legacy
From: Joe Offer
Date: 11 Apr 05 - 10:13 PM

Oh, I'm sure John Paul II did what he thought was best, but I also believe he was blind to many people who where hurt unecessarily by his rigidity on internal church issues:
  • The tightening on restrictions on annulments, making it more difficult for long-divorced Catholics to remarry and remain part of the Church.
  • Resigned priests who were refused laicization, and thus refused the right to participate in the church if they got married.
  • Gay people, who have no dignity within the Catholic church unless they remain celibate.
  • Theologians who were silenced.
  • Wise, gifted, articulate women and married men who could serve admirably as priests and who could solve our shortage of priests.
And the list goes on.
I'm sorry, Kevin, but I can't agree with those who want to call him "John Paul the Great." He wasn't a bad man, and he did much to promote the cause of peace and justice in the world; but he also did much to waylay the progress made by Vatican II and John XXIII, who truly was "The Great."

-Joe Offer-

And yeah, I have to say that Roman Catholic clergy, especially bishops, are very naieve about sex - from John Paul II's statements and actions on this issue, I'd say he was more-or-less the same.


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Subject: RE: BS: John Paul II's Legacy
From: Alan cayn
Date: 12 Apr 05 - 08:53 PM

I don't believe the Dalai Lama would attend anyone's funeral.


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Subject: RE: BS: John Paul II's Legacy
From: GUEST,WYS
Date: 12 Apr 05 - 08:55 PM

He did send a rep to JP II's, who was prominently seated with leaders and representatives of various non-Christian religions.

~S~


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Subject: RE: BS: John Paul II's Legacy
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 13 Apr 05 - 01:33 PM

Catherine the Great and Peter the Great had some significant character falws, I believe. I know the rules are different for royals and pontiffs, but what I mean is, "the Great" as a label needn't imply anything about being progressive or regressive or whatever.

I suppose if he did end up being called "John Paul the Great" rather than "John Paul the Second" it'd mean his predecessor being called "John Paul the Lesser", 33 days being a lot less than 26 years. It might be good if the new man could be someone on the lines of JP the First, to balance things out.


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