Monday, April 04, 2005

Space Pope versus Real Pope

Eric Kendall, in a dedication to Pope John Paul II, remarks on a New York Times article that quotes a Hans Kung who apparently fancies himself a critic of the late Pope:
In my opinion, he is not the greatest pope but the most contradictory of the 20th century. A pope of many, great gifts, and of many bad decisions!
After a little reading I saw that Mr. Kung had been banned from teaching at a Catholic institution because of his 'extreme liberal views'. Given the idiocy of the political views of many within the church I found this hard to believe, until I dug a little deeper. Most left wing radicals within the Catholic church use doctrine to support their views, but Mr. Kung decided that church doctrine didn't go quite far enough:
Without glossing over the serious differences among the individual religions, the [global ethic] document affirms that the ancient wisdom common to all religions can point the way to the future, and it seeks to proclaim publicly those things which we hold in common and jointly affirm, each on the basis of our religious or ethical grounds.
That sounds like a hunk of gobbledygook to me. Of course if he was just looking for common ground between the worlds major religious faiths, it would be one thing, but where Mr. Kung seems to go very awry is in making sure secular zealots get their two cents in as well:
Thus, the old commandment 'Thou shalt not kill' becomes, in positive terms, 'Have respect for life,' and calls for the safety of all minorities, social and political justice, a culture of non-violence, respect for the environment and universal disarmament. The directive 'Thou shalt not steal' becomes 'Deal honestly and fairly,' and decries poverty and the violence and counter-violence which occur in a wealth-polarized society, where theft becomes necessary for sheer survival and hatred and resentment inevitably well up.
Of course in an effort to prove every undesirable facet of life a great social wrong, Mr. Kung completely dilutes the meanings of right and wrong; a long standing tenant in the liberal secular 'faith'.

Contrast the baseless ramblings of Hans Kung with the rock that was Pope John Paul II. Many on the left hated him because he called them for what they really were. Mostly, the criticisms all seemed to boil down to people wanting to do whatever with their urges and not feel guilty about it, as if a blessing from a corrupt Pope would somehow assuage the guilt that chases them for their misdeeds.

I, myself, cannot do justice to what en effective church leader, cold warrior, and moral beacon Pope John Paul II was; the likes of Hans Kung aren't fit to criticize his choice of breakfast, let alone the man himself. The church would be quite lucky to get more than one Pope like him a century.

(Update: Jonathan V. Last at the Weekly Standard notes more leftwing criticism of the pope, including his distaste for communism. Dr. Degenaro's child raping led regime that he loves is mentioned as well, fun for all!)

(Update 4/5/05:Mark Steyn has an excellent piece:
When a free man enjoying the blessings of a free society promotes an equivalence between real democracy and a sham, he's colluding in the great lie being perpetrated by the prison state. Too many Western politicians of a generation ago - Schmidt, Trudeau, Mitterrand - failed to see what John Paul saw so clearly. It requires tremendous will to cling to the splendour of truth when the default mode of the era is to blur and evade.)

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