Friday, April 19, 2002

Peggy Noonan's description of the Pope in this paragraph should win her an award:

The pope is an old man, gravely ill, exhausted by his ascesticism. He is unable to show feeling or emotion through the Parkinsonian mask that freezes his features. When I saw him walk into a room two years ago--bent, moving slowly, his left eye drooping and rimmed red--his face seemed that of a half-submerged whale looking silently at the world, a great mammal risen from the deep.

She is so..o..o..o right about this too:

The pope has no doubt been told, repeatedly, that this is a media-driven scandal. Cardinal Theodore McCarrick this week told the Washington Post, his parish paper, that journalists are having "a heyday." The cardinal no doubt believes this to be true, but it is not.

Has anyone who repeats this line, that this is a "media driven" crisis, (and I hear it constantly in the Catholic environment that I am in), ever taken note of who is reporting the stories (Catholic journalist of all ilks--conservative and liberal)? Or have they taken note of the fact that most of the story is not even being reported, (Bishops are doing their best to remove accused priests without anyone knowing it--especially the press)? I know of a priest who was removed for having abused a 12 year old girl a month ago, and no newspaper had reported it yet. I also know that the priest has been arrested, why not?

This is so true, when Amy and I visited Saint Joseph University in Philadelphia a few weeks ago, we saw the Cardinal's residence (from a distance), it was like viewing the White House, but only one man is the resident:

The pope should know that many of the cardinals he will speak to have grown detached from life as it is suffered through by ordinary people. The princes of the church live as princes of the world. They live in great mansions in the heart of great cities, dine with senators and editors, and have grown worldly not in the best sense, in real sophistication and knowledge, but in the worst. They are surrounded by staff who serve them, drive them, answer their call. They are used to being obeyed. We all suffer from some degree of arrogance. But I have never seen star treatment ennoble the object of that treatment.

If I had my druthers, the Pope wouldn't remove any of them. Rather he would declare them penitents, and impose the following penance:

Have them walk around in rags, live in a public housing project and suffer eviction at least a couple of times, make them walk everywhere they need to go (no more jetting around the country), no housekeepers or servants--in fact they should be employed as night janitors or some other task. Actually this is no penance but rather a description of the Son of Man's life, "who had no place to lay his head."

Most of the Catholic Cardinals are no different then the televangelists who appear with their heavily made-up, Dolly Parton wigged wives on television. Most of their apologies have not come anywhere close to a tearful Jimmy Swaggart's "I have sinned against you!" Rather, they read just another statement that is aloof and leaves most yawning like their other statements. There is no passion, not about any of this anyway.

A radical reform, instituted by the Pope would address these issues and the Cardinals would be spending their days with the poor, like a Mother Teresa.

Then the politicians would really have something to fear from the Catholic Church because you would have men renowned for holiness calling the rest of us to imitate them as they imitate Christ.