Friday, April 08, 2005

Pope Week

I wasn’t sure what I thought about this Pope week until today, when driving into work; here are my thoughts:

1)The Pope was a wonderful person, did great things, embodied those values and beliefs that many people strive for.

2)I have always maintained that funerals were for the living, not for the dead (not an original thought, I know), so this week has been for whomever wanted to grieve (and I don’t think that the grief being shown is all for the Pope; I am sure many people are taking this opportunity to use the Pope as a surrogate for other, more personal griefs.)

3)The Catholic church has muy dinero and is spending it like mad this week; their prerogative, but it seems to me that this $$ could be better spent on things like the poor, but from what I understand, the Pope was opposed to liberation theology, so it ain’t gonna go there.

4)Tradition is nice, but excessive tradition is ridiculous in this day and age and I really don’t see the purpose that it serves other than providing a public display of grief for a week.

5)The US media loves this because they don’t have to figure out what they are going to do for a week.

6)The US media loves this because it is essentially pabulum for the masses and not controversial, therefore safe to have wall-to-wall coverage of whatever happens in Rome.

7)I find it ironic that many people who despise the Catholic church are joining in the grieving, but again, I think that is more due to their unacknowledged personal griefs – again, like the media, it is safe to grieve publicly for the Pope, but not for others

8)I would really love to know what the Bushes and Clinton were thinking about for those five minutes that they kneeled before the Pope’s body; I can’t imagine all of them being immersed in prayer for five solid minutes. If I had time, I would write out what I thought they were thinking and you can bet, it wouldn’t be pretty!

9)I don’t see how this advances anything that the Church is allegedly interested in – peace, compassion, etc. Sure, everyone is all nicey-nice for a week, but then they all go back to their daily routines of aggressive competition, extreme self-centeredness, etc., once the week has passed.

I see it all from an intervention standpoint…what has this accomplished for nations, societies, cultures? IMO, not much. I think a better service to the public would be to have week-long memorials for each and everyone one of the young men and women who have died in Iraq and Afghanistan. The grief would be much more real, more immediate, and it would have a much greater impact on the society. Are these young people any different than the Pope? Not in my opinion. They gave their lives to serve their country, they engaged in heroic activities everyday, they were selfless in most of their actions, and they embodied the ideals and values that the society holds dear. Plus, IMO, they DESERVE a weeklong memorial; not that the Pope doesn’t (if that is how the Church wants to spend their money, who can tell them otherwise?), it is that they do, also.

Oh, and now the US media will be obsessed with who will be the next Pope for the next four weeks or so. One of the many reasons I only watch Animal Planet, the History Channel, the Weather Channel, and Comedy Central; and that’s for an average of about four hours a month.