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The Pope is dead
April 2, 2005 12:07 PM   Subscribe

Its official, Pope John Paul II has died at age 84 in Vatican City. "The Holy Father died this evening at 21.37 in his private apartment"
posted by SirOmega (327 comments total)

 
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posted by grrarrgh00 at 12:08 PM on April 2, 2005


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posted by tomcosgrave at 12:09 PM on April 2, 2005


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posted by smcniven at 12:12 PM on April 2, 2005


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posted by bz at 12:15 PM on April 2, 2005


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It's all right. Don't thank me. I had a few extra dots lying around.
posted by 327.ca at 12:17 PM on April 2, 2005


The passing of JP2 gives the church a tremendous opportunity to advance messages of tolerance, peace, and life by abandoning its draconian stances on sexuality and morality and by giving its parishoners the tools to promote health, prevent disease, and worship in a way that reflects the cultural diversity of a growing religious population.

There are very few international spiritual figureheads. Those of all faiths, and atheists like myself, look to the pope to use his office to heal and unite. Let's hope this happens in the next papacy.
posted by Saucy Intruder at 12:18 PM on April 2, 2005


I'm not catholic, but



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posted by Dean Keaton at 12:18 PM on April 2, 2005


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posted by sciurus at 12:20 PM on April 2, 2005


Yeah...someone who everybody knew was going to die, has actually died. This is "best of the web" how, exactly...?
posted by davidmsc at 12:20 PM on April 2, 2005


Resquiat in Pace
The Shepard has gone to his rest, Holy Mother Church endures.
posted by orthogonality at 12:20 PM on April 2, 2005



posted by stbalbach at 12:21 PM on April 2, 2005


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posted by mrplab at 12:21 PM on April 2, 2005


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posted by hob at 12:22 PM on April 2, 2005


Do we really need a new one soon?

Safe journey Karol Joseph Wojtyla.
posted by homodigitalis at 12:22 PM on April 2, 2005


news.google.com's pope-related headlines at the top of the page still say "pope near death", "world braces for his end", "very serious condition", etc. although cnn.com and sfgate.com have "pope died" headlines. has news.google.com become less effective at reporting the breaking news?
posted by clyde at 12:22 PM on April 2, 2005


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posted by ktoad at 12:25 PM on April 2, 2005


The passing of JP2 gives the church a tremendous opportunity to advance messages of tolerance, peace, and life by abandoning its draconian stances on sexuality and morality and by giving its parishoners the tools to promote health, prevent disease, and worship in a way that reflects the cultural diversity of a growing religious population.

Let me be the first to say ... ha ha ha, good one.
posted by bwilliams at 12:25 PM on April 2, 2005


His last word was "Rosebud", but he was probably talking about his first altar boy.

DOT
posted by notmydesk at 12:26 PM on April 2, 2005


Has Google News ever been effective at reporting "breaking" news? It's an aggregator that requires a certain critical mass of coverage of a story before that story breaks through to the top of the page (or to the main page at all). I'd expect it to take at least, I don't know, half an hour to have processed everything into a new "Pope is dead" category.

However, IANAGoogleEngineer, so who knows?
posted by aaronetc at 12:27 PM on April 2, 2005


Let me be the first to say ... ha ha ha, good one.

His last word was "Rosebud", but he was probably talking about his first altar boy.


Shame on both of you.
posted by felix betachat at 12:28 PM on April 2, 2005


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posted by m0nm0n at 12:29 PM on April 2, 2005


Fred Phelps reacted to the news with the outpouring of comapassion and christian love that we've come to expect from him.
(.pdf link, offensive)
posted by 2sheets at 12:30 PM on April 2, 2005


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posted by pyramid termite at 12:30 PM on April 2, 2005


It's odd to think that in the entire history of the Catholic Church, John Paul II was the only Pope to coexist with the World Wide Web. I don't know why this strikes me, but it does.
posted by Faint of Butt at 12:30 PM on April 2, 2005


People near Google on my chat channel vaguely confirm aaronetc's surmise. /derail

Saucy Intruder, don't hold your breath. JP2 could just as easily have done that stuff while Pope/alive.
posted by sninky-chan at 12:31 PM on April 2, 2005


comapassion - I think i just invented a word.
posted by 2sheets at 12:31 PM on April 2, 2005


Shame on both of you.

Can this thread be saved? Probably not.
posted by 327.ca at 12:32 PM on April 2, 2005


So, if the pope dies tomorrow as opposed to within the next couple hours, is there going to be another thread about his death then?
posted by Arch Stanton at 2:59 PM CST on April 1 [!]
posted by Arch Stanton at 12:35 PM on April 2, 2005


Yahoo News links to "The Unofficial Pope Blog." For some reason, that's just very weird to me.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 12:35 PM on April 2, 2005


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posted by vanadium at 12:35 PM on April 2, 2005


I disagree with much of what he stood for, but he appears to have been a kind and sincere man. The catholic church may well deserve your scorn, but this particular pope did not.
posted by anapestic at 12:36 PM on April 2, 2005


George Bush for Pope

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posted by j.p. Hung at 12:36 PM on April 2, 2005


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posted by mrs.pants at 12:36 PM on April 2, 2005


posted by Arch Stanton at 2:59 PM CST on April 1 [!]
posted by Arch Stanton at 12:35 PM PST on April 2 [!]


Come now. You knew the answer to that question before you asked.
posted by anapestic at 12:37 PM on April 2, 2005


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posted by exlotuseater at 12:39 PM on April 2, 2005


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posted by LeeJay at 12:39 PM on April 2, 2005


Careful, felix. Bwilliams' comment was not, "ha ha, the Pope is dead;" is was, "the Church reform? ha ha, fat chance."
posted by argybarg at 12:39 PM on April 2, 2005


This is an outrage! I was hoping they would keep him alive with dialysis and respirators and most of all a feeding tube.
posted by milkwood at 12:39 PM on April 2, 2005


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posted by grapefruitmoon at 12:42 PM on April 2, 2005


Heres to hoping the next pope will be a dolphin.
posted by TwelveTwo at 12:42 PM on April 2, 2005


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posted by jonmc at 12:44 PM on April 2, 2005


bono for pope
posted by tsarfan at 12:45 PM on April 2, 2005


This one's for the freakina' pope

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posted by pg at 12:47 PM on April 2, 2005


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Sounded like a painful way to go.
posted by cmyk at 12:48 PM on April 2, 2005


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posted by Tlahtolli at 12:48 PM on April 2, 2005


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posted by fixedgear at 12:49 PM on April 2, 2005


How many dead popes does it take to screw in a light bulb?
posted by ChasFile at 12:49 PM on April 2, 2005


It's a mighty big ship he had to steer, and it's easy to criticize or find fault with what he did or neglected to do during his reign. That said, from every indication he was a kind, decent and just leader, and a good man.

Resquiat in pacem.
posted by psmealey at 12:49 PM on April 2, 2005


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posted by mattr at 12:49 PM on April 2, 2005


./895119
posted by Armitage Shanks at 12:50 PM on April 2, 2005


i don't get it, whats with the "."s?
posted by ba3r at 12:50 PM on April 2, 2005


Best. Pope. Ever.
posted by Fat Guy at 12:51 PM on April 2, 2005



posted by ori at 12:53 PM on April 2, 2005


i don't get it, whats with the "."s?

(cries)
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 12:53 PM on April 2, 2005


So, right. When can we get back to that whole Enlightenment thing, now that that Papcy has ended forever?

Oh, wait, there's another one?

Argh!
posted by Mean Mr. Bucket at 12:54 PM on April 2, 2005


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posted by subgenius at 12:56 PM on April 2, 2005


The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.
He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.
He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake.
Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.
Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever.

posted by caddis at 12:56 PM on April 2, 2005


More now than ever, the 52 funniest things about the [no longer] upcoming death of the pope.
posted by BlackLeotardFront at 12:58 PM on April 2, 2005


Sic Transit Gloria Mundi

I do hope that the next Pope chooses to embrace the Church's opposition to abortion by abandoning its stance against contraception. JP2 was a great man who did amazing things, my only complaint was his unwavering opposition to contraception. But no one can be perfect, and he was an amazing man. I'm not Catholic, heck I'm not even Christian, and I had enormous respect for him.
posted by sotonohito at 12:58 PM on April 2, 2005


:cue fog machine and spooky lighting:
posted by Mean Mr. Bucket at 12:59 PM on April 2, 2005



posted by Baby_Balrog at 1:00 PM on April 2, 2005


It's odd to think that in the entire history of the Catholic Church, John Paul II was the only Pope to coexist with the World Wide Web. I don't know why this strikes me, but it does.

Also first pope to have had his death made known to the world via e-mail.

I was born in 1981. John Paul II has been pope all my life. It'll be strange to have a new pope. My views and his didn't mesh very well but I did respect him. You could tell that he said what he believed in and that he did think carefully about his words and stances.
posted by Kattullus at 1:00 PM on April 2, 2005


advance messages of tolerance, peace, and life by abandoning its draconian stances on sexuality and morality and by giving its parishoners the tools to promote health, prevent disease, and worship in a way that reflects the cultural diversity of a growing religious population.

Not to mention the environmental impact of the Chruch's position on contraception.
posted by ZenMasterThis at 1:00 PM on April 2, 2005


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And take the snark elsewhere, please.
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 1:00 PM on April 2, 2005


who's going to protect all the child rapists now?
posted by quarsan at 1:02 PM on April 2, 2005


my cup runneth over

My cup runneth over, too!

With delicious sparkling wine!
posted by stonerose at 1:04 PM on April 2, 2005


No longer to be found in a pizza.


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posted by Oriole Adams at 1:04 PM on April 2, 2005


Good riddance. May his black soul rot in the deepest pit of hell forever, haunted by the victims of his wretched organization.

On preview: what qaursan said.
posted by Deepspace at 1:04 PM on April 2, 2005


i don't get it, whats with the "."s?

The Wiki explains that.

oh and...

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posted by daninnj at 1:05 PM on April 2, 2005


Wow, I totally didn't see this coming.
posted by CunningLinguist at 1:05 PM on April 2, 2005


advance messages of tolerance, peace, and life by abandoning its draconian stances on sexuality and morality

Pope Condemns Gay Marriage in Canada
posted by ori at 1:06 PM on April 2, 2005


A lot of .s for a community of ardent atheists.

ba3r, if you're serious: a . is a moment of silence. It's like a little MeFi candlelight vigil. "Gol-LEE, lookit all them dots, just lightin' up the night. God has graced us with his glorious punctuation."

It strikes me more as an ironic symbol of the passage of time: a string of periods becomes an ellipsis, a sign that the strife our religious struggles cause will never end, that nothing will ever bring all of humanity to agreement in one true belief.
posted by NickDouglas at 1:06 PM on April 2, 2005


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posted by jmd82 at 1:08 PM on April 2, 2005


How many dead popes does it take to screw in a light bulb?

Popes don't screw in lightbulbs, they screw in the rectory!

Ok, I got nothin'
posted by elwoodwiles at 1:09 PM on April 2, 2005


I didn't agree with him or his church in many, many issues, but I can't help I wonder what people gain from making the offensive comments. And I can't help being sad for this good man's departure.

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posted by nkyad at 1:10 PM on April 2, 2005


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posted by alumshubby at 1:11 PM on April 2, 2005


Mixed feelings on his legacy... he made extremely discouraging remarks about homosexuals, and his stances on contraception and women were so antiquated and against reason. Nonetheless, he's done much to advance human rights, he used his clout to confront totalitarian regimes, and he means so much for so many. Agree with him or not... (on preview: what nkyad said)

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posted by moonbird at 1:14 PM on April 2, 2005


A lot of .s for a community of ardent atheists.

It's a big community, nick. You assume too much. And even athists may wish to treat someone's death with dignity. Give people a little credit.
posted by jonmc at 1:14 PM on April 2, 2005


a good man?

would a good man allow his employees to rape children with impunity?

would a good man let millions die from aids, whilst thwarting countless anti-aids programmes unless they stated abstinance was the only answer?

i think not. i thought he was an evil little man when he was alive and i still think so.

and i will never, never respect, revere or praise a man who ensured that child rapists went unpunished and had a policy not to involve the police, law or courts.
posted by quarsan at 1:15 PM on April 2, 2005


It's too bad that SirOmega didn't learn from learn from felix betachat's excellent newsfilter post on this matter. Yeah, we're going to mark the occasion and discuss it. How hard would it be to actually put something valuable in the post?

I think, on balance, this Pope did far more good than he did bad ("bad" being the conservative stuff he pushed that I disagree with). He was a good man who transformed the modern papacy. My sympathies and support to the mefi's Catholic readership.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 1:15 PM on April 2, 2005


I have Death Cult fatigue
posted by svenvog at 1:16 PM on April 2, 2005


Serious question for those talking about what a good, sincere, etc. man he was. Does this matter in a discussion about what he did for the world? I mean, it strikes me that his actions have effects, which we can judge as good or ill; does his sincerity or kindless mitigate the ill effects? Are you saying that the means justify the ends?
posted by aaronetc at 1:16 PM on April 2, 2005


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(Take it to Fark, rude people)
posted by VulcanMike at 1:16 PM on April 2, 2005


These days, there appears to be a bit of a competition round these parts to be the first 'in print' with the latest death. It's all a bit unseemly.
posted by apocalypse miaow at 1:16 PM on April 2, 2005


.-- .... .- - . ...- . .-. 
posted by stonerose at 1:16 PM on April 2, 2005


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Pope John Paul II has been there since I was born and he has become one of those stable representative of the institutions that I've gown up with. He saw the fall of Communism and the world in the new century. While I disagree with some of the ideas the Catholic church represent, Pope John Paul II was a great person. If anything this thread should be about discussing the future of the Roman Catholic Church, religious reforms, and reflecting on what Pope John Paul II has done. Please don't populate this thread with anything snarkish.

On another note - here's information on the college of cardinals and the Interregnum.
posted by phyrewerx at 1:17 PM on April 2, 2005


Jonmc: after seeing the treatment of Terry Schiavo, a woman none of us have reason to hate -- after seeing the shit flung around and the twisting of the story in all directions -- I'm unsettled by a throng of bowing posters, so eager to toss in support for a man who violated many of our deepest morals (violations quarsan has just listed). This love for religious leaders is one of the obstacles humanists face -- and this goes for atheistic philosophical leaders like Ayn Rand and Karl Marx as well.
posted by NickDouglas at 1:19 PM on April 2, 2005


nkyad: Some believe that many of the issues he stood for and promoted to millions of people worldwide weren't just matters of disagreement, but fundamentally wrong. In my personal opinion he was anti-gay, anti-women's rights, anti-personal liberty and pro-superstition (he brought back exorcisms). This, to a lot of people, was not a good man.
posted by Doug at 1:20 PM on April 2, 2005


It can't be easy to be a spiritual leader of such a large and well-entrenched organization, especially one so conscionable. I give the Pope my full respect for his accomplishments in rising above many of the human foibles that would have marked, and have marked, lesser leadership. In my Buddhist perspective, even if I disagree with many of his spiritual views, I can whole-heartedly honor his journey on the path to enlightenment.

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posted by dness2 at 1:21 PM on April 2, 2005


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His last word was "Rosebud", but he was probably talking about his first altar boy.

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/sniff/
posted by gesamtkunstwerk at 1:21 PM on April 2, 2005


NickDouglas writes "A lot of .s for a community of ardent atheists."

I'm an ardent atheist. But unlike some people of faith (as 2sheets has pointed out), I don't let my beliefs get in the way of recognizing a man who was, despite some flaws, great, and who provided so much inspiration to his co-religionists and indeed to all people of good will.
posted by orthogonality at 1:21 PM on April 2, 2005


stonerose: - .... .- - / .-- .- ... / .- .-- . ... --- --
posted by Kattullus at 1:22 PM on April 2, 2005


Total number of AIDS deaths between 1981 and the end of 2003: 20 million.

Number of children orphaned by AIDS living in Sub-Saharan Africa at the end of 2003: 12 million.

By December 2004 women accounted for 47% of all people living with HIV worldwide, and for 57% in sub-Saharan Africa.

In 2003, young people (15-24 years old) accounted for half of all new HIV infections worldwide, more than 6,000 became infected with HIV every day.


and:

Pope John PAUl says "no personal or social circumstance" could justify the use of contraceptives, including using condoms to protect against AIDS. In one of his toughest stands ever against artificial birth control, the Pope asserts that the Catholic church's ban must be respected becAUse it was divinely inspired.


And while I sand these very notes to him,
his big flat feet kicked fiercely out of anger,
--or perhaps it was his conscience gnawing him.
posted by ori at 1:25 PM on April 2, 2005


John Paul II was probably the last of the greats, the last man who could overcome our transient culture and be an actual, true-to-life-and-God hero.

Everyone has faults, and so did he. But may he rest in peace regardless (and that includes the avoidance of the inevitable Republican/Democrat carping over his legacy.)

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posted by thecaddy at 1:26 PM on April 2, 2005


I'm more like an agnostic than an atheist. Though he was flawed as all of us mere mortals are, JPII strived to do good works.
posted by fixedgear at 1:27 PM on April 2, 2005


. . .
posted by margarita at 1:27 PM on April 2, 2005


Doug, you stated my sentiments better than I could. The pope was "great" in that he was a major figure. I cannot even grasp the idea, though, that he had a positive impact on humanity's cultural evolution. Because his role entirely stemmed from his beliefs, and because those beliefs are clearly at odds with those of many of the above .ers, I can't shake the feeling that they're standing in line to kiss a coffin, falling for the spectacle, and thus sacrificing a bit of their rationality.

We've all gone crazy,
mourning all day and mourning all night,
falling over ourselves to get all
of the misery right.

posted by NickDouglas at 1:28 PM on April 2, 2005


Let's hope the next one isn't so homophobic, misogynistic, and sex-phobic.
posted by alms at 1:29 PM on April 2, 2005


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posted by Benway at 1:30 PM on April 2, 2005


Some believe that many of the issues he stood for and promoted to millions of people worldwide weren't just matters of disagreement, but fundamentally wrong. In my personal opinion he was anti-gay, anti-women's rights, anti-personal liberty and pro-superstition (he brought back exorcisms). This, to a lot of people, was not a good man.

I wouldn't say that, for those reasons, he was not a good man. I think he was deeply conservative and, unfortunately, in a postition where those beliefs had a huge impact. If you want to lay blame, then blame the cardinals who chose him.

The fact is that the world is full of equally and more conservative people. Calling them "evil" is not helpful.
posted by 327.ca at 1:30 PM on April 2, 2005


"...does his sincerity or kindless mitigate the ill effects?"

No, but are you a strict utilitarian? The alternative you're suggesting is that the ends justify the means.

This is an ancient debate. The biggest problem I have with completely disregarding the good-intent of someone in evaluating their character, and only evaluating the result of their words and actions, is that people who take this position rarely take this position with regard to themselves or people with whom they agree.

It is easy to be wrong. It is much easier to be wrong when you aren't really interested in being right. I vastly prefer a well-intentioned opponent than a badly-intentioned opponent. And because the struggle for truth, the struggle for correctly determining what is good and just is very, very hard, being someone who constantly tries to walk that path, even if they've gone astray, this effort is the larger part of virtue than merely being right.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 1:30 PM on April 2, 2005


Let's hope the next one isn't so homophobic, misogynistic, and sex-phobic.

Well, you can "hope" all you want, but I don't think there's much reason to expect that's going to happen.
posted by 327.ca at 1:31 PM on April 2, 2005



posted by item at 1:32 PM on April 2, 2005


Some of you may be interested in this.
Others may be more interested in making snide comments that have no place here.
posted by blendor at 1:32 PM on April 2, 2005


The obligatory Christopher Hitchens link.
posted by Armitage Shanks at 1:32 PM on April 2, 2005


This is what it sounds like when the pope dies.
posted by me3dia at 1:33 PM on April 2, 2005


Both the pope and George W. Bush were leaders with strong beliefs, who used those beliefs to guide their actions, and who met both worship and hatred. Both believe that they're doing God's work. Both have no regrets. Both have held the lives of millions in their hands. One is excoriated daily; the other is defended in this thread.

One's death does not excuse one's life.
posted by NickDouglas at 1:34 PM on April 2, 2005


Calling them "evil" is not helpful.

Saying someone was "not good" does not mean that they were evil.

And at some point don't we have to examine a person's impact?
posted by Doug at 1:36 PM on April 2, 2005


Personally, I have no love for the RC church and its ridiculous wealth and superstitions, and from a theological perspective, I think putting a person in such a role, and calling him "infallible" is pure idolatry. That said, I come to praise the man, not bury him.

I think a lot of the people calling the man evil, fail to understand or have any perspective on what being the leader of such a huge and conservative organization requires, and how carefully the person in the situation needs to be, lest the whole thing come tumbling down. Did he blow that child abuse scandal? Yes. Are his positions on homosexuality, contraception and AIDS unsupportable? In my view, again, yes. But if you look at his charge, in trying to move a dinosaur of an organism forward and keep it relevant, while trying to be an thoughtful and consistent guide, I do feel he did what he could.

If you had now a reformer pope that tried to turn the church on a dime and reverse millenia old positions on issues like contraception and homosexuality, you watch how quicky it disintegrates.

To put it in perspective, apologizing to victims of the Holocaust (as well as Galileo) was a huge step forward. That sounds like I'm kidding, but I'm really not. Some of these guys in the College of Cardinals undoubtedly would like to bring back castrati, and the struggle for him to get consensus for the church to assume blame for horrendous wrongs must have been terrible.

Did he go far enough? Not remotely, in my opinion. But I also believe quite sincerely that he did everything he thought he could based on the massive boulder he had to move uphill.
posted by psmealey at 1:37 PM on April 2, 2005


I cannot even grasp the idea, though, that he had a positive impact on humanity's cultural evolution. Because his role entirely stemmed from his beliefs, and because those beliefs are clearly at odds with those of many of the above .ers, I can't shake the feeling that they're standing in line to kiss a coffin, falling for the spectacle, and thus sacrificing a bit of their rationality.

Nick, I think jmd82 answered this best in the other thread. For Catholics, John Paul II's legacy is primarily as a moral philosopher who gave intellectual rigor to church doctrine. If the laity today disagree with Rome (and trust me, they do) on doctrinal issues, this pope has helped to give them a language with which to express that dissent.
posted by felix betachat at 1:37 PM on April 2, 2005


I can't shake the feeling that they're standing in line to kiss a coffin, falling for the spectacle

Well said, NickDouglas.
posted by ori at 1:38 PM on April 2, 2005


Y'know the English title of that Robbie Coltrane movie was "The Pope Must Die." It was a funny and rather sweet comedy that no one short of a paranoid and tyrannical patriarchy could find offensive.

Needless to say, the film's Canadian distributors bowed to pressure from just such a paranoid and tyrannical patriarchy and renamed the film, "The Pope Must Diet." Seriously.
posted by 327.ca at 1:38 PM on April 2, 2005


Doug writes "In my personal opinion he was anti-gay, anti-women's rights, anti-personal liberty and pro-superstition (he brought back exorcisms). "

Doug, I probably agree with all you list. And even though I am not Catholic, I believe I can, from the top of my head, make a list twice as big of the good things he did. But I won't because, as I said earlier, I do not think this is the time or the place. When you live in the largest Catholic country in the world and see the genuine suffering and grief the ordinary people fell about his passing, it is probably easier to show respect for the man despite any flaws you perceive in him or his Church.
posted by nkyad at 1:39 PM on April 2, 2005


These days, there appears to be a bit of a competition round these parts to be the first 'in print' with the latest death. It's all a bit unseemly.

And how!

Also, quick everyone, say something profound sounding in Latin!

And after that, ----> .
posted by thirteenkiller at 1:39 PM on April 2, 2005


EB: I'm suggesting that the means and the ends ought to both be justified independent of one another. I'd be curious just what ends the dotters would not be willing to accept based on the means of kindness and sincerity, and if they'd extend the same benefit of the doubt to conservative American politicians.
posted by aaronetc at 1:40 PM on April 2, 2005


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I prayed part of the Rosary for him last night, I'll probably pray it again tonight.
posted by spinifex23 at 1:42 PM on April 2, 2005


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Wikipedia on JPII.
posted by theknacker at 1:43 PM on April 2, 2005


I think that until they appoint a new pope you should be able to sin as much as you want and get a free pass, because hey, who's going to catch you?
posted by shinji_ikari at 1:44 PM on April 2, 2005


So much for the relevance of my favorite Stranger cover ever. Between the Pope's death and the Terrri incident, the news has been chock full of more religion based idiocy than I can handle (no disrespect for religion, just for the pap it can inspire). Whatever good the pope may have been responsible for is more than cancelled out by the evil that can happen because every TV station will be talking about his death instead of real news.
posted by spooman at 1:45 PM on April 2, 2005


I prayed part of the Rosary for him last night, I'll probably pray it again tonight.

Funny. I was thinking I'll go to mass tomorrow. I haven't been almost two years, but I feel like going. Not to take the sacraments, but just to feel some community. This is the only Pope I've ever known. I remember going into the gymnasium to pray the rosary when he was shot. I remember him going to the Kotel to pray. I can't forget how I felt when I heard he'd gone to a mosque in Damascus. I guess I want to remember his passing in a church.
posted by felix betachat at 1:47 PM on April 2, 2005


NickDouglas writes " Both the pope and George W. Bush were leaders with strong beliefs, who used those beliefs to guide their actions, and who met both worship and hatred."

Red herring. although the Pope is technically a temporal ruler (of the Vatican state), there's a big difference between a religious leader elected by a conclave of his fellows, and a temporal leader elected by manhood suffrage. And John Paul II didn't get the job by getting Karl Rove to spread lies about John McCain's "black baby".

As leader of the Catholic Church, John Paul's foremost duty was to adhere to and promulgate the doctrines of the Church. Perhaps Church doctrine is unfortunate in regard to homosexuals or contraception or transubstantiation or salvation by works vs. salvation by faith alone, but John Paul did his job and upheld the doctrine ofs his Church and his faith.

As leader of the United States, George W. Bush's foremost duty is to defend the Constitution. Other then the Second Amendment, Bush has pretty much eviscerated the Constitution, even going do far as to embrace his White House Counsel's (and later, Attorney General) opinion that the President can set aside laws and Acts of Congress at his whim.

Pope John Paul did his duty; George W. Bush has failed at his.
posted by orthogonality at 1:48 PM on April 2, 2005


For Catholics, John Paul II's legacy is primarily as a moral philosopher who gave intellectual rigor to church doctrine.

For Catholics. My issue is with those of us who steadfastly believe that this is the only life. My foremost frustration with Catholicism: To deny birth control to the third world nations that fall prey to religion, is to destroy the only real life in the name of a false life-after-death. It is to blind humanity to the world that exists in homage to a world that does not. A man who spreads and enforces the falsehood of Christianity, above all his other duties, is not a man a secular humanist can honor. He was powerful, he was grand, he was noble according to his beliefs, but he was harmful.
posted by NickDouglas at 1:49 PM on April 2, 2005


Needless to say, the film's Canadian distributors bowed to pressure from just such a paranoid and tyrannical patriarchy and renamed the film, "The Pope Must Diet."

Actually, I was wrong. It was the US release that was renamed.
posted by 327.ca at 1:50 PM on April 2, 2005


Did he blow that child abuse scandal? Yes.

Maybe an unfortunate choice of words.

And, I can't believe I'm doing this, but I think the following from, shudder, Christopher Hitchens needs to be read by all those professing the noble holiness of JPII:

[Cardinal Bernard Law of Boston] had knowingly reassigned dangerous and sadistic criminals to positions where they would be able to exploit the defenseless. He had withheld evidence and made himself an accomplice, before and after the fact, in the one offense that people of all faiths and of none have most united in condemning. (Since I have more than once criticized Maureen Dowd in this space, I should say now that I think she put it best of all. A church that has allowed no latitude in its teachings on masturbation, premarital sex, birth control, and divorce suddenly asks for understanding and "wiggle room" for the most revolting crime on the books.)

Anyway, Cardinal Law isn't going to face a court, now. He has fled the jurisdiction and lives in Rome, where a sinecure at the Vatican has been found for him. (Actually not that much of a sinecure: As archpriest of the Rome Basilica of St. Mary Major, he also sits on two boards supervising priestly discipline—yes!—and the appointment of diocesan bishops.) Even before this, he visited Rome on at least one occasion to discuss whether or not the church should obey American law. And it has been conclusively established that the Vatican itself—including his holiness—was a part of the coverup and obstruction of justice that allowed the child-rape scandal to continue for so long.

posted by docgonzo at 1:52 PM on April 2, 2005


You pope haters are as bad as you pope lovers. I’m pope apathetic. Or pope-athetic. Or apopeathetic.
posted by found missing at 1:52 PM on April 2, 2005


Funny. I was thinking I'll go to mass tomorrow. I haven't been almost two years, but I feel like going. Not to take the sacraments, but just to feel some community.

I've been feeling the same thing on occasion lately, even though I stopped going to Mass around age 16, and even then I'd meet up with a classmate in a similar situation and we'd sneak out and get high. There's a Catholic Church two blocks from me, and regardless of my differences with the church on a number of things, it still feels like home in some strange way. A function of heritage probably.

I remember when I lived in Florida and I went to a party of mrs. jonmc's grad school friends. Me and one of her freinds husbands got into a discussion of sacraments and our confirmation names (mine's Xavier if you must know, I wanted an "X") . Another girl, an Indian daughter of a Tuscon oncologist raised Hindu, commented on how exotic she found the whole conversation. I fely an odd sense of pride and connection, strangely enough.

I’m pope apathetic. Or pope-athetic. Or apopeathetic.


*laughs*

*says several Hail marys*
posted by jonmc at 1:54 PM on April 2, 2005


Orthogonality: I concede your point. I'll marginally argue that Bush believes he is defending the Constitution by following his perceived wishes of the founding fathers. But I was sloppy in equating him that closely to JP2. A better argument is that in fulfilling his role, JP2 has caused harm to the world. I'd like a list of reasons atheists could appreciate the pope, so that we can argue these points with less vague rhetoric. The anti-pope view has birth control, AIDS, and child molestation as its main points.
posted by NickDouglas at 1:55 PM on April 2, 2005




I'm a confirmed Catholic, but would identify myself as an agnostic, still the pope's death is sad especially considering that for all the complaints about the pope's stand on contraception, it's entirely possible that we'll end up with a more regressive pope to replace him.
posted by drezdn at 1:56 PM on April 2, 2005


I agree: It's an awesome hat.

Tettamanzi is paying $3.50 as of right now with Arinze at $3.85. I still can't see anyone betting on the name but I'd say Paul VII is a good bet, with a Benedict XVI a decent chance as well.
posted by snarfodox at 2:01 PM on April 2, 2005


To deny birth control to the third world nations that fall prey to religion, is to destroy the only real life in the name of a false life-after-death. It is to blind humanity to the world that exists in homage to a world that does not.

Nick. I agree with you. My thoughts on the subject are here. The point is that this Pope took a set of prejudices and superstitions and gave them a rigorous theological and philosophical basis. The church doesn't reject birth control simply as a negative, apodictic stance ("Thou shalt not roll one on"), but as an element of a positive assertion of the value of life. And this doctrine also encompasses a rejection of unjust war, of the death penalty, of euthanasia, etc.

We may both disagree with the specific doctrine, but we're obligated, to the degree to which we share humanistic values, to articulate a better, more cohesive vision. By what precise criterion will you challenge church doctrine on contraception? How will you reconcile that criterion with the rest of your ethical system? Posing these sorts of questions and debating over them are also the legacy of this pope.
posted by felix betachat at 2:01 PM on April 2, 2005


I'm not religious but this saddens me.
RIP John Paul II.
posted by ramix at 2:02 PM on April 2, 2005


Bush may sincerely believe what he believes. I'm not sure, but let's give him the benefit of the doubt. I don't think, however, he's made any real effort to discover what's right and just. I think JPII did, a great deal. That's why I'll excorciate Bush and (mildly) praise JPII.

"I'd be curious just what ends the dotters would not be willing to accept based on the means of kindness and sincerity, and if they'd extend the same benefit of the doubt to conservative American politicians."

I do. There's quite a few conservative leaders whose views I strongly disagree with that I believe are sincer and kind and work very hard at discovering the truth and being good and just. My sister is one.

But this argument makes me very, very tired. It is a base human instinct to assume the worst about those with whom one disagrees. It is a base human instinct to judge oneself by one's motives and others only by their actions. It is a base human instinct to be self-righteous but to decry anyone else's self-righteousness as wickedness.

Everyone who believes differently than you do is not a bad person. Some people who believe exactly as you do are bad people. And you may be a bad person, and your enemy good.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 2:04 PM on April 2, 2005


Catholicism has strongly dwindling congregations worldwide. Although it may be difficult to see by looking at the USA, the world is becoming increasingly secular. This will be the greatest issue for John Paul's successor, rather than issues such as the AIDS epidemic that actually matter.
posted by Pretty_Generic at 2:05 PM on April 2, 2005


Everyone who believes differently than you do is not a bad person. Some people who believe exactly as you do are bad people. And you may be a bad person, and your enemy good.

EB, observations like that, are the reason that, despite it all, I'm glad you're here.
posted by jonmc at 2:06 PM on April 2, 2005


The point is that this Pope took a set of prejudices and superstitions and gave them a rigorous theological and philosophical basis.

That is the worst thing he could possibly do. (Again, this does not make him evil. It is just a terrible, terrible thing to happen.)
posted by NickDouglas at 2:06 PM on April 2, 2005


Non est ad astra mollis e terris via.

There is no easy way from the earth to the stars.

(taken from unofficial pope blog)
posted by pyramid termite at 2:07 PM on April 2, 2005


.
posted by djeo at 2:08 PM on April 2, 2005


EB, observations like that, are the reason that, despite it all, I'm glad you're here.

Hear, hear.
posted by felix betachat at 2:09 PM on April 2, 2005


snarfodox: where's this betting pool you alude to?
posted by moonbird at 2:10 PM on April 2, 2005


That is the worst thing he could possibly do.

Why?
posted by felix betachat at 2:10 PM on April 2, 2005


snarfodox: Where you gettin' those odds?

Oh, and on preview: Catholicism has strongly dwindling congregations worldwide. Although it may be difficult to see by looking at the USA, the world is becoming increasingly secular.

Unfortunately, wrong on both counts: The proportion of the world that is Catholic increased slightly under JPII's watch; the absolute number of Catholics increased 40%. There are now three times as many Catholics in the Philippines as there are in Italy. Every major world religion is seeing similar gains; it is only in North America and Western Europe (and only among the mainstream churches; new faiths continue to grow) that churchgoing is decreasing.
posted by docgonzo at 2:10 PM on April 2, 2005


from, shudder, Christopher Hitchens

I can't read Hitchens on Catholicism without being reminded of that scene with Wallace Shawn in Princess Bride:
MIB: You're really that moral?
Hitch: Let me put it this way. You've heard of John Paul II? Mother Theresa?
MIB: Yes.
Hitch: Evil! Both of them!
posted by boaz at 2:11 PM on April 2, 2005


NickDouglas:

There have been plenty of reasons to uphold the Pontiff's legacy scattered throughout the thread: He was an active player against totalitarian regimes as well as unfettered capitalism. He opposed the Iraq war and the death penalty. He apologized for huge mistakes that the Church has made in the past.

And most of all, he was probably the last of the Giants: the last man who, flaws and all, stood out as being a greater man than the rest of us. Not great in terms of being better, necessarily, but who of the old heroes was without their flaws? Lincoln? Either Roosevelt? Gandhi?
posted by thecaddy at 2:12 PM on April 2, 2005


jonmc: I'm Ludmilla!

I want to go to church too. I started going again a week ago, for the Triduum. I never thought I would be interested in Catholicism again, and I have very little real faith, but it feels like home.
posted by thirteenkiller at 2:13 PM on April 2, 2005


I understand the anger of a lot of the pope-bashers and even share it on some levels. I'm a very lapsed Catholic (how lapsed? I'm living out of wedlock with a divorced Jew, one of my closest freinds is a gay man [a lapsed catholic himself], my last girlfriend was a lesbian, and I've got a rubber in my wallet), but still despite it all, Catholicism is a part of my heritage. It's a part of who I am, and I imagine a lot of MeFi Catholics have similar feelings.

So just remember that.
posted by jonmc at 2:13 PM on April 2, 2005


My foremost frustration with Catholicism: To deny birth control to the third world nations that fall prey to religion, is to destroy the only real life in the name of a false life-after-death.
But can you or any other non-Catholic expect any less? As orthogonality referred to, JPII's actions were a result of his being a leader. What you see as falling prey is seen as a triumph by the Vatican. What you see as destroying life is seen as ensuring life after death by the CC, which is the primary goal among virtually every CC leader. It really makes no logical sense for the CC to go the other way around. Also, take contraceptives for a moment. The Church teaches they are wrong, and believe it or not, one the CC's primary teachings ever since St. Augustine and St. Thomas Aquintais is the ends do not justify the means, which JPII has picked up again. In this case, the ends cannot be justified by permitting a sin to occur. In a nutshell, this idea is where many of the CC's morality teachings come from.

Although it may be difficult to see by looking at the USA, the world is becoming increasingly secular.
Mmmmm, not exactly...Definitely not so in Africa. Agree or disagree what is happening there, the fact remains the population is growing by leaps and bounds as is the Catholic population in Africa.
posted by jmd82 at 2:14 PM on April 2, 2005


On the brighter side, people can start publishing all those obits that they wrote years ago.
posted by gimonca at 2:15 PM on April 2, 2005


I never thought I would be interested in Catholicism again, and I have very little real faith, but it feels like home.
Sometimes the hardest/best thing is to actually pray to have faith in the first place and see where one goes from there, but that's just me.
posted by jmd82 at 2:17 PM on April 2, 2005


He was an active player against totalitarian regimes

Unless, of course, they killed "marxists". Then he flew down to shake their hands.

I, for one, shed no tears. The most reactionary pope in living memory is dead. Good riddance.
posted by signal at 2:17 PM on April 2, 2005


jmd82 writes "Also, take contraceptives for a moment."

No, dude, if you're going to take them, you have to take them on a regular basis. There's a technical medical term for people who only take contraceptives for a moment: "mother".
posted by orthogonality at 2:18 PM on April 2, 2005


Presently there is every reason to think that the next Pope will be just as, or even more conservative.
posted by nthdegx at 2:20 PM on April 2, 2005


Lincoln, Roosevelt, and Gandhi were far less flawed in their impact on the world than was JP2.

As for Giants: I see plenty of giants. Viktor Yushchenko, Lawrence Lessig (on a smaller scale), Isaac Asimov, each leader in China fighting for reform -- these are great people, fighting for freedom in their special ways.
posted by NickDouglas at 2:23 PM on April 2, 2005


Seemed like a nice enough guy.
posted by HTuttle at 2:23 PM on April 2, 2005


.
posted by krazykity16 at 2:27 PM on April 2, 2005


There's a technical medical term for people who only take contraceptives for a moment: "mother".
Well, I suppose a "father" could take them...it would just be...weird? Hmmm, this requires further investigation.
posted by jmd82 at 2:27 PM on April 2, 2005


All hail the new LadyPope 2005!
posted by DenOfSizer at 2:28 PM on April 2, 2005


"Viktor Yushchenko, Lawrence Lessig (on a smaller scale), Isaac Asimov"

Wow. That list of "moral giants" makes me very sad.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 2:30 PM on April 2, 2005


moonbird: snarfodox: where's this betting pool you alude to?
docgonzo: Where you gettin' those odds?


I'm in Australia so I'm looking at Sportingbet Australia (under 'other events » the papacy » the next pope'). I still can't find anyone betting on the next papal name though.
posted by snarfodox at 2:30 PM on April 2, 2005


One thing that has always puzzled me (not to derail further, of course): How can we blame the Church for people following one teaching (no condoms!) but ignoring another (no premarital sex!). To do one without the other doesn't seem to be Catholic, and to think that one is being a good Catholic by just not using condoms (while spreading AIDS, or whatever) seems a weird sort of psychosis. To me, that's a personal problem, not one you can blame on the Church.

Oh, and: .
posted by rustcellar at 2:31 PM on April 2, 2005


And most of all, he was probably the last of the Giants: the last man who, flaws and all, stood out as being a greater man than the rest of us.

Man do I get tired of the nostalgic belief in the inherent superiority of people who were dead before most of us were born.

If Lincoln, Roosevelt, and Gandhi were alive today they'd be treated like Bush, Clinton, and Falwell.
posted by rcade at 2:32 PM on April 2, 2005


.





I just hope Sinead's happy now.
posted by Busithoth at 2:34 PM on April 2, 2005


Howard Stern for Pope!
posted by hojoki at 2:37 PM on April 2, 2005


Eventually, Sinead O'Connor made her peace with the Pope. On 22 September 1997, in an interview with the Italian weekly newspaper Vita, she asked the Holy Father to forgive her. She claimed that her attack on the photo had been "a ridiculous act, the gesture of a girl rebel," which she did "because I was in rebellion against the faith, but I was still within the faith." Quoting St. Augustine, she went on to add, "Anger is the first step towards courage." Another courageous step Sinead took in the late 1990s was to join the congregation of the controversial Irish Bishop Michael Cox, who eventually ordained Sinead as a priest. Lacking a sense of humor, the Vatican has refused to recognize Sinead's membership in the priesthood, which the Pope considers "bizarre." This is a case of the pot calling the kettle black, but the Pope is right: Sinead's story is a bizarre one.

Or to put it another way, Busithoth -- relevant? Not really.
posted by nthdegx at 2:42 PM on April 2, 2005


Sinead sounds like a perfect example of the conflicted Catholics I described (and included myslef in) above.
posted by jonmc at 2:43 PM on April 2, 2005


docgonzo: I did say "congregations". From what I understand, even if a greater proportion of people profess to be Catholic, the proportion of people who regularly visit church is far smaller than it was.
posted by Pretty_Generic at 2:47 PM on April 2, 2005


Here's hoping he's reincarnated as an African woman with seven hungry kids who has to sell her body to buy those children food, and who can't get condoms because the Catholic Church says they're bad, and so contracts HIV.

Though that seems overly cruel, I suppose.

I'm sorry for anybody's death, but I shed no false tears for the Pope. The Catholic Church is a rotten institution; and the hell with it.

Good music, though. I have to give it that.
posted by jokeefe at 2:53 PM on April 2, 2005


trying to move a dinosaur of an organism forward and keep it relevant.

The quesiton of course is: should this be attempted in the first place?
posted by c13 at 2:53 PM on April 2, 2005


I can't help I wonder what people gain from making the offensive comments.

I can't help but wonder what's really harmed by it.

If (as I believe) there is no God and no afterlife, then it don't hurt him none. If (as he believed) there is a Christian God and a Christian afterlife, then he's off somewhere that it won't hurt him. No skin of his nose, either way.

FWIW, as a Methodist-raised-atheist, I still feel a sense of awe concerning the office, but I wonder often how much of that is due to the man who's held it for more than half my life. I was 14 when he assumed the post. I think he was an honorable man; but the world has seen a lot of damage done to it by honorable men. We should judge him on his deeds, not his character alone.

All that having been said, sometimes it's better to have an honorable opponent than a dishonorable friend...
posted by lodurr at 2:54 PM on April 2, 2005


As for betting, Francis Arinze, Pope Leo XIV.
posted by moonbird at 2:55 PM on April 2, 2005


I'm deeply disturbed by the very concept of a Pope - he's not only the chief minister in the church, he's literally an infallible mortal representative of God Himself. Does anyone else associate this with the word "pharaoh?"

How are we any less nutso-theocratic / fundamentalist than the crazy boogeyman Muslims we love to look down on? Someone explain it to me.
posted by scarabic at 2:57 PM on April 2, 2005


Are "we" Catholic, Scarabic? And how many Catholics really believe that stuff?

For that matter, how many boogeyman Muslims really believe it. All religions are larded up with stuff that everybody says but very few really believe. Eventually a lot of it withers away (albeit to be replaced by new stuff) or gets passed over as a rush of poorly articulated vulgate. The Catholicism of today bears some resemblance to that of 300 years ago, I'm sure, but hardly what 99% of modern Catholics suppose.
posted by lodurr at 3:05 PM on April 2, 2005


How are we any less nutso-theocratic / fundamentalist than the crazy boogeyman Muslims we love to look down on?
Who told you this was supposed to make sense?

Lodurr, if very few really believe it, we wouldn't have all that bullshit about homosexuals and contraceptives, now would we?
posted by c13 at 3:10 PM on April 2, 2005


All religions are larded up with stuff that everybody says but very few really believe.

See, it's exactly this sort of easily-swallowed hypocrisy by the "faithful" that makes people like myself so disdainful of religion.

If you don't even really believe it yourself, what the hell are you doing in the church, anyway? Fooling the neighbors?
posted by beth at 3:13 PM on April 2, 2005


honestly, i agreed with almost everything he said that wasn't about sex or theology. That's probably because I'm neither a Catholic nor an 84 year old virgin.

He always seemed a rational voice coming out of a conservative place, condeming war and torture and executions.
posted by trinarian at 3:15 PM on April 2, 2005


If you don't even really believe it yourself, what the hell are you doing in the church, anyway? Fooling the neighbors?

Did everything I said about heritage and identity fly right over your head?
posted by jonmc at 3:16 PM on April 2, 2005


I don't bet, or for that matter, live in a country were betting is legal. But if I did live in a country were betting is legal I'd run down to the next betting shop/parlour/kiosk/monastery and put down a few monetary units.

I'd bet on Cardinal Hoyos of Colombia. No reason, really, just gut instinct.

Oh, one thing, when referring to cardinals you should always put Cardinal ahead of their last name. So, for instance, Joseph Ratzinger would be Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger. I think that technically, when ordained the word Cardinal becomes a part of their names.
posted by Kattullus at 3:18 PM on April 2, 2005


c13: Ah, but you're assuming the one causes the other. Personally, I think the church stuff is just a beard for homophobia and lingering nightmares of being killed in the womb.

beth: Fooling the neighbors? Maybe. I think it's a little more basic than that. They don't examine it; they just repeat it. I'll rephrase my opinion a little, though it might not make you like it more: If you break down Church dogma into a well-constructed opinion poll, I don't think most people would agree with most of it.

I think there's a truth hidden in there that has to do with the "purpose" of religion: It can serve as a means of social control. Social control isn't always a bad thing. Nor is it always a good thing. It is what it is. Most of human history is un-intentional, in the sense that people haven't until quite recently (say, 300 years ago) done much in the way of making conscious decisions about how they wanted human society to work. Religion in un-intentional, too, in the sense that it evolves, rather than being designed. So an answer like "fooling the neighbors" may be more or less factually true, but insufficient.
posted by lodurr at 3:19 PM on April 2, 2005


beth writes "If you don't even really believe it yourself, what the hell are you doing in the church, anyway? Fooling the neighbors?"

Probably. Religious faith is believed to many to be equated with morality. When I mentioned offhandedly to a classmate, in seventh grade, that I was an atheist, and she mentioned it to the teacher, the teacher breated me in front of the entire class, "If you're an atheist, how can you be moral?"

If by going to church, you can get your neighbors to assume you're moral, you gain their trust and have an easier time bargaining with them -- or cheating them, if you prefer to do that.

In general, by following the customs of your neighbors, you get them to identify with you and to trust you for being "like" them -- especially useful given the extreme xenophobia, the distrust and fear and hate of the other that seems an inbuilt part of being human.

Religion seems to have utility wholly unrelated to any insight it gives into understanding the material world; indeed, while it mostly talks about other, unseen worlds, it serves to unite people in this one and to give them (an unrealistic) assurance that justice will be served, allowing societies to function more effectively.
posted by orthogonality at 3:24 PM on April 2, 2005


They say there's a heaven for those who will wait.
Some say it's better, but I say it ain't.
I'd rather laugh with the sinners than cry with the saints.
The sinners have much more fun.

Only the good die young.
posted by Soulfather at 3:25 PM on April 2, 2005


Am I wrong to assume that Pope's decrees sway opinions of Catholics?
I do agree with your point about the "purpose" of religion though.
posted by c13 at 3:25 PM on April 2, 2005


Did everything I said about heritage and identity fly right over your head?

Clearly heritage and identity mean so much to some people that they would patronize an organization that stands for things they oppose.

I think this is just plain stupid and is what keeps the dogma of these groups so far behind the times. People just blithely go along because they want the support and community of the church, rather than agitating for change from within or going down to the street to a church that actually has beliefs in line with theirs.

To me, it comes down to personal integrity, really.
posted by beth at 3:29 PM on April 2, 2005


.
posted by feelinglistless at 3:29 PM on April 2, 2005



Have no fear of moving into the unknown. Simply step out fearlessly knowing that I am with you, therefore no harm can befall you; all is very, very well. Do this in complete faith and confidence.
Pope John Paul II



.
posted by sdrawkcab at 3:29 PM on April 2, 2005


Clearly heritage and identity mean so much to some people that they would patronize an organization that stands for things they oppose.

You've never supported an organization where you agreed with them on some issues but not on others?

To me, it comes down to personal integrity, really.

They're saving a place in heaven for you. Amazing how similar the self-rigteous are, religious or irreligious.
posted by jonmc at 3:34 PM on April 2, 2005


To me, it comes down to personal integrity, really.

Beth, I left the church several years ago. I've made major life decisions that have cut very strong ties I have with the institution. My objections to the church are ethical, philosophical and very deeply held. I've spent literally years working my decisions out.

But today? Today I feel like going to mass. I'd love to hear you tell me how this feeling is a lapse in personal integrity. Honestly.
posted by felix betachat at 3:34 PM on April 2, 2005


"Personally, I have no love for the RC church and its ridiculous wealth and superstitions, and from a theological perspective, I think putting a person in such a role, and calling him "infallible" is pure idolatry."

"I'm deeply disturbed by the very concept of a Pope - he's not only the chief minister in the church, he's literally an infallible mortal representative of God Himself. Does anyone else associate this with the word "pharaoh?"

Those of you blabbering on about infallibility are showing your asses. Go do a little leg work and find out under what circumstances a pontiff can make an infallible declaration and when the last time this was done.

oh, and .
posted by jperkins at 3:35 PM on April 2, 2005


I'm an agnostic at a Jesuit university. A culture is in mourning, and though I've disagreed with some of their ideas, I believe in respect for such vast mourning.



.
posted by honeydew at 3:40 PM on April 2, 2005


Here is what I am struggling with: if it's all phoney baloney, why would so many people dedicate their lives to it, why would it last so long and what is the better alternative? If there were one, wouldn't it have emerged by now?
posted by terrier319 at 3:44 PM on April 2, 2005


to answer that question, terrier319, one need merely look at Star Trek and it's many insane fans.
posted by jaded at 3:47 PM on April 2, 2005


A Primer on Infallibility
posted by exlotuseater at 3:48 PM on April 2, 2005


You've never supported an organization where you agreed with them on some issues but not on others?

Not any sort of organization that presumed to tell people how to live their lives, or protected pedophiles in a systemic way, or lied to them about the effectiveness of condoms, etc.

My objections to the church are ethical, philosophical and very deeply held. I've spent literally years working my decisions out.

But today? Today I feel like going to mass. I'd love to hear you tell me how this feeling is a lapse in personal integrity. Honestly.


I think feeling like you want something from the church that used to make you feel good is a perfectly normal thing to feel.

I wasn't talking about feelings, though. I was talking about lending support (specifically through attendance) to an organization that stands for things which you oppose. If a person does this, in my opinion they should be agitating for change from within.
posted by beth at 3:51 PM on April 2, 2005


I'd bet on Cardinal Hoyos of Colombia. No reason, really, just gut instinct.

Then I run into this at the CBC:

Dario Cardinal Castrillon Hoyos of Colombia is 74 years old. He is a member of the Curia – the Catholic Church's Cabinet – and a trusted adviser of the current pope. He is also a champion of social justice. Once, disguised as a milkman, he confronted Medellin drug trafficker Pablo Escobar on his doorstep and demanded he repent for his sins.

Me: not even close to being a Catholic, never will be for a whole boatload of reasons. But I gotta admit....that's guts. Wow.
posted by gimonca at 3:54 PM on April 2, 2005


Oh my god! Did you see the Washington Post obituary for the Pope?????

Woodward and Bernstein have revealed John Paul II was Watergate's Deepthroat!
posted by orthogonality at 3:57 PM on April 2, 2005


beth - To me, it comes down to personal integrity, really.

i do agree with this, but i think you underestimate the influence and emotional resonance a religious heritage can have on someone ... as a long lasped catholic myself, today has been a poignant day for me

for what it's worth, the church has changed considerably ... at my father's funeral a few years ago, the parish priest made a point of inviting any protestant attendees to participate in communion ... that would have been unthinkable 40 years ago

i stayed in my pew, though ... to me, it would have been an admission of the church's various claims and i just couldn't do it
posted by pyramid termite at 3:58 PM on April 2, 2005


Go do a little leg work and find out under what circumstances a pontiff can make an infallible declaration and when the last time this was done.

Do a little more legwork and find out why papal infallibility is now official dogma. (Hint: because Pius IX said so in 1870. How do know his declaration was correct? Because he was infallible. How do we know he was infallible? Because he said so. Rinse and repeat.)
posted by Armitage Shanks at 4:00 PM on April 2, 2005


If any of you admire the pope as a man, I am sorry for your loss.

But if you admire him because you want to be part of some global mourning, or because it makes you sentimental for your childhood, I piss on your loss. I know many people who miss the konsomol. But I don't like them.

Mourning for the sake of mourning, and mourning for the sense of identity is the most shallow kind of narcissism.

Now go pre-order your commemorative plate of JP in the garden with JFK and Diana.
posted by gesamtkunstwerk at 4:13 PM on April 2, 2005


If you don't even really believe it yourself, what the hell are you doing in the church, anyway? Fooling the neighbors?

I don't think my neighbors know, and my friends are mostly all as uninterested in practicing religion as you seem to be. But I'm going back. There's a couple reasons.

1. I like church. After reading this book last fall, I came to the realization that religion is more than an anthropomorphized god enforcing legal code. It's also meant to be an inexplicably intense and mystical experience. I like that. It moves me.

2. As a socially liberal young female Catholic I feel my kind is underrepresented among churchgoers. How can I question aspects of teaching if I'm not participating at all?
posted by thirteenkiller at 4:17 PM on April 2, 2005


If the Pope is really the Antichrist, how can he die?
posted by meehawl at 4:20 PM on April 2, 2005


if it's all phoney baloney, why would so many people dedicate their lives to it, why would it last so long and what is the better alternative? If there were one, wouldn't it have emerged by now?

It did, it's called the Illumination, Secular Democracies, Modern Science, Reason, etc.
And the "if 1 billion flies.." argument doesn't really have a ver strong philosophical following.
posted by signal at 4:22 PM on April 2, 2005


Beth, I suggest it's time for you to leave the US. There's no other way, really, for you to avoid supporting (with your tax dollars, your implicit consent) the many things that the US is doing and has done that conflict with your beliefs as you've frequently stated them. If you need help packing, I know some people in Austin who might help.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 4:25 PM on April 2, 2005


johnmc: ...our confirmation names (mine's xavier if you must know, i wanted an x)

Same here!
posted by StickyCarpet at 4:25 PM on April 2, 2005


.

I'm crushed. Knew it was coming, didn't think I would be, not even Catholic anymore. Crushed still.
posted by billpena at 4:28 PM on April 2, 2005


"Do a little more legwork and find out why papal infallibility is now official dogma."

Armitage Shanks, what jperkins was trying to get across to you is that just because you've read the phrase "papal infallibility", it doesn't mean what you think it means. Even if you know when this was last clarified. And, in fact, it doesn't mean at all what you think it means and the only thing that a Pope has declared that has the status of "infallibility" is that Mary remained a virgin til her death. Nothing else. Ever.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 4:29 PM on April 2, 2005


thirteenkiller, I would respectfully suggest that there comes a period (millenia? centuries? decades?) of stasis and ossification in one's church after which it is not just legitimate but vital to promote progressive social change by exiting, finding a more hospitable community, and screaming to the treetops about the injustice of the old regime.

Folks, you can't sustain the fiction that religion and politics are separate. As a citizen, as a human, you can't afford to be sentimental about your religious affiliation. If it isn't doing what you think is right, and if you can't realistically expect to change its course, you need to question your strategy.

The Catholic church doesn't exist in a social vacuum: you can effect change from without, and through the very act of exit.
posted by stonerose at 4:30 PM on April 2, 2005


OK. I'm not a fan of the church or the pope. As illustrated above the positions of the pope and church have led to a lot of pain on this planet.

But on the occasion of his death, I will tell my pro-pope story:

I was living in Tempe AZ back in the 80s when it was announced that the pope would be coming to the US and one of the stops would be at ASU's Sun Devil stadium.

This news lead the city of Tempe to bust its ass and get Mill Avenue's construction finished early. To that I must give thanks to the pontiff. At the pace of the construction project I think they would still be working on that damn road today if the pope hadn't intervened. So thank you pope.

I also found it somewhat cool that at the time there was hubbub at the time whether or not the university should cover the Sun Devil part of the stadium's name out of respect for the pope. But the pope's people were cool* with the name of the stadium. It isn't like Sparky the Sun Devil is mentioned in the bible.

Then again, I was way more excited when they announced that fall that U2 would be in town to film part of Rattle and Hum. Perhaps if it the pope didn't come along, Bono would have intervened and fixed the road a few months later.

*may be paraphrasing that part.
posted by birdherder at 4:35 PM on April 2, 2005


It's very easy to Google from "papal infallibility" to ex cathedra and from there the going is easy. Having done that, I see that it is the Assumption of Mary that was proclaimed (not her continued virginity as I thought, confusing it with another important Catholic doctrine); and that Catholic scholars and theologians disagree on which assertions have been ex cathedra. But it is not everything and anything the Pope says and certainly not what the pope does.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 4:38 PM on April 2, 2005


Good riddance to the leader of one of the most primitive, retrograde, anti-human organisations still extant. And to hell with knee-jerk bullshit sentimentality. And to hell with the predictable responses this will generate. When I see bad, I call bad. Excuse the hell out of me.
posted by Decani at 4:38 PM on April 2, 2005


Harsh.
posted by thirteenkiller at 4:47 PM on April 2, 2005


moonbird: As for betting, Francis Arinze, Pope Leo XIV.

The interesting thing now is that the last pope changed the rules for selecting his successor. I won't be surprised if we see a simple majority pope being elected after thirty failed attempts.

As I understand it there are three votes per day with a day of contemplation and prayer every third day. I'm fairly sure that the election begins in fifteen days time (if they're using the Pius XI rules, ten days otherwise) with an optional three day extension if they're short on cardinals.

If I'm right it will take fifteen days to complete thirty votes that fail to achieve a two thirds majority, then they'll have to take another day of contemplation before the thirty-first vote on day seventeen which will be a simple majority vote. Can anyone comment as to whether I've got that right?

My guess prophecy is Tettamanzi as Paul VII by a less-than ? majority.
posted by snarfodox at 4:48 PM on April 2, 2005


if it's all phoney baloney, why would so many people dedicate their lives to it, why would it last so long and what is the better alternative? If there were one, wouldn't it have emerged by now?

It did, it's called the Illumination, Secular Democracies, Modern Science, Reason, etc.
And the "if 1 billion flies.." argument doesn't really have a ver strong philosophical following.
posted by signal at 4:22 PM PST on April 2 [!]

Signal .... can you splain further. Not getting your drift.
posted by terrier319 at 4:48 PM on April 2, 2005


And, in fact, it doesn't mean at all what you think it means and the only thing that a Pope has declared that has the status of "infallibility" is that Mary remained a virgin til her death. Nothing else. Ever.

On what authority do you claim that? Lots of Catholics would disagree with you.

No Catholic should doubt that recent papal encyclicals like Veritatis splendor and Evangelium vitae speak infallibly about such issues as birth control, abortion, euthanasia, and the inadmissibility of the theological fad known as consequentialism.
posted by Armitage Shanks at 4:49 PM on April 2, 2005


And to hell with knee-jerk bullshit sentimentality.

I've said it before IRL, and I'll say it here, Those immune to sentimentality might as well be dead.

And to those getting joy out of kicking a group of people while they're down: go home and tell your daddy what a big man you are.
posted by jonmc at 4:55 PM on April 2, 2005


jonmc writes " And to those getting joy out of kicking a group of people while they're down: go home and tell your daddy what a big man you are."

I'm a homeless orphan, you insensitive clod!
posted by orthogonality at 5:01 PM on April 2, 2005


EB, I respectfully think that you are wrong. Any time the Pope speaks Ex Cathedra on issues of Christian doctrine, dogma, or teaching he is considered to be infallible:

Catholic Encyclopedia on Infallibility

This would seem to include such recent things as birth control and female priests.
posted by mokujin at 5:03 PM on April 2, 2005


Old man dies. More news at 11.
posted by MrMustard at 5:09 PM on April 2, 2005


As I understand it there are three votes per day with a day of contemplation and prayer every third day. I'm fairly sure that the election begins in fifteen days time (if they're using the Pius XI rules, ten days otherwise) with an optional three day extension if they're short on cardinals.

If I'm right it will take fifteen days to complete thirty votes that fail to achieve a two thirds majority, then they'll have to take another day of contemplation before the thirty-first vote on day seventeen which will be a simple majority vote. Can anyone comment as to whether I've got that right?


That scenario doesn't make sense, though. Don't you think that once someone has a simple majority everyone else will just fall in line? It looks bad if they take too long to make a decision, and I don't think they all hate each other enough to just hold out for the sake of being vindictive. I figure it will take four or five votes, tops.

But I reckon we'll know in a few weeks.
posted by anapestic at 5:15 PM on April 2, 2005


Here is what I am struggling with: if it's all phoney baloney, why would so many people dedicate their lives to it, why would it last so long and what is the better alternative? If there were one, wouldn't it have emerged by now?

Hmm.... Are you speaking of religion in general, of Christianity, or of Catholicism.

If you're speaking of religion in general, then you have an argument. Not a terribly strong one, IMO, but an argument that's been made by many "spiritual humanists" (for lack of a better term): Religion serves a purpose, ergo it's not "phoney baloney." (Though I've never been impressed by that argument, myself. Even before I decided I was an atheist, at the age of about 11, I used to tell people I wouldn't trust someone who needed God to make him behave morally.)

If you're speaking of either Christianity or Catholicism, you'd better be prepared to do some fancy rationlistic tap-dancing. See, you can then turn the question around to apply to any major religion followed throughout human history. In the end, you've got nothing favoring Christianity but volume; and hey, the Muslims sure give Christians a run for their money in that one.

They only sustainably workable defense of faith is faith itself. I advise you not to defend it rationally; that way lies either disillusionment or self-deception.
posted by lodurr at 5:16 PM on April 2, 2005


Those immune to sentimentality might as well be dead.

Guess what, sugar: it's possible to experience sentimentality and to give it an appropriate place in your mental landscape, without allowing it to supplant rationality. That's what separates us from children: we feel warm and fuzzy when we think of our parents telling us about the tooth fairy, but we know that allegiance to such beliefs is a piss-poor guide to creating a healthy adult society.
posted by stonerose at 5:19 PM on April 2, 2005


... oh, and stonerose: What are you doing talking sense about this stuff? Religion and politics mixed?! Improving the world through social action!? You must be some kind of bolshevik or something...
posted by lodurr at 5:20 PM on April 2, 2005


" Any time the Pope speaks Ex Cathedra on issues of Christian doctrine, dogma, or teaching he is considered to be infallible..."

I don't dispute that. What I dispute is the assertion that the Pope has frequently spoke ex cathedra. The doctrine of ex cathedra is subtle and the one thing it certainly does not assert is that anything and everything the Pope says is ex cathedra. Therefore, by definition, some things are and some are not. What is and and isn't is a subject of contention, and scholars and even church officials do not agree. The only indisputable ex cathedra pronouncement is the Assumption of Mary. Everything else is, I believe, in dispute.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 5:21 PM on April 2, 2005


What does “ex cathedra” mean?
“Ex cathedra” means “from the chair of the Pope’s teaching authority.” Theologians usually apply it to the solemn definitions which a Pope makes, such as Pius IX’s solemn definition of the Immaculate Conception in 1854, or Pius XII’s solemn proclamation of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin in 1950.


So both of those, for certain.

How do we know whether a Papal teaching is “ex cathedra”?
Fr. Joseph Fenton(4) explains the conditions for a solemn infallible declaration:
a. The Pope speaks in his capacity as Teacher and Ruler of all Christians.
b. He uses his supreme Apostolic authority.
c. The doctrine which he is speaking has to do with faith or morals.
d. He issues a certain and definitive judgment on that teaching.
e. He wills that this definitive judgment be accepted as such by the universal Church.
(from the link above.)

In other words, any time the Pope is speaking about the official position in re: Faith and Morals, he is considered to be infallible, as well as in other cases.

It would seem that indeed, there is a lot of disagreement.
"You say "infallibility" a lot; I do not think that word means what you think it means."
posted by exlotuseater at 5:25 PM on April 2, 2005


Everything else is, I believe, in dispute.

How is the doctrine of papal infallibility itself not in dispute? That's not a snark, I'm genuinely curious about a basic bootstrapping problem: to have the authority to define any statement as infallible, you need the authority to define the state of infallibility in the first place. How can that be done without resorting to a circularity?
posted by Armitage Shanks at 5:26 PM on April 2, 2005


If only the whole catholic church would die too.
posted by Merlin at 5:28 PM on April 2, 2005


.
posted by cows of industry at 5:28 PM on April 2, 2005


Also harsh.
posted by thirteenkiller at 5:29 PM on April 2, 2005


Armitage Shanks writes "you need the authority to define the state of infallibility in the first place. How can that be done without resorting to a circularity?"

Faith, my son.

And don't look behind that curtain, God doesn't like that.
posted by orthogonality at 5:29 PM on April 2, 2005


Armitage Shanks and mokujin: speaking ex cathedra is synonymous with speaking infallibly. There's a great deal of debate on which pronouncements are actually infallible. It's pretty much universally agreed that the two Marian pronouncements [Ineffabilis Deus,on the Immaculate Conception and Munificentissimus Deus,on the Assumption] were infallible; the the infallibility of any statements beyond that tends to be subject to debate. Conservative theologians tend to allow a wider interpretation [including things like Ordinatio Sacerdotalis, the statement on the female priest issue]. Moderates tend to hold the strict interpretation which allows only the two statements on Mary noted earlier; liberals may hold to that narrow view as well or, conversely, may argue like Hans Kung for a very broad interpretation in order to discredit the very existence of papal infallibility [as opposed to the Church's infallibility, which is not really contested]. The Vatican does not, in fact, have a list of which statements are actually infallible. You may want to check out this story, related by a theologian who's in favor of female ordination. The gist of it is that a verse that was part of the Vulgate [which the Council of Trent had declared, as a whole, to be canonical and inspired] was found by biblical scholars to be something added to the Bible in the 6th century. After pressure from scholars and theologians. the Holy Office admitted that that verse was not, in fact, inspired and canonical. Given the vague guidelines for infallibility, and the lack of an official list, there is space for present and future theologians to wage similar battles against the papal statements against contraception and female ordination.

Oh, and a . for the Pope. As I said in the other thread - his legacy was mixed, but his overall effect on the world was certainly no worse than many world leaders and better than many. And he was, I assume, trying to do what he thought was right.
posted by ubersturm at 5:35 PM on April 2, 2005


you need the authority to define the state of infallibility in the first place

It's called "begging the question."
posted by SPrintF at 5:38 PM on April 2, 2005


Guess what, sugar:

I sincerely doubt that you'd have the balls to call me sugar to my face, so I'll let that slide, pumpkin.

it's possible to experience sentimentality and to give it an appropriate place in your mental landscape, without allowing it to supplant rationality.


Which is what I did in my eralier comments: acknowledge that I disagree strongly with the Catholic church on issues of sexuality, birth control, abortion etc. while still acknowledging that it is the faith I was raised in, and that I still feel a loss, and that the anti-Catholic invective is still offensive.
posted by jonmc at 5:43 PM on April 2, 2005


EB, perhaps the ex cathedra nature of certain papal doctrines is or may be disputable, but I don't think that there are very many at all that are actually in dispute among mainstream Catholic theologians. I think you are overstating the difficulty of determining the status of any given papal statement. Because most issues of faith and doctrine are long settled there is rarely a need for the pope to make explicit the fact that he is speaking ex cathedra every time he does so. It seems like it is more often necessary for him to say that he was NOT doing so as on those occasions when he has said something contentious as a private citizen and then gone on to say that he was not speaking ex cathedra.
posted by mokujin at 5:44 PM on April 2, 2005


Beth, I suggest it's time for you to leave the US. There's no other way, really, for you to avoid supporting (with your tax dollars, your implicit consent) the many things that the US is doing and has done that conflict with your beliefs as you've frequently stated them.

EB, that's an intellectually dishonest argument and you know it. Leaving a church is not the same as relocating to a different nation.
posted by ludwig_van at 5:50 PM on April 2, 2005


Good discussion, actually less bursts of harshness than I expected.

But, as a high priest in the Orthodox Church of Cynicism, I have to wonder if the portayal of JPII's final days and hours was rewritten (if not orchestrated) for maximum PR value. If he could hardly let out a gurgling noise when he made his last public appearance, the stories of him 'communicating his wishes' are quite questionable. Was he really able to make his own decision not to go back to the hospital (basically a decision to avoid 'extraordinary actions')? He could have made the decision in advance (Living Will, anyone?), but that's not the way it was reported.

Also, I had heard several times from Catholics that it was especially poignant that the Pope was passing away during Holy Week, the week after Easter. Which left me extremely unsurprised that his death was announced just more than two hours before midnight on Saturday (Vatican Time).

I wish I could accept it all at face value, but why should I?
posted by wendell at 5:52 PM on April 2, 2005


"EB, that's an intellectually dishonest argument and you know it. Leaving a church is not the same as relocating to a different nation."

jonmc was arguing that one's religion is not merely a set of beliefs, but it is being part of a culture and integral to one's identity. Beth disregarded this, and asserted that it was hypocritical for someone to remain part of that community whilst disagreeing with the community's beliefs.

If that is the case, then even if being an American is part of one's culture and identity, it's still no excuse to support the actions of that community by continuing to be part of the community. Most Americans who are very critical of American policy deny the argument that by being Americans they are supporting such policies and assert that they have the right to retain their identity as Americans while still protesting what America does.

This is exactly what jonmc was asserting about being part of a religious organization with which one disagrees.

You and Beth could, of course, simply deny that religious affiliation plays a comparable role in culture and identity. To do so, however, denies most of human history.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 6:03 PM on April 2, 2005


wendell - Holy Week is before Easter. After Easter comes the Easter Octave, which is eight days.
posted by thirteenkiller at 6:03 PM on April 2, 2005


rm -rf catholicism /
posted by squirrel at 6:04 PM on April 2, 2005


History will remember him as John Paul the Great...and he was.
posted by Oxydude at 6:10 PM on April 2, 2005


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posted by The Infamous Jay at 6:10 PM on April 2, 2005


Thanks for the clarification, thirteenkiller. I've turned my cynicism down from 11 to 10.
posted by wendell at 6:10 PM on April 2, 2005


wendell : the media are all over the Pope for a number or very good (at least to many media) reasons

* Controversial figure , love & hate - GOOD, CHECK
* Can articulate complex tought, even more complex then That's Hot - DOESN'T HURT ,CHECK
* Is a good communicator - CHECK
* He dresses in a highly unusual way - PIMPASTIC, CHECK
* He's the spiritual leader of uncounted masses - OMG CHECK !!!!!
* He's a Head of State - WOW CHECK
* He's black - Hell nobody is perfect !!! CROSS
* The thing will go on for at least another 3-4 days - FILLER, CHECK
* There's a new Pope incoming, more media frenzy

Most interesting, that is what MOST of television will show:
1) People praising Pope
2) That he was a great leader
3) That he did good
4) That he'll be missed

or at least that's what they're showing in .it now and on many eurosatellites.

Metafilter, to me is much more interesting. I get all of the above AND the chance of a rational , slightly more or really much more advanced discussion and Goddamit there's so much more to say about a Pope then about Paris Hilton.
posted by elpapacito at 6:14 PM on April 2, 2005


Most Americans who are very critical of American policy deny the argument that by being Americans they are supporting such policies and assert that they have the right to retain their identity as Americans while still protesting what America does.

This analogy would be more compelling if the Constitution contained articles of faith that, say, denied the rights of gay people, or forbade women from becoming President. American foreign policy isn't religious dogma (yet).
posted by Armitage Shanks at 6:21 PM on April 2, 2005


.

I have no particular liking for the Catholic Church, even though I'm a confirmed Catholic - I'd call myself more of an agnostic, right now. Most certainly not a Catholic.

Some of his opinions and positions irked the hell out of me, mainly his positions on homosexuality and anticonceptionals.

Still, he was a good man, tried his best, and did a lot of good.

Discussion is good, but take the snarks and insults elsewhere, please.
posted by sailoreagle at 6:32 PM on April 2, 2005


Ethereal Bligh: I think you are thinking of the Immaculate Conception.

Ex cathedra is a concept that means not that the Church is right about a matter of doctrine but that it is simply beyond question. It is a power that the Chruch is assumed to have inherited through apostolic succession from Peter.
"Jesus replied, And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven."
Infallibility is what makes the Holy Roman Catholic Chruch the Church and not the church. What doctrines have and have not been pronounced ex cathedra are, ironically, not themselves infallible matters. Popes don't invoke ex cathedra directly when speaking or writing on religious matters, or at least haven't so far, although they certainly could if they chose to. What is an is not infallible is a matter of scholarly exegesis where church historians basically argue over whether a pope 'Really, really meant it.' Wherein really, really meaning it constitutes speaking directly as the successor of Peter and tacitly invoking his power to hold bound, as well as speaking universally, which is reaffirming a matter that has always been considered to be true for all time and all men. Also, generally, some nasty lake of fire consequences for unbelievers are invoked to add the proper gravity to the situation. When Church historians see all these things in one place they say that the Pope was most likely speaking ex cathedra but the process resembles literary analysis more than jurisprudence. That is why so few doctrines that are considered ex cathedra, because there is no compelling need to assert things which are universally held by the Chruch to be true. It is only in times of schism or heresy that councils are held and encyclicals are written which start to use the strong language with which infallible doctrines are associated. The idea of infallibility is extremely nebulous in its current conception and basically so tautological and convoluted as to be irrelevant. In its modern form ex cathedra means that God has granted the Chruch universal the power to determine morality with the caveat that it only has this power in cases where it has this power by virtue of being correct. Because you are now in Divine Command theory territory there is a continuum of credence granted to infallibility based on whether you consider it more important to be Good or God. The Catholic Church is thus extremely conservative about specifying doctrines as infallible and most members take its ordinary doctrines as solid guidlines that are more than likely correct but not beyond question.
posted by Endymion at 6:38 PM on April 2, 2005


wendell - It's a start!
posted by thirteenkiller at 6:45 PM on April 2, 2005


I'm also a former Catholic/agnostic, and long expected to feel sweet, delicious schadenfreude at the pope's death (given how much I loathed the vast majority of his policies), and instead, I'm somewhat shocked that all I feel is

.
posted by scody at 6:47 PM on April 2, 2005


I find it ironic that, if not for the feeding tube, JP2 would probably still be alive right now

It's suggested that the heart failure was due to septicemia, which was secondary to the intubation
posted by PurplePorpoise at 6:49 PM on April 2, 2005


BIG Money Day for parishes around the world tomorrow.
posted by spock at 6:52 PM on April 2, 2005


You guys are all nuts if you care more about this guy than any other person who's died this week, or, for that matter, ever.
posted by Hildago at 7:12 PM on April 2, 2005


drezden stole my dot.
posted by quonsar at 7:17 PM on April 2, 2005


"This analogy would be more compelling if the Constitution contained articles of faith that, say, denied the rights of gay people, or forbade women from becoming President. American foreign policy isn't religious dogma (yet)."

It's quite enough compelling because the US government specifically pursues these sorts of policies both domestically and internationally. Whether these injustices are enshrined in the Constitution or not is of little consequence.

Being Americans, we are tacitly responsible for, say, the bombing of innocent Iraqi children. Our labor actually produced the power to commit such an act, and our continuing to be Americans implicitly condones it. The only argument against doing everything one can do to not be a member of a society that one believes acts in a morally abhorent manner is that this is asking too much given that we do not have a choice of where we're born or how integral our culture is to our own identity. But those arguments apply just as strongly, or more strongly, to religious affiliation.

In fact, the not-uncommon American sense of religious affiliation being something external to one's identity, something that one chooses from a buffet table, is quite the exception. For example, something that often puzzles Americans are examples like the Scandinavian countries which have official national religions and yet are much less religious than Americans. But they are preserving that part of their culture, yet practically discarding their religous affiliation as a code-of-conduct. This is what Americans like jonmc are doing with regard to Catholicism. It is a reasonable path to take because it is unreasonable to expect him to discard a core part of his identity and social affiliations. This is why it is unreasonable to expect someone to renounce their nationality if they disagree with their nation's actions.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 7:21 PM on April 2, 2005


All of these comments make me wonder:
Should the Pope and the Catholic Church be concerned with atheists or non-Catholics of the world? Let me explain:
As mentioned before, love or hate him, JPII continued the Catholic Tradition to the best of his abilities. As leaders of the Church, their intention is more than anything else to save the souls of their flock. If a decree by the Church is really thought to prevent sin by the leaders (such as condemnation of condoms) while at odds with what others think, where should the Church's loyalty lie? To those outside the Church who disagree or to the goal of saving souls, or a combination of the two or neither?
posted by jmd82 at 7:23 PM on April 2, 2005


Old guy dies, MeFites piss on his grave. Nice.Ya'll are doing your mothers proud.
posted by Optamystic at 7:25 PM on April 2, 2005


Is it OK to piss on his grave if my mother is doing it too?
posted by eatcherry at 7:28 PM on April 2, 2005


Do what you will. But I wonder if anyone of us who are saying harsh things about the man's death would be so bold as to repeat those sentiments in the presence of a member of the man's family, whether natural or spiritual.
posted by Optamystic at 7:34 PM on April 2, 2005


White Smoke in the Wind
(A Nod to "The Official Anthem of Passed Icons" -
"Candle in the Wind")


Goodbye JP2
Though I thought the Church was rot.
You had great grace and forgave face-to-face
That nut and his "cheap shot."
You were blessed, and you were blamed,
You were the first Pole Pope to reign.
So they set you inside the PopeMobile,
And they made you change your name.

Karol, it seems you lived your life
Like the white smoke in the wind.
You were Rebel, Poet, Pope;
And forgave the ones that sinned.
I would have liked to have known you
And I'm a Secular Humanist.
Cardinals vote, the smoke wafts away
But your presence will be missed.
posted by Dunvegan at 7:37 PM on April 2, 2005


This is why it is unreasonable to expect someone to renounce their nationality if they disagree with their nation's actions.

No. It's unreasonable because the entire legal system of the world today makes it extraordinarily difficult to change national affiliation. Personal identity and social affiliation have relatively little to do with it, in my world.
posted by aramaic at 7:40 PM on April 2, 2005


I find it astonishing that so many people are part-taking in this "Death of Great Man" construction with such naivety. When someone brings up any of a large number of morally problematic things the pope has advocated, the reaction runs along the lines of: "Go away! You're spoiling our lament circus!" Or the even more astonishing, "he wasn't as bad as he could've been". There is a cult of personality around this man with over a billion participants. When Stalin and Lenin died people were sobbing in the streets too, overcome by the mass spectacle of mourning -- people who'd otherwise, if presented with Stalin and Lenin's crimes in a more sober context, would be revolted. Sad to say my estimation of the overall sophistication of the metafilter community jumped down a notch today. This mourning spectacle is so overpowering that some people who've disassociated themselves from the church years ago -- and for bloody good reasons, if I may so -- are considering a visit so they can undulate with the crowds. I'm not buying the "identity"/"nostalgia" bullshit for a second.
posted by ori at 7:45 PM on April 2, 2005


You guys are all nuts if you care more about this guy than any other person who's died this week, or, for that matter, ever.

THAT is the dumbest thing I've read this week.
posted by spock at 7:47 PM on April 2, 2005


"No. It's unreasonable because the entire legal system of the world today makes it extraordinarily difficult to change national affiliation. Personal identity and social affiliation have relatively little to do with it, in my world."

Fine. That's a valid argument. But, assuming that otherwise one would have a responsibiltiy to not be complicit in wrong (which you seem to be doing—if you weren't, you wouldn't even need to make the argument you're making in the first place), that means that if in an individual case it is not legally difficult, they have no excuse for failing to do so. This would be the case for people who have Canadian spouses and similar circumstances, or have dual citizenship, or have the sufficient economic means and economic desirability such that it is not difficult to leave one's nation. Is that a consequence you will endorse?
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 7:50 PM on April 2, 2005


Did all of the good he did outweigh the millions of people who died of and will die of AIDS due in part to him?
posted by callmejay at 7:51 PM on April 2, 2005


Is that a consequence you will endorse?

If it were as easy to change national affiliation as it is to change religious affiliation, then yes, absolutely. Note that, even in the cases you mentioned, it isn't as easy.
posted by aramaic at 7:54 PM on April 2, 2005


Whether these injustices are enshrined in the Constitution or not is of little consequence.

With all due respect, what absolute twaddle. It's one thing to voluntarily belong to an organization where you disagree with the policies of the current chairman. It's quite another thing to voluntarily belong to an organization where you disagree with the fundamental tenets of the organization itself.
posted by Armitage Shanks at 7:56 PM on April 2, 2005


Maybe that's because you weren't raised Catholic, ori. I can tell you that religion was a huge part of my upbringing. Catholicism - Irish Catholicism, to be precise - is an integral part of my family's identity. While I can make adult, intellectual decisions regarding religion now, things related to Catholicism can still impact me pretty deeply on an emotional level. This is the death of a guy whose teachings and presence has had a huge influence on anyone who was raised Roman Catholic in the past few decades. You expect them to be able to completely throw off all emotional and sentimental ties with him and his Church? Furthermore, despite the people in this thread who seem to be saying "being against contraception made the Pope worse than a Nazi", I don't think a sane and balanced view of the Pope would make him any worse [or any more responsible for the world's ills] than most other world leaders. Heck, the Church preaches an end to wars and care for the poor, which is much better than most governments do. So to compare lapsed Catholics who're stopping in at a Mass to show respect for the Pope to people "caught up in the mass spectacle of mourning for Stalin or Mao" doesn't really ring true to me. The man left a mixed legacy, and some wrong decisions, but he was no Stalin, and condemning lapsed Catholic who find themselves wanting to show respect for the man is pointless and not really right.
posted by ubersturm at 8:02 PM on April 2, 2005


Ori, I completely agree. When a famous person dies, it quickly becomes about the mass grief. I am such a nice person; I have this connection to the man being mourned. It lapses into narcissism. People who know nothing about this man are telling us we are callous for not mourning him.

I don't hate the pope-- in fact there are things about him I did admire. What I hate is narcissistic mourning.

Spock-- I'd suggest thinking about the dumbest thing you've heard this week. People of many faiths, including mine-- which is not Catholic-- try to appreciate all people as equal. Believe it or not, many of us don't care more celebrities than we do about people we know; nor do we care less about Africans and other foreigners than we do about our countrymen.

The flipside is that I care as much about the pope's passing as I do the street person who lived outside my office window. He died last fall and it didn't make the papers.
posted by gesamtkunstwerk at 8:02 PM on April 2, 2005


with all due respect, armitage, there's quite contentious debate within the Catholic church on issues of sexuality, birth control, etc. So one can still consider one's elf a Catholic even while differing with the Church heirarchy on these issues

If you're talking about belief in a supreme being or an afterlife, well, that's a whole different story.
posted by jonmc at 8:03 PM on April 2, 2005


So one can still consider one's elf a Catholic

Yes, I consider my elf a Catholic. He's a leprechaun.

pre-empting all the smartasses out there
posted by jonmc at 8:06 PM on April 2, 2005


Ode for the Eightieth Birthday of Pope John Paul II
--Czeslaw Milosz

We come to you, men of weak faith,
So that you might fortify us with the example of your life
And liberate us from anxiety
About tomorrow and next year. Your twentieth century
Was made famous by the names of powerful tyrants
And by the annihilation of their rapacious states.
You knew it must happen. You taught hope:
For only Christ is the lord and master of history.

Foreigners could not guess from whence came the hidden strength
Of a novice from Wadowice. The prayers and prophecies
Of poets, whom money and progress scorned,
Even though they were the equals of kings, waited for you
So that you, not they, could announce, urbe et orbi,
That the centuries are not absurd but a vast order.

Shepherd given us when the gods depart!
In the fog above the cities the Golden Calf shines,
The defenseless crowds race to offer the sacrifice
Of their own children to the bloody screens of Moloch.
In the air, fear, a lament without words:
Since a desire for faith is not the same as faith.

Then, suddenly, like the clear sound of the bell for matins,
Your sign of dissent, which is like a miracle.
People ask, not comprehending, how it's possible
That the young of the unbelieving countries
Gather in public squares, shoulder to shoulder,
Waiting for news from two thousand years ago
And throw themselves at the feet of the Vicar
Who embraced with his love the whole human tribe.

You are with us and will be with us henceforth.
When the forces of chaos raise their voice
And the owners of truth lock themselves in churches
And only the doubters remain faithful,
Your portrait in our homes every day remind us
How much one man can accomplish and how sainthood works.
posted by felix betachat at 8:11 PM on April 2, 2005


At least we can still continue enjoying his delicious fried chicken. I'll have a legacy and a drumstick please.
posted by breakfast_yeti at 8:14 PM on April 2, 2005


jonmc: So one can still consider one's elf a Catholic

I think that must be my favorite typo I've seen in a long time

(my favorite typo, for the record, is "The Complete Poetical Works of Yeast")
posted by Kattullus at 8:16 PM on April 2, 2005


jmd82: The Catholic church should not create or change its policies to please those outside the church. At the same time, those outside the church should judge its actions based on their own value systems. This is what so confuses me about the sincerity/kindness stuff. Why excuse actions that we would not otherwise consider good simply because it appears that the motivation for those actions was above board?
posted by aaronetc at 8:17 PM on April 2, 2005


Joseph Stalin had been leader of the Soviet Union for nearly 30 years. Though he is now considered responsible for the deaths of millions of his own people through famine and purges, when his death was announced to the people of the Soviet Union on March 6, 1953, many wept. [link]

I can just imagine the 1953 Metafilter thread for Stalin's death: a lot of dots; "I was never a communist, but today I'm going to visit party headquarters."; an objection, "but he killed millions!", followed by "Jeez, he just died, can't you spare the criticism"; "He wasn't as bad as the Nazis"; "He wanted the best for everyone".
posted by ori at 8:17 PM on April 2, 2005


..."Maybe it's because you weren't brought up Communist. Communism and Stalinism were a huge part of my upbringing."; "Communism teaches us to care for the workers."; "Communism works for the betterment of mankind."
posted by ori at 8:21 PM on April 2, 2005


If killing though lack of sufficient action makes one the moral equivalent of Stalin, every world leader today is a mass murderer for not intervening immediately and with force to stop famines, AIDs, and war [and instead spending the money on their _own_ defense budgets]. As long as you're willing to argue that _every single_ president, king, or prime minister can be considered a mass murderer for holding African nations to their debts, or failing to intervene in Rwanda, or ignoring the plight of the Congo, or for that matter enforcing pharmaceutical patents which keep AIDS drugs too expensive for people in African nations, I'm fine with your categorization of the Pope... although I'd still note that the Pope, at least, had a consistently anti-war and anti-poverty stance, something that's sorely lacking in several of the largest and most prominent nations.
posted by ubersturm at 8:25 PM on April 2, 2005


zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz
posted by fungible at 8:35 PM on April 2, 2005


time for some facts ... only 16.7% of africans are catholic ... so i hardly think that all of africa's problems with aids and over population can be blamed on the church

re: "narcissistic mourning" ... you seem to forget that many people saw the pope's last days as a christian parable of redemption through suffering ... and that mixed with the sadness, there is also joy

but i suppose some people's beliefs aren't going to allow them to understand that aspect

uberstrum - you make an excellent point
posted by pyramid termite at 8:39 PM on April 2, 2005


According to dailykos, ABC's This Week tomorrow morning will include "Cardinal Bernard Law, former archbishop of Boston". That ought to be a stunning display of piety.
posted by Armitage Shanks at 9:01 PM on April 2, 2005


ori writes "I can just imagine the 1953 Metafilter thread for Stalin's death: a lot of dots; 'I was never a communist, but today I'm going to visit party headquarters.'; an objection, 'but he killed millions!', followed by 'Jeez, he just died, can't you spare the criticism'; 'He wasn't as bad as the Nazis'; 'He wanted the best for everyone'."

Good stuff.
posted by orthogonality at 9:04 PM on April 2, 2005


.
posted by robcorr at 9:04 PM on April 2, 2005


jonmc: So one can still consider one's elf a Catholic

Just did a quick check. None of my elves are Catholic, especially the Drow's.

This guy was pope for a long time. The next pope has got his work cut out for him. Going to be a touch act to follow.

My wife got really pissed when I started singing "ding dong the pope is dead....."

We are Catholic. But damn. What's wrong with a little humor? She was bent. I had to leave the room to laugh.

All this religion reminded me of the time the CCD (religion school) teacher told me in the last year (when you get confirmed and add another middle name) that I was going to get left back for not doing their home work. I looked at her and said "Left back? Lady, I'm not coming back!"
Needless to say they called home and that answer did not fly. I did all the damn homework in one night and got my extra name. Then, still in the getup I had to wear for the confirmation, I told my mom, that's it for church until I am 72!

Tomorrow is Sunday. Going to church? HA! Not 72 yet. Sleeping in.

Don't forget to turn your clocks ahead for daylight savings time.

;-)
posted by a3matrix at 9:05 PM on April 2, 2005


(Now, I'm not at all the religious type, but still ... )

.
posted by The Great Big Mulp at 9:16 PM on April 2, 2005


.
posted by ScotchLynx at 10:24 PM on April 2, 2005


Sorry for being thick, bit I really don't get the display of solo periods that I have seen in this thread. Please enlighten me.
posted by Chasuk at 11:43 PM on April 2, 2005


.
posted by sgt.serenity at 11:49 PM on April 2, 2005


?
posted by Chasuk at 11:55 PM on April 2, 2005


If you need help packing, I know some people in Austin who might help.

Yeah, you got an overseas job in a nice European social democracy for not only me but my daughter's father as well? Splendid! Because he is the one who decides where she lives, and where she lives, I live.

I assume you'll also be kicking in for the airfare from Europe to the U.S. so I can visit my family as frequently as I like to. Because you never tire of telling people how generous you are with your money.
posted by beth at 12:05 AM on April 3, 2005


Alas, I have no more. If I did, though, I'd contribute.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 12:11 AM on April 3, 2005


Alas, I have no more.

I think this means I win. ROXOR!!!@##@!@!@!!!
posted by beth at 12:46 AM on April 3, 2005


Survived by none.

If being nice is a genetic trait, then he just killed another line.
posted by furtive at 1:55 AM on April 3, 2005


.
posted by Jubey at 3:12 AM on April 3, 2005


This has been an excellent thread that has presented the usual snarking, bitching and conjecture, but also some excellent facts and links. I was raised a catholic but haven't been to church in years. My parents are both catholic and are very active in the church so religion is never far away, but I can't make my mind up whether it's all true or not. I could go on for hours, but...
.
posted by TheDonF at 4:25 AM on April 3, 2005


Furtive:

Survived by none.

If being nice is a genetic trait, then he just killed another line.


Ahhh, but any teacher will tell you, as will any adoptive parent, that your "children" can be any and all of those whom you nurtured or whose hearts you touched. The Pope is survived by many millions of "children," of one kind or another, none of whom shared his life but all of whom carry something. Fortunately, our behavior goes beyond mere genetics; it's one of the great things about being human. Childlessness does not necessarily beget useless obscurity (pun wholly intended).

Oh, yeah, almost forgot:

.
posted by trigonometry at 6:29 AM on April 3, 2005


what all the useless info on the news that captivates this great nation of knuckle draggers, it's nice to see all of it pushed aside in favor of something that actually matters.
posted by mcsweetie at 8:31 AM on April 3, 2005


EB, you're being silly.

Leaving a faith is surely emotionally taxing. You'll be split from a community of people whose support you've come to expect.

But however hard leaving a faith is, leaving a country is much harder. You still find yourself cut off from your community. But you're also spending lots of money moving and dealing with immigration. And you're also throwing your career away, or, minimally, taking a very large risk with your career. And you're moving from one surrounding culture to another. And you're moving from one climate to another.

So there are more and worse psychological or emotional harms from leaving your country. In addition, there are real, no-shit, and sometimes severe objective economic and other physical-life risks associated with expatriation that simpy aren't there for leaving a faith (unless you were working in or for that faith, but that's so few people that it doesn't matter). Leaving a faith doesn't mean losing your job. Leaving a faith doesn't mean that you don't speak the local language any more. Leaving a faith doesn't mean that you can't afford to see your family or friends more than once every few years. Leaving a faith doesn't create the possibility of being barred from the US. Leaving a faith doesn't create the possibility or likelihood that your children will be forced into military service.

Leaving a faith means that whereever you live, you'll have lost some friends and might need to try to make more, and that you'll have to figure out who you really are from scratch. Leaving a faith is small change compared to the dislocations produced by expatriation.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 10:45 AM on April 3, 2005


Whoa what a thread ! Look at what has been said in a condensed, for-lazy-people format.



Armitage Shanks: points out that the concept of Papal infallibility is official dogma yet it's only a perpetual logical loop
of the kind " A, therefore A". Also offer a very interesting link on Papal infallibility

beth: points out that if one man supports one organization, but finds the organization to be supporting positions he opposes
then he should be agitating for a change from within the organization itself.

birdherder: offers comics relief by remembering that the Pope People had no problem with Sparky the Sun Devil and the Sun Devil
stadium, as after all there's no mentioning of Sparky the Sun Devil in the Bible.

endymion: offers the most complete (so far) post on the difference between the concepts of Ex Cathedra and Infallibility. Also
links to the Euthyphro Dilemma which reads "“Is what is moral commanded by god because it is moral, or is it moral because
it's willed by god?”

etheral blig: sustaints Armitage doesn't have the correct concept of Papal Infallibility and that the only thing that a Pope
has declared that has the status of "infallibility" is the Assumption of Mary.

felix beta : suggests JP2nd helped giving laics a language with which to express their dissent. Asks how to reconcile birth
control/contraception with the rest of one's ethical system.

honeydew: is an agnostic at a Jesuitic university calling for respect of people mourning, setting aside disagreements.

jmd82: points that (worth cutnpasting) Also, take contraceptives for a moment. The Church teaches they are wrong, and
believe it or not, one the CC's primary teachings ever since St. Augustine and St. Thomas Aquintais is the ends do not
justify the means, which JPII has picked up again. In this case, the ends cannot be justified by permitting a sin to occur
In a nutshell, this idea is where many of the CC's morality teachings come from.


jonmc: is amazed by how self-righteous both religious and irreligious people are.

nickdouglas: suggests one strong shortcoming of Catholicism on birth control methods is failing to value actual, present life
and endangering it in the name of life-after-death, which he considers a false notion. Suggests the compilation of a list
what Pope did good, what Pope did bad.

ori: is very disappointed by what he considers as yet another Cult-of-Personality fad, expecially disappointed by those who
dissociated themselves from church years ago and are now backpedaling for opportunistic reasons.

orthogonality: suggests the Pope did his job of uphelding the doctrine of his Church and faith ; he also considers religion(s)
as a necessary illusion, necessary to the smooth and effective functioning of societies.

psmealey , points out chaning a Church position, held for thousand year, isn't exactly as easy and as harmless as changing
an opinion. Sees JP2nd as a progressive figure in the sense that he helped making significant and relevant changes.

pyrmaid termite: offers an slice of historic perspective by writing for what it's worth, the church has changed considerably
at my father's funeral a few years ago, the parish priest made a point of inviting any protestant attendees to participate in
communion ... that would have been unthinkable 40 years ago


spoonman, suggests whatever good the Pope was responsible of is outweighted by the evil that can happen because media
are underreporting other events.

ubersturm: points at the ongoing attempt of comparing morals and moral achievements of different people (Stalin, Pope, SomeOther
Leader).

And sorry to other people for not noticing the value in their post.
posted by elpapacito at 11:53 AM on April 3, 2005


elpapacito writes " orthogonality: suggests the Pope did his job of upholding the doctrine of his Church and faith ; he also considers religion(s)
"as a necessary illusion, necessary to the smooth and effective functioning of societies"


I should have written "useful" not "necessary".

I'm only arguing that given its deleterious effects, among them creation of a privileged priest class, resources spent on witch-doctors' charms or cathedrals, and the barrier false beliefs ("Lightning bolts are Zeus's arrows!", "Seizures are signs of demonic possession") put in the way of really understanding the world -- given all those negatives, since religion nevertheless remains a human universal, it must provide some counter-balancing benefit.
posted by orthogonality at 2:12 PM on April 3, 2005


orthogonality: I don't really know if religion is an universal, in the sense that there may as well be people in the world who never conceptualized external entities...but for the future, religions and their fear/privilege structure may as well really embrace any human being as much as industrialization, oligarchic pseudodemocratic government and any other kind of human organized activity.

From this point of view, if (by hypothesis) the benefit is mostly psycological ..I don't see the benefit of maintaining an highly centralized, bureocratic , vertical structure IF the same benefit can be obtained by making the structure horizontal and less sensible to local corruption.

By analogy (and not the best one by my own admission) one could ask , which is best ? Centralized structure a-la Napster (one server, multiple clients) or a distributed method a-la bittorent (well not completely distributed but) in which -content (idea, concept, good) is King ?
posted by elpapacito at 2:35 PM on April 3, 2005


My elf worships the Mother of All, Tunare.

Ha! I kill myself!
*wonders how often she can work in EQ references*

posted by deborah at 2:41 PM on April 3, 2005


.
posted by juggernautco at 2:43 PM on April 3, 2005


EB: a cock in the mouth for the ages
posted by quonsar at 3:00 PM on April 3, 2005


Man, I was really cranky yesterday. Much apologies to everyone to whom I was rude.

It wasn't my aim to equate renouncing one's nationality to renouncing one's religion. Rather, I felt that jonmc's point was a very good one and that many people who don't come from a (sub)culture where religious identity is an integral part of the cultural identity greatly underestimate this and tend to think of religious affiliation as a belief system rather than part of identity cultural affiliation. I tend to think that the American deemphasis of religion as cultural affiliation is quite exceptional and that, historically and for most people, their religious affiliation is a core part of their identity. It's asking quite a bit for someone to to renounce that because their religious leader is taking their faith in a direction they don't approve of.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 3:13 PM on April 3, 2005


Rather, I felt that jonmc's point was a very good one and that many people who don't come from a (sub)culture where religious identity is an integral part of the cultural identity greatly underestimate this and tend to think of religious affiliation as a belief system rather than part of identity cultural affiliation.

Especially when religious affiliation (in this case Catholicism) is a big part of what marginalized a group in the first place.

When Irish, Italian, Eastern European, and Latin immigrants arrived in largely Protestant America, Catholicism was seen as bizarre exotica. And was alrge part of the prejudice against such groups.

"The only people they hate more than Negroes down here are Roman Catholics." - Martin Luther King

That prejudice has mostly abated, although I remember a late night show on a Christian network where several evangelical ministers described Catholics as "apostates," and "heretics." But it's not diificult to see why people would still cling to identity that they may feel some aliennation from.
posted by jonmc at 3:56 PM on April 3, 2005


Answering my own question earlier, someone familiar with the predominantly USian worldview that the Pope is the Antichrist explained to me that it is, in fact, "like Doctor Who". That is, the body shell changes, but the antichristianity at the core renews. If you believe in the Great Apostasy then it's a direct counterpart to some theologically primitive theories of christhood, kind of an anti-christological adoptionism.
posted by meehawl at 3:56 PM on April 3, 2005


I'm not going to leave any friendly dot here.

This man's record is not something that should be celebrated. The Catholic Church has been an instrument of oppression for a thousand years. We've had the Inquisition, the blood libel, the persecution of the Jews, the Crusades, let's not forget the wholesale murders in South America during the forceable conversions of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. But John Paul II wanted to bring the church back in time.

Humanity is confronted by great problems. Our environment is in peril. Rapidly increasing population is stripping the land, the waters and the air of their resources at an unsustainable and ever-increasing rate. Religious hatred threatens to engulf the world in a distributed, local war without battlefields. At the same time, the peoples of the West are overwhelmed with information, moral questions, and increasing confronted with honest individuals whose belief systems are completely in conflict with the average: homosexuals, communists, atheists, Muslims, vegan Yoga instructors and bikers.

The Catholic Church has faced specific challenges too, all on about one subject, and that subject is sex. With its opposition to birth control (so essential to an overloaded planet), the Church's systematic and continuing protection of pederasts in its ranks, its relegation of women to second-class status, its condemnation of homosexuals, and its general demonization of the love act for anything other than procreation, the Church is in a difficult position, with the most obvious symptom being the great difficulty of recruiting twenty-first century men to be celibate priests.

Pope John Paul II ignored these great questions of our time, retreating into the past to preach a strict adherence to unchanging doctrines, oppressive doctrines that I believe are bad for humans and bad for the planet.

I shall not mourn him.
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 4:58 PM on April 3, 2005


So does the dot mean "I think women shouldn't be able to protect themselves from the tyranny of infinite children and the resulting povert; I think women should have to take in from their husbands and pop out the children until they die in child birth in a third world country"? Does the dot also mean "I think women are not capable of being priests, despite strong evidence that they held early positions of pre-pope importance in the Christian movement"? Does the dot also mean "I think gays are sinners"?

Fuck you people and your periods. Honestly.

Some folks are just easily moved by 24/7 CNN coverage of people holding candles in Italy.
posted by Kleptophoria! at 5:45 PM on April 3, 2005


P.S. This isn't to say that this particular Pope wasn't economically progressive. I agreed with him at times on some issues. But I agree with everyone about something at some point. My hyperbolic rant is entirely social.
posted by Kleptophoria! at 6:05 PM on April 3, 2005


I am no fan of the RC Church or its leaders. Am I in any way happy that the pope is dead? No, because there's no reason to believe that the next old white European to wear the funny hat will be an improvement. And because now I have to put up with the Collage of Carbuncles all over the news for the next week or so.

As I've pointed out in AskMe, black smoke means you're burning too much gas, and white smoke means you're burning oil.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 6:18 PM on April 3, 2005


Fuck the Pope ? Not so easy, not so quick. At least read Martin Luther 95 Theses

The guy lived around 1500, was a real troublemaker , a monk and theologiciain who basically caused whole lot of troubles. Interesting polemic personality, probably kickstarted Protestant Reformation.

It's more or less as flamethrowing as some people in the thread, but unlike them he offered an array of reasons (and good ones, too) to attack the Pope.

Not perfect, too bad he apparently believed in witches and witchunting...but man what an upgrade of a monk !

posted by elpapacito at 6:53 PM on April 3, 2005


[Martin Luther] apparently believed in witches and witchunting

And whatever you do don't get him started about Jews...
I shall give you my sincere advice: First, to set fire to their synagogues or schools and to bury and cover with dirt whatever will not burn, so that no man will ever again see a stone or cinder of them....

Second, I advise that their houses also be razed and destroyed. For they pursue in them the same aims as in their synagogues. Instead they might be lodged under a roof or in a barn, like the gypsies....

Third, I advise that all their prayer books and Talmudic writings, in which such idolatry, lies, cursing, and blasphemy are taught, be taken from them.

Fourth, I advise that their rabbis be forbidden to teach henceforth on pain of loss of life and limb. ...

Fifth, I advise that safe-conduct on the highways be abolished completely for the Jews. ...

Sixth, I advise that usury be prohibited to them, and that all cash and treasure of silver and gold be taken from them and put aside for safekeeping. ...
I note that finally, during the 1980s and 1990s, some progressive Lutheran factions finally got around to explicitly condemning Luther's hate speech. The Roman Catholic Church has never and does not today possess a religious monopoly on stupidity, discrimination, and responsibility for misdeeds.
posted by meehawl at 7:09 PM on April 3, 2005


elpapacito: while you and I have differing ideas on the Pope and the R.C. Church, I have to say, throughout all of this, in all the Pope-related threads, you have been civil, a gentleman, and a moderator.

I tip my hat to you.
posted by exlotuseater at 7:17 PM on April 3, 2005


meehawl: yeah no monopoly on stupidity, hatemongering indeed . It seems to go back and forth in time, hate this, hate that ..more then a sin of a specific religion, seems to be a shortcoming of humankind.

exlotus: thanks :)
posted by elpapacito at 7:23 PM on April 3, 2005


I had a (Catholic priest) professor who held that the story of Luther's 95 theses was entirely apocryphal. He didn't doubt that he published them, just the Church Door bit...
(I believe I said anything I might say about the Pope the last time he died and there was a metafilter post).
posted by klangklangston at 7:45 PM on April 3, 2005


no dot from me.

He deserved to die. He deserved to suffer. If I believed in Hell, I'd be pretty sure he was headed there. He allowed child-molestation to occur almost entirely unchecked, and for that, he can rot.
posted by Lusy P Hur at 7:50 PM on April 3, 2005


Wow. So much hate. One wonders what you would have had him do? Put on his crime-fighting pope-hat and hunt them down with a Portable Crucifix(tm)?

Tell me, how do you turn a 10000 tonne juggernaut? Do you throw yourself in front of it and try to turn it at right-angles by brute force? I put it to you that what we have seen of JP2 was only what we were allowed to see, and that far more went on behind the scenes that we may never know.

Was he perfect? No. Did he do more good than harm? I think so. Please, have some respect. And if you cannot find it in you to be a decent human being and say something nice, then do what your mother (should have) told you - be quiet.

.

For the record, I am neither catholic, Christian, nor even remotely religous.
posted by coriolisdave at 9:57 PM on April 3, 2005


Wow. So much hate. One wonders what you would have had him do?

Call the local DA. "We've discovered that one of our priests has apparently been molesting children. We'll be cooperating fully with any investigation you might pursue, unless you subpoena information about what was said in confession. Good hunting."

Establish a clear policy that you turn molesters over to the state for prosecution and cooperate forthrightly with any investigations, and defrock priests and bishops who cover up for them or who refuse to cooperate with investigations.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 10:59 PM on April 3, 2005


..and then on the 11 o'clock news we hear of his sudden dismissal from the post by the conclave of cardinals (doubtless child molesters all, of course). It's that juggernaut, dontcherknow.

However. I'm not trying to defend him, rather show respect to a man who achieved some great things. Not perfect, but then who is?
posted by coriolisdave at 11:23 PM on April 3, 2005


What Xenophobe said, but I'd go as far as to say they should have been excommunicated. There's no doubt in my mind that had these priests been having sexual affairs with adults, they'd have been removed immediately. Regardless of what went on behind the scenes, his lack of definitive public action speaks volumes.

As for him doing more harm than good, again I'd disagree. We're talking about a man who was the last word for 3 billion people, and he told them it was a sin to use condoms, have abortions, be born gay, etc.

This is a thread about the pope. I'll be a decent human being when a decent human being dies.
posted by Lusy P Hur at 12:19 AM on April 4, 2005


*sings "ding dong the pope is dead..."

Bah Humbug, the man deserves no more respect than anyone else, IMO.

Here is to hoping the Rapture clears up the SoCal Freeways a bit...Good Riddance.
posted by schyler523 at 2:05 AM on April 4, 2005


Amen.
posted by JtJ at 4:52 AM on April 4, 2005


Rather late to this thread, and I have neither the time nor inclination at present to thoroughly read 300+ posts bickering about if the Pope was the Earthly Incarnate of Good or Evil.

I will also preface this by saying that, though I grew up Catholic, I have no love for the Church, nor for religions in general.

However...

The SO lives within spitting distance of San Pietro. Though neither of us believe in God/Dog/Bob/whathaveyou, Friday night we briefly stopped in Piazza San Pietro during the rosary services. I was struck by the quiet; in a country where 2 or 3 cell phones to a person is not unusual, not once in 30 minutes did I hear some tinny polyphonic tune. And I saw only one person smoking, furtively hiding his lit cig as one hides a joint.

Saturday after work, I once again made my way across town to the SO's place. We had just finished eating dinner when the news of Wojtyla's death arrived via SMS. We quickly grabbed our things and pelted towards San Pietro. Many people were actually leaving the piazza, as yet unaware that the pope had passed on.

We arrived to an unsettling quiet, punctured only by the occasional sob. The silence stretched on; saying that the entire piazza was stunned or shocked would be misleading, if only in the sense that in light of his serious health condition, death was expected. But there it was. An entire piazza of people all with suspiciously bright eyes and ruddy noses, if not with tears rolling down their cheeks. I felt vaguely ghoulish and somehow intrusive as we tiptoed our way further into the piazza.

From a small clearing behind me, a young man in his late teens/early twenties sounded a chord on his guitar, an attack on the instrument. It was an uncertain thin to do in the midst of that silence. You could sense a hesitancy yet he continued the introductory chords in the same strong manner. And then he began to sing.Allelujah, risorgerà Clear. Pure. Strong.

What was so striking wasn't his technical ability so much as the pure emotion behind it, the kind that put a lump in your throat and goosebumps on the back of your neck.

Another voice joined in, an older man. Then a girl and what appeared to be her mother. More and more voices joined in and people began crowding into a circle around the boy.

It was difficult to tell from this inner ring (and I'm really short to boot) but it felt to me like the entire right side of the piazza was singing along with this boy. If the media cameras jostling through the crowd knocking were anything to judge by, I was right.

It was one of the moments in life that nurtures some miniscule ember of hope that humanity isn't a lost cause (the vast mixture of people singing), yet simultaneously confirms that it is (reporters knocking down kids to get a shot of a nun sobbing).
posted by romakimmy at 7:20 AM on April 4, 2005


I'm posting to say I weep tears of purest love for a rich, rich man who ate baby food out of solid gold chalices while AIDS and child molestation grew unchecked. Boo-fucking-hoo.
posted by Optimus Chyme at 1:56 PM on April 4, 2005


HOLY SHIT I FORGOT THE DOT WHAT WILL THE NEIGHBORS THINK DOT DOT DOT DOT DOT DOT

PIETY!

PIETY!
posted by Optimus Chyme at 1:57 PM on April 4, 2005


It was one of the moments in life that nurtures some miniscule ember of hope that humanity isn't a lost cause (the vast mixture of people singing)

Führer weather. People in huge crowds are subject to the expression of quite remarkably melodramatic outbursts that can be mined for good copy. Leni knew this, the Beatles knew this, and the Vatican knows this. For more info, see here.
posted by meehawl at 2:53 PM on April 4, 2005


*sings "ding dong the pope is dead..."

Bah Humbug, the man deserves no more respect than anyone else, IMO.


I shudder at your respect for others. I mean, I know its cool to player-hate the Pope and all, but I think a guy who kept a half-million people employed over a difficult quarter century probably deserves a bit more respect than your average Starbucks employee. I mean, the guy does have the power to influence the opinion of an estimated 1.2 billion.

Clearly his church has problems and perhaps we should have expected more from an ailing octegenarian. I cannot imagine what it must be like trying to deal with the ills of the modern world in an organization concerned foremost with the spirituality of man and trying to rectify a system of belief that works best in all cases.

As Popes go, though, he really wasn't a bad one. He reigned in difficult times and I think he had a pure, inclusive heart that while restrained by dogma, was still capable of amazing things.

I hope the next one is better, or at least as good.

Its sad that people despise him for what he didn't do without attempting to know what he did a'tall.

Good luck in whatever follows, JP.
posted by Ogre Lawless at 3:09 PM on April 4, 2005


He reigned in difficult times and I think he had a pure, inclusive heart that while restrained by dogma, was still capable of amazing things.

Oh man, he hugged a kid with AIDS. What a fucking champion of humanity.

Wait. How about the ones who aren't white?
posted by Optimus Chyme at 4:02 PM on April 4, 2005


"I mean, the guy does have the power to influence the opinion of an estimated 1.2 billion."
And he couldn't stop them from molesting children?
posted by Lusy P Hur at 5:33 PM on April 4, 2005


I don't honestly get the "he influenced X million people, so you can't say anything bad about him, m'okay?" line. Yes, he was the leader of one of the world's largest religions. Doesn't make him any less of a sociopath. If he'd been Johnny sixpack sitting in his living room spouting his homophobia, his apology of child molesters and his "just say no to HIV" strategy, we wouldn't be having this conversation.
The fact that so many people listened to him is what made him so creepy (and scary) in the first place.
Ding dong, indeed.
posted by signal at 6:42 AM on April 5, 2005


He was a mystic, he questioned everything, asking God for the answers. Thank God we all had a leader that believed in God and wanted to inspire and teach others about that. I know I couldn't ever standup and state my beliefs under the world's watchful eyes and not waver. I have never been THAT devoted of a catholic, and I have never completely agreed with his views but for what the man did do, I bow my head and pray for Pope John Paul II.

.

.
posted by monkeyhead at 2:10 AM on April 6, 2005



posted by basilwhite at 2:14 PM on April 6, 2005


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