Monday, May 16, 2005

Saints and Sinners

"We must have a real living determination to reach holiness. 'I will be a saint' means I will despoil myself of all that is not God." Mother Teresa

The new Pope wants to put the newly late Pope up for Sainthood. Immediately. This year. Not in five years, as is customary. One wonders, what's the rush? Could it be.......... POLITICS?

Is it possible the former Joseph Ratzinger sees the move as a good way to deflect scrutiny from his own past? And perhaps share some reflected glory from the recently passed Pope? Scores of the faithful are calling for John Paul II's sainthood, what better way to score some major points with them.

As I understand it, canonization signifies that a person was heroically virtuous in life, is now in heaven and worthy of true veneration. The process was speeded up one other time, for Mother Teresa, but that was a no-brainer, to Catholics and non-Catholics alike. The woman was a saint when she was alive.

As for John Paul II, the jury's still out. And should stay out. I'm not Catholic, but I know the nominee's background is investigated, and proof of miracles -one for beautification, another for sainthood- is sought. I'm curious, in the case of John Paul II, where on the application for beautification might one denote "refused to help save millions from genocide"? And how would one describe that all important second miracle, "gave succor and protection to pedophile priests"?

In the Yiddish vernacular of my religious culture, the very idea of sainthood for John Paul II is a shonda. A shameful idea. An embarrassment. An act of bringing dishonor on your house. By anybody's definition, it's major league chutzpah. (For the uninformed, or residents of Wyoming, chutzpah means balls, big brass ones.)

And adding shonda to chutzpah, Pope Benedict XVI named San Francisco Archbishop William Levada to the post of Prefect for the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith. A monumentally political post. Benedict's job when he was Cardinal Ratzinger. As the late Pope's policy wonk, "God's Rottweiler" was responsible for enforcing church doctrine, punishing wayward sinners and oh yes, dealing with the pedophile priests scandal -- which apparently the Vatican felt wasn't one and the same thing.

Cardinal Ratzinger was big on tossing politically incorrect dissident theologians out on their ears for not toeing the party line. But pious child molesters? C'mon in fellas, we'll cover your tracks and hide your disgraceful acts.

Just as the new Pope passed the buck on that hot potato, he's now passed the torch to Archbishop Levada, another harshly conservative doctrinarian. Here's what they stand united against: abortion, euthanasia, feminism, homosexuality and lifting the celibacy requirement for priests. Uh, guys? About those last two. Horse is out of the barn in your own back yard, don't you think?

Levada was also a principal player in the pedophile scandal cover up. A statement from The Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests, ''Regarding abuse in the San Francisco archdiocese, Levada has been slow to act, harsh to victims and committed to secrecy.''

And get this: Levada's on record as having said that priests should seek counsel from their bishops on refusing communion to Catholic politicians who support abortion.

Yikes! No wishy-washy stance on separation of Church and State for this guy. What a trinity of traits: unyielding, unforgiving, underhanded. Just the person you want at the right hand of the Pope, inspiring the faithful, following in the footsteps of a seriously flawed predecessor.

For beautification, Pope John Paul II had to have performed a confirmed miracle in his lifetime. I guess making pedophiles disappear from one parish only to appear in another could be termed miraculous. But a procedural loophole also demands that in order to qualify for sainthood, a miracle must have occurred after John Paul's death.

So far, the only miracle I can see is that Catholics everywhere haven't risen up in protest over his successor.

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1:47 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

First time on this site. Amazed to see such open hatred and anti-semitism towards the Catholic Church in th Saints and Sinners article. The author clearly illustrates an underlying agenda and dislike for the heirarchy of the Catholic Church. I find some of his comments offensive. Will not be back to this site.

7:05 PM  
Blogger Sally Swift said...

This is a first. I've never been accused of "anti-[S]emitism towards the Catholic Church" ... it's well, not really possible.

As the author--and I'm a she, not a he--of course I have an agenda, but it's not anti-Catholic. It's anti-hypocrisy within any religious hierarchy that purports to hold itself to Supremely high standards and has failed so publicly and miserably.

12:05 PM  

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