Monday, April 04, 2005

R.I.P.: John Paul II

I was raised a Catholic and was once an (unmolested) altar boy, and I grew up respecting the Pope. When John Paul II came to the U.S. in 1979, I stood in the midtown Manhattan rain for hours waiting for his caravan to pass me by. When he finally drove by he didn’t disappoint, standing in his open air Popemobile (this was before he was shot and saddled with his Popemobile bubble) in the rain to wave back.

When I got older, I ditched Roman Catholicism and view all religion as garbage. I never lost respect for the Pope, though. John Paul II may have presided over an arcane religious institution and held a lot of reactionary views on social issues like abortion and homosexuality, but he spoke out against poverty and war just as fervently if not more so. He didn’t subscribe to the transparent and false morality that opposes aborting American fetuses while approving the bombing deaths of Iraqi children.

Terri Shiavo’s body was not yet cold when the world’s media began its ghoulish death watch of John Paul II. The television news wasted hours of their time telling us this past weekend that His Holiness was still dead. This circus won’t end soon either, as his funeral and the selection of the next Pope will consume more hours of network news coverage.

Most of the world will continue to lack his courage and unwavering commitment to faith. Catholics will mourn the passing of John Paul II with gratitude for his life.

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