Friday, April 01, 2005

Grossly Impolitic

It is, I know, grossly impolitic to point out on the eve of the Pope's death, but the Catholic Church has really gone a long way in the wrong direction.

For some time now people have been tiptoeing around the issues surrounding a bitter old man's misogyny (ok, except for the "Virgin," but isn't that the same thing?). Put this together with the widespread acceptance of a culture of abuse, the absurd reticence to allow women priests, or priests to marry, or prophylactics anywhere and a sad, sad story emerges.

There are a few good things JPII did, it's true, and not all the idiocy is his fault, but the Catholic Church is a very intensely personal organizations in its absolute hierarchy. One cannot go from Vatican II to today without a strong leader.

Ater all, the absurd claim of the Vatican that the Portland, Oregon Archdiocese is an independent finanial unit that can declare bankruptcy while the Church in Rome sits on billions of dollars in liquid assets provided a distateful backdrop for the canonization of the founder of Opus Dei.

I have roots in the Church, as many of you know, and there is a certain bitterness on my part that is also very personal. Over the years, however, it seems more and more to me that my teenage observation sitting in the St. Paul (MN) Cathedral holds very true today: This is an organization that misses Imperial Rome and the dark ages. Given our wider, contemporary swing back towards politics apropos of such uncouth times and the prominence of such extremist Catholics as Antonin Scalia, it is hard for me to not see at least some wider correlation.

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I do of course have other ideas about the wider context of these shifts in politics, etc.

I could not, for instance, write my post on earthquakes and turn around and point a finger straight at the Catholic Church, of all places.

This remains a blog, however; and if I am put off by collective wailing and moaning over legitimate tragedies, I can be outright hostile when a rosy picture is painted of a complex man some of whose acts contributed significantly to the misery of the world.

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