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April 06, 2006

Comments

Jordan

Naive Jimmy Akin, why can't you just accept the logical explanation, which is that JPII was secretly a Mason and used this act of iterreligious osculation to signal that he hated the Latin Mass and rejects all Tradition before Vatican II?

Inocencio

Anyone interested in Dave Armstrong's discussion of Pope John Paul II kissing the koran can find it here.

http://web.archive.org/web/20030604152818/http://ic.net/~erasmus/RAZ394.HTM

Tim J.

"Fortunately, the infallibility of the pope and the indefectibility of the Church do not extend to such actions."

You mean, this can't be used as a proof that everything since Vatican II is invalid and constitutes an abandonment of the faith?

This isn't a decisive blow for sedevacantism?

Next thing you know, you'll be telling us that those who eat chicken flavored ramen noodles on Fridays during Lent won't be going straight to hell.

Spacemouse

1) The Quran does contain some elements of truth (as well as grave elements of falsehood) and he might have wanted to honor the elements of truth it contains.

2) Showing respect in this way could foster world peace and interreligious harmony.

And then there's option 3, which in a way combines the two:

3) One can respect a person or a book without believing it to be true, because respect is not an attitude limited towards truth claims (which point 1 seems to assume, perhaps inadvertently). One can respect sincerity, zeal, and religious faith even if all of it is misdirected. Further, one may respect a literary work which conveys these elements even if one feels that the literary work is fundamentally false. (In other words, we don't have to agree with George Eliot's non-theistic humanism to respect Adam Bede, a book intended to teach these values. Our respect for the book may have nothing to do with its truth claims.)

Respect directed at the Qu'ran may ultimately be respect directed at the faith, the zeal, etc. that it represents, not at the partial truths it may or may not complain. And in this sense, I don't think that showing respect to the Qu'ran is actually a mistake. There is much to respect about Islam, even if one doesn't agree with it.

What was unfortunate about the kissing of the Qu'ran, then, was not that it was a mistake for JPII to show respect, but that his action was so open to misinterpretation. Part of this undoubtedly stems from the fact that for Christians, kissing the Bible DOES indicate respect for its divine inspiration, not just respect for it as a witness to human faith. So, if this were JPII's motive (not that we know), I'd say that the specific gesture he used was unfortunate, but that the desire to show respect for the text as a way of showing respect for the faith and good-will of many who revere the book was not a mistake.

SDG

Very thorough, carefully thought-out, scupulously honest, both charitable and uncompromising. Must have been hard to write this one. Muchos kudos.

SDG

There is much to respect about Islam, even if one doesn't agree with it.

What was unfortunate about the kissing of the Qu'ran, then, was not that it was a mistake for JPII to show respect, but that his action was so open to misinterpretation.

"Misinterpretation" is a slippery word. If I decide to use a word with a familiar, widely understood meaning, while personally choosing without explanation to use this word to mean something quite different, I cannot then suggest that those who take the word in the familiar, widely understood sense have "misinterpreted" me. I can't even say that my usage was "open to misinterpretation." It would be more honest to say that I misused the word.

When a priest kisses the book of the gospel, or when a Catholic kisses a crucifix, holy medals, or other sacramentals, we all know what such a gesture means. Given that, IF the pope knowingly kissed the Koran, that seems to me an essentially a false and scandalous gesture, whatever meaning such an action (again, IF the pope did it, and knowingly) may have had in his own mind.

anonymouse

Could be good for a picture caption of the week picture.

"I'm not sure what this stain is, it kind of smells like bacon."

JJ

Well handled, Jimmy. A fair and nonbiased (to either side) analysis. Bravo.

John

Um, I see no radtrads in the blog entry or the comments box. Why are y'all early commenters spouting venom?

arthur

Fortunately, the infallibility of the pope and the indefectibility of the Church do not extend to such actions.

Like the man who was present said, "It would confirm the faith of Christians and prove the Pope's love for the whole of humanity".

The infallibility of love is what counts.

Rosemarie

+J.M.J+

>>>Still, the pope may have been under the mistaken impression that this was the appropriate thing to do when receiving a gift in their culture. He can't be an expert on every culture in the world, and he could get this wrong.

A Coptic (Egyptian) Catholic friend of ours explained that kissing a gift as a gesture of respect to the giver is a custom in the Middle East. It's possible that the custom is more common in Egypt than Iraq, though. I think your surmise is plausible.

As for his attitude toward Islam, didn't the former Pontiff say something less-than-flattering about it in _Crossing the Threshhold of Hope_?

In Jesu et Maria,

Tim J.

"Fortunately, the infallibility of the pope and the indefectibility of the Church do not extend to such actions."

John,

You are absolutely correct. I beg your pardon. This is something I am praying about. It is so easy to lapse into uncharity when one is banging away at a keyboard, rather than talking face to face.

Mea Culpa.

Tim J.

Sorry, that last post (my apology) was in response to this from John;

" Why are y'all early commenters spouting venom?"

The other quote was still floating around on my clipboard, I guess.

Jason

I don't see anything wrong with him kissing the Koran. Some people may choose not to do so, for prudential reasons, and I respect that. But the Koran is at heart a good back. I can read the Koran and draw much inspiration and spiritual encouragement from it. Does it also bear elements of a vehement disagreement with some Christian doctrines? Yes. Does it contain accounts of history that may not be wholly moral? Yes. But it is no more a depraved book than the Talmud. Kissing is a sign of respect, and I could say I do respect the Koran as a holy book, although I don't believe it to be A holy book (in the sense that the Bible is), just as Pope Benedict can have a sincere respect for Martin Luther, even though he was a heretic. Would we react in horror if a Catholic gave Martin Luther a kiss?

Tim J.

"Yes. But it is no more a depraved book than the Talmud"

Huh?

Jason

Should read: "...at heart a good BOOK"

Jason

"Huh?"

Some people lambaste the Talmud as a depraved book, because it was written by post-Christian Jews. But the Talmud is at heart a good book of Jewish spirituality, just as the Koran is at heart a good book of Muslim spirituality. It's not perfect, no. But we don't have to make it out to be "The Satanic Bible". John Paul praises its titles for God in "Crossing the Threshold of Hope".

Maureen

Iraq is not, at heart, an Arab country. There are Bedouins and other folks of Arab descent who live there, but most of Iraqi culture comes from the old Persian Empire. (Iran, the Kurds, and Afghanistan are also heavily influenced by the old Persian stuff.) They pronounce Arabic very differently than most of the Middle East does (and a lot of folks speak Farsi or Aramaic or other languages, anyway). If you add that there's been a lot of separation for a long time between Sunni and Shiite, it shouldn't be surprising that customs would differ a lot.

tim

jason, are you serious?

BillyHW

But the Koran is at heart a good back. I can read the Koran and draw much inspiration and spiritual encouragement from it.

I felt the exact same way. I mean, who can read the following and not get warm fuzzy, spine-tingly feelings of inspiration?

"They ask the (O Muhammed) of the spoils of war. Say: The spoils of war belong to Allah and the messenger..."

Jeb Protestant

This is one of the reasons that I can't take much of Catholic apologetics seriously.

If Martin Luther or John Calvin had kissed a copy of the Koran, we protestants wouldn't hear the end of it.

If Karl Rahner, Hans Kung or Richard McBrien had kissed the Koran, that would have been proof of their liberalism.

But if JP the Great kisses the Koran (assuming he knowingly did) well it's not such a big deal.

Doesn't this sound like moral relatavism (sic) to you? It sure does to me.

Give me a break.

Jason

I felt the exact same way. I mean, who can read the following and not get warm fuzzy, spine-tingly feelings of inspiration?

Why does that offend you? Do non-Christians have to believe in Jesus to appreciate the Bible as an inspirational book of literature? Do non-Jews have to believe that God would slaughter first-born children to appreciate much of what the Old Testament has to offer?

Jeb,

If you read in the Koran that "Allah" had slaughtered the first-born of a nation, or commanded Mohammed to "utterly destroy them, make no covenant with them, and show no mercy to them" (Deut 7), would you not recoil in horror? But because the Bible says it, we control our natural reaction. Why? Because we believe the Bible is credible. EVERYONE explains away "hard passages" when it comes to their own faith. They may be right, they may be wrong. But it's not dishonest to do so. If you believe in something, you are going to try to reconcile it as best you can.

tim,

Yes, I am serious.

From the beginning of the Koran:

In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful.

All praise is due to Allah, the Lord of the Worlds.

The Beneficent, the Merciful.

Master of the Day of Judgment.

Thee do we serve and Thee do we beseech for help.
Keep us on the right path.

The path of those upon whom Thou hast bestowed favors. Not (the path) of those upon whom Thy wrath is brought down, nor of those who go astray.

Why couldn't I draw the same kind of inspiration from this I would from Plato or Shakespeare? I don't necessarily agree with everything they've written.


Scott W.

This is one of the reasons that I can't take much of Catholic apologetics seriously.

If Martin Luther or John Calvin had kissed a copy of the Koran, we protestants wouldn't hear the end of it.

If Karl Rahner, Hans Kung or Richard McBrien had kissed the Koran, that would have been proof of their liberalism.

But if JP the Great kisses the Koran (assuming he knowingly did) well it's not such a big deal.

Doesn't this sound like moral relatavism (sic) to you? It sure does to me.

Give me a break.

Care to actually interact with some of Jimmy's points or can we just chalk this up to the usual worthless meta-analysis?

Tim J.

"If Karl Rahner, Hans Kung or Richard McBrien had kissed the Koran, that would have been proof of their liberalism."

In that case, it would have been FURTHER proof of their liberalism. Context is everything, or do you think we should judge JPII by this incident in isolation?

Did you hear that Billy Graham recently (apparently) endorsed Hillary Clinton as President? Do I judge him by this statement, or by his whole life's work? Isn't it prudent to evaluate it in the context of the positions he has taken consistently in the past?

I'd allow that he and JPII are allowed a few aberrations. Karl Rahnern, Hans Kung and the rest don't need to kiss the Q'uran to prove their liberalism. It is evident in everything they do.

Jeb Protestant

Tim J,

Ok, let's leave Rahner et al out of it. (Although since Rahner has been rehabilitated by the Vatican I don't know by what grounds you consider him a liberal.)

What if Martin Luther or John Calvin had done this -- wouldn't this have been exhibit A in any catholic apologists bag of tricks?

If "John Paul the Great" kissed the Book of Mormon or the New World Translation would you approve of it?

I don't think it was an aberration (consider the Assisi spectacles) but is it totally irrelevant? Why is JP II given a free pass?

Tim J.

"If "John Paul the Great" kissed the Book of Mormon or the New World Translation would you approve of it?"

Jeb-

Nobody said they approved of it. Where did you get that idea? Jimmy said it was a mistake. I agree. That does not mean that anyone ought to therefore be able to use it to smear the entire pontificate of JPII.

You seem to be very willing to use it as a handy club with which to beat JPII, and then rail about how we would do the same thing if it were a Prot or a Lib.

Please read Jimmy's post again. Neither he, nor anyone else excused it. It bothers a lot of Catholics. It bothers me, but I will not judge the man by this one incident.

Eileen R

NOt that I'm about to go around Koran kissing, but Jason does have some good points. There really are parts of the Koran that are very beautiful reflections on God, inspired in large part by the culture's contacts with Judaism and Christianity.

Of course, there are also really long boring parts, and questionable parts, and then some really more long boring parts.

Eileen R

Oh, I see someone's brought the Book of Mormon into it. I've read both, and the Koran is actually an authentic literatry product of its time.

The Book of Mormon is a guy trying to write a book that sounds like the Bible.

The Koran's an authentic religious expression. The Book of Mormon is a hoax, even if we respect Mormons.

I wouldn't kiss either, as stated above, but they're not equivalents.

bill912

Scott W: I think his answer to your question is "No".

Tim J.

Reading the Q'uran for inspiration reminds me of the dad who wanted to teach his kids a lesson about the kind of movies and shows they watched.

They sometimes wanted to watch programs and movies that had foul language or nudity, and would defend it by saying "Well, there is only a little nudity. Most of the movie is okay.".

One day the dad made a big batch of brownies, and the delicious smell went through the whole house.

The kids were ready to dig in, when the dad said "Oh, you ought to know, I put some dog poop in there.".

The kids were disgusted and indignant that he had ruined the brownies.

Then, looking surprised, the dad said "But, it was only a tiny bit. Most of them should be fine.".

Tim J.

Actually, I see a lot of similarities between the whole Mormon thing and Islam.

The Q'uran is also cobbled together from other religions.

Jeb Protestant

Tim J,

I'm not saying you or Jimmy approved of it. I do find the willingess to overlook it curious. As I pointed out, no Catholic would overlook it if Luther or Calvin did it.

In fact, with respect to JP II I think the man did try pretty consistently to downplay to the uniqueness of Christianity. The Assisi events are one example. The whole dispute about whether he was annointed as a priest of Shiva (or whatever it was) in India is another. His statements about hell were rather nebulous as well.

JP II did some admirable things. I commend him for his stand against homosexuality and abortion. But when it came to an unambigous message about the need for conversion to Jesus Christ, he was quite lacking.

SDG

What if Martin Luther or John Calvin had done this -- wouldn't this have been exhibit A in any catholic apologists bag of tricks?

Um, no.

What would that prove? Only that Luther and Calvin were fallible men who made mistakes and errors in judgment, sometimes bad ones. Luther and Calvin themselves would say the same, as would all good Lutherans and Calvinists. No controversy there.

Catholic apologetics is fundamentally positive, not negative. Bashing the Reformers could never be exhibit A. Exhibit A is always going to be why Catholicism is true, not why Protestantism is false.

paul zummo

I do find the willingess to overlook it curious.

Funny how the willingness to overlook it included writing an entire blogpost about it.

Spacemouse

If I decide to use a word with a familiar, widely understood meaning, while personally choosing without explanation to use this word to mean something quite different, I cannot then suggest that those who take the word in the familiar, widely understood sense have "misinterpreted" me.

You can if you're Alphonsus Ligouri. ;-) It's called equivocation. It isn't sinful in all circumstances, at least not according to some of the most beloved Catholic moral theologians.

More seriously, even with the list of items you mention, does kissing them really mean the same thing? Kissing the icon of a saint is not the same as kissing a Bible (one is a representative of a member of the communion of saints, and one is the written word of God) and neither of those is at all the same as kissing your pet or your infant nephew.

I do see your point, but I think it depends on the idea that kissing such an object could only have one primary meaning, and I'm not sure that's true.

Still, I do agree that it was an unfortunate gesture to use.

Jason

The kids were ready to dig in, when the dad said "Oh, you ought to know, I put some dog poop in there.".

The kids were disgusted and indignant that he had ruined the brownies.

That's a cute story, but not exactly a good philosophy for life.

To quote Pope Pius XII: "The Church has never held the doctrine of the pagans in contempt, but purified it from all error and crowned it with Christian wisdom."

By your logic, we shouldn't read Origen, or even St. Thomas Aquinas, since he argued against the Immaculate Conception, which is now a dogma. We might eat that poop and die! :P

(Sorry for the multiple posts, Jimmy. This will be my last.)

Rosemarie

+J.M.J+

Here's what JPG actually had to say about the Koran:

Whoever knows the Old and New Testaments, and then reads the Koran, clearly sees the process by which it completely reduces Divine Revelation. It is impossible not to note the movement away from what God said about Himself, first in the Old Testament through the Prophets, and then finally in the New Testament through His Son. In Islam all the richness of God's self-revelation, which constitutes the heritage of the Old and New Testaments, has definitely been set aside.

Some of the most beautiful names in the human language are given to the God of the Koran, but He is ultimately a God outside of the world, a God who is only Majesty, never Emmanuel, God-with-us. Islam is not a religion of redemption. There is no room for the Cross and the Resurrection. Jesus is mentioned, but only as a prophet who prepares for the last prophet, Muhammad. There is also mention of Mary, His Virgin Mother, but the tragedy of redemption is completely absent. For this reason not only the theology but also the anthropology of Islam is very distant from Christianity.

From Crossing the Threshhold of Hope, pp.92-93.

We have to look at the Koran-kissing incident in the light of the Pontiff's personal attitude toward that book. He obviously does not consider it equal to the Bible, so his gesture must clearly mean something else.

In Jesu et Maria,

Tim J.

"That's a cute story, but not exactly a good philosophy for life."

Okay, Jason. It's just a story, and not presented as anything else.

But it does make my point. You may find some worthy things in the Q'uran, but I maintain that you will find absolutely nothing of value in it that is not better and more fully expressed in the Holy Scriptures.

Why go out for hamburger when you have steak at home?

Mike S

The answer may be in JP2's May 5, 1999 general audience speech (http://www.ewtn.com/library/papaldoc/jp2muslm.htm)

Alan Phipps

We have to look at the Koran-kissing incident in the light of the Pontiff's personal attitude toward that book. He obviously does not consider it equal to the Bible, so his gesture must clearly mean something else.

Thank you for posting that, Rosemarie. You hit the nail squarely on the head.

Francis DS

One more thought. Did the Pope REALLY kiss the book or did he just pretend to kiss the book? (something like just touching the tip of his nose to the book).

My opinion is that he was caught between committing an act of disrespect (in an ecumenical mission), and an act that may be criticised by fellow Christians, and at the spur of the moment decided to act in a way that would offend Christians rather than Muslims, since we are supposed to be the more understandable and forgiving sort of people.

Those of us who've lived in non-Christian countries would have had similar experiences when attending a social event composed of people with a different religion. Do I eat meat consecrated to idols or not?

NonAnonymous

The way I remember this was explained by Vatican spokemen almost immediately after it happened, was that John Paul was kissing the book for the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary that it contained.

Kevin Miller

I was going to say, but someone else above has pretty much said it, that it's silly to think that if you really look at JPII's actions as a whole, you don't get a clear witness to the Gospel of Jesus Christ. You can begin with his very first encyclical, out just a few months after his election - The Redeemer of Man - and work your way forward.

Stefan of the North

I wonder if this kiss, much like the apologies to all the people wronged by the Church over the centuries, was not an act of charity from the Pope. Just an idea, but I remember these things bothering me too, and I wondered what the Pope would say if I asked him: "Holiness, why?" Might he not smile and say, "Must a man deserve an apology if it serves peace?" Sort of a turning the other cheek thing.

After all, I'm sure the apostles were all shocked and asking the questions above (it: What is He DOING??) when Christ allowed himself to be taken, put on trial, scourged, crucified. It was that surpeme caritas of which only God is capable. Perhaps kissing a koran is something like that.

Heather

Hmmm Well seems that Jimmy is like an ostrich, and Jason seems to suffering same myopia.

Jimmy: This is the pope who has the distinction of being the first pope to pray in a Muslime mosque. He invoked the blessing of St. John the Baptist over "Islam." He made numerous addresses and speeches to the Muslim people, always encouraging them to continue make their contribution to "a new human family"

He knew what the Quran was. He knew what it contained. He kissed it with full knowledge and intention, because he valued what Islam and Catholicism shared in common.

[No one knows why JPII kissed the Koran, and he never made his reasons public while he was alive.]

That's precisely where I disagree. This might be true if no one had ever heard of JP2 before, if no one knew anything about him, if we were just shown this picture of a man kissing the Quran and were made to answer "why is this man kissing this book?"

Then it might be charitable to pile up the excuses - maybe he didn't know what book it was, maybe he was mistaken about how to show a gesture of thanksgiving in that culture, maybe he was completely clueless, etc.

But we're not in the dark on JP2. All of his other interactions with Islam - and there were plenty of them - show us without a shadow of doubt that he knew what he was doing, and had reasons for doing it. Over and over again he commended Muslims for their belief in "the one God," and encouraged them to live well in their own religion, to make a contribution to the "new human family" and the cause of world peace. He constantly made reference to the things shared in common by our two religions - and all of this shows us exactly what his mindset towards Islam was.

All of his actions and gestures would lead us to expect that he would kiss the Quran if ever given the chance, because he venerates it as a holy book belonging to a praise-worthy religion.

I'll let John Paul II have the last word:

Quote:
Christians and Moslems, we meet one another in faith in the one God, our creator, our guide, our just and merciful judge. We strive to put into practice in our daily lives the will of God, following the teaching of our respective holy books. (Documentation Catholique, Jul. 7, 1985)

And Jason, the Talmud was NOT written by "post Christian Jews" (what kind of term is THAT??!) It was compiled by anger Pharisees and Saduchees who were bereft at the loss of more of their Jewish community to Christianity. Let's look at a section from the Talmud that you so greatly respect: verse 5:4 of the tractate Niddah. 'it is like a finger in eye' Rabbi Litman explains what it means: "This refers to the hymen of a girl younger than three years old. The Sages believed that in the case of toddler rape, the hymen would fully grow back by the time the girl reached adulthood and married. Therfore, though violated, she would still technically be counted as a virgin and could marry a priest. It's an analogy: poking your finger in the eye is uncomortable, but causes no lasting harm."

Oh! Let's not forget what the Talmud says about Our Mother:

Tract Kallah, 1b:

"Once when the Elders were seated at the Gate, two young men passed by, one of whom had his head covered, the other with his head bare. Rabbi Eliezer remarked that the one in his bare head was illegitimate, a mamzer. Rabbi Jehoschua said that he was conceived during menstruation, ben niddah. Rabbi Akibah, however, said that he was both. Whereupon the others asked Rabbi Akibah why he dared to contradict his colleagues. He answered that he could prove what he said. He went therefore to the boy's mother whom he saw sitting in the market place selling vegetables and said to her: 'My daughter, if you will answer truthfully what I am going to ask you, I promise that you will be saved in the next life.' She demanded that he would swear to keep his promise, and Rabbi Akibah did so—but with his lips only, for in his heart he invalidated his oath. Then he said: 'Tell me, what kind of son is this of yours'? To which she replied: 'The day I was married I was having menstruation, and because of this my husband left me. But an evil spirit came and slept with me and from this intercourse my son was born to me.' Thus it was proved that this young man was not only illegitimate but also conceived during the menstruation of his mother. And when his questioners heard this they declared: 'Great indeed was Rabbi Akibah when he corrected his Elders'! And they exclaimed: 'Blessed be the Lord God of Israel who revealed his secret to Rabbi Akibah the son of Joseph' "

Must I continue??

People let's get our heads out of the sand and see things for what they really are: a spiritual battle between good and evil. Satan has and will continue to use Judaism and anything else Islam, etc to be tools, instruments to wage war against us that believe in the One, True, Apostolic church that Christ instituted in whatever way he can. Don't fall for it!

Francis:

"4: Hence, as to the eating of food offered to idols, we know that "an idol has no real existence," and that "there is no God but one." For although there may be so-called gods in heaven or on earth -- as indeed there are many "gods" and many "lords" -- yet for us there is one God, the Father, from whom are all things and for whom we exist, and one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom are all things and through whom we exist. However, not all possess this knowledge. But some, through being hitherto accustomed to idols, eat food as really offered to an idol; and their conscience, being weak, is defiled. Food will not commend us to God. We are no worse off if we do not eat, and no better off if we do. Only take care lest this liberty of yours somehow become a stumbling block to the weak. For if any one sees you, a man of knowledge, at table in an idol's temple, might he not be encouraged, if his conscience is weak, to eat food offered to idols? And so by your knowledge this weak man is destroyed, the brother for whom Christ died. Thus, sinning against your brethren and wounding their conscience when it is weak, you sin against Christ. Therefore, if food is a cause of my brother's falling, I will never eat meat, lest I cause my brother to fall." (1 Cor 8:4-13)

It's clear from this passage that eating meat consecrated to idols is fine, unless you cause scandal to your brethren in such case you should abstain. Thus in the case you're talking about you could eat it and not sin.

Heather I would laugh at your nonsense if I wasn't sad at such a display of hate and bitterness...

Alan Phipps

It's times like this when I remember Catechism #2478:

2478 To avoid rash judgment, everyone should be careful to interpret insofar as possible his neighbor's thoughts, words, and deeds in a favorable way:

"Every good Christian ought to be more ready to give a favorable interpretation to another's statement than to condemn it. But if he cannot do so, let him ask how the other understands it. And if the latter understands it badly, let the former correct him with love. If that does not suffice, let the Christian try all suitable ways to bring the other to a correct interpretation so that he may be saved" - St. Ignatius of Loyola, Spiritual Exercises, 22.

In light of what our late Holy Father has written about Islam, how can we not interpret this action in the context of the man's life and public teaching? Do we really want to reduce the sum of his teaching down to the worst possible explanation of one action. I would expect the media to do that, because the media has no memory. But we are Catholic Christians. Let us especially remember this during Lent (myself included).

Alan Phipps

Sorry, that last paragraph should not have been in italics!

Rosemarie

+J.M.J+

The "finger in eye" statement in the Talmud is not meant to justify child-rape, just to rule that a girl violated against her will should still be considered a virgin for the sake of the marriage dowry later in life. A virgin's dowry was higher than that of a non-virgin, so the rabbis were saying that child molestation should not be held against a victim.

They were in no way saying that it wasn't a crime to molest a girl. The Talmud strictly forbids sex outside of marriage, and raping a three year-old girl certainly qualifies as such.

As for the second statement, it does not refer to Christ, but to another "prophet" named Yeshu who lived around 100 AD. After all, Rabbi Akibah lived from c. 50 AD to 135 AD - he was not alive at the time of Our Lord!

In Jesu et Maria,

Tim J.

Thanks, Marie.

Imparting the worst possible interpretation and motives to the text doesn't really help in trying to understand other faiths.

Romulus

He obviously does not consider it equal to the Bible, so his gesture must clearly mean something else.

Rosemarie: Yes, it means JP2 was a bit of a ham, and was not immune to the temptation to showboat.

Tim

Maybe he was just trying to read some fine print on the cover! ;-)

Romulus

Heather it's an unfortunate fact that the Talmud does contain a number of veiled statements, ranging from criticisms to outright slurs, against Jesus and Our Lady. It's not hard to find educated Jews who'll acknowledge this -- some with regret, others not. It strikes me as not inconsistent with the historical tension between Christians and Jews, which on both sides has seen intemperate remarks and even libelous myths. It's well past the time we put all this behind us, but there's no use pretending it never existed.

Tim M.

"It's clear from this passage that eating meat consecrated to idols is fine, unless you cause scandal to your brethren in such case you should abstain. Thus in the case you're talking about you could eat it and not sin."


except like everything in the Bible it is not to be read or understood outside of context or only within it's own pericope.

So, sure, Paul here says it's ok to eat meat sacrificed to idols, if understood from only this statement. But taken with other statements from Scripture, say, like ACTS 15:(23-)28-29, which is the summation of the First Council of the Church at Jerusalem:

"28
'It is the decision of the holy Spirit and of us not to place on you any burden beyond these necessities,
29
namely, to abstain from meat sacrificed to idols, from blood, from meats of strangled animals, and from unlawful marriage. If you keep free of these, you will be doing what is right. Farewell.'"

Rosemarie

+J.M.J+

>>>Yes, it means JP2 was a bit of a ham, and was not immune to the temptation to showboat.

A "ham"? Showboating? I don't see where you're coming from.

>>>Heather it's an unfortunate fact that the Talmud does contain a number of veiled statements, ranging from criticisms to outright slurs, against Jesus and Our Lady.

Yes, there are a few such passages in the Talmud, even as there are some nasty statments about Jews in the Patristic writings. Both sides were unfortunately rotten to each other. Yet the majority of Talmud texts that anti-Semites claim refer to Our Lord and Our Lady actually refer to other people, including some false prophets like the biblical Balaam and the aforementioned Yeshu who lived seventy years after Our Lord's Ascension.

In Jesu et Maria,

J. R. Stoodley

John Paul II was a great man and a great Pope. He had the balance to acknowledge what is legitimate in other religions while not denying the uniqueness of Christianity. Furthermore he was the Vicar of Christ chosen by God from all eternity to shepard His churuch in this dark time. Let's not haggle over obscure actions of his and claim that they do or do not dicredit him. Let's not condemn generous deeds with cold logic.

The purpose of Christianity is to bring human beings into communion with God their Creator. Other religions are generally an attempt to find God, and will always contain much good, or at least imitations of good, even pagen religions. Islam is not a pagan religion but a monotheistic one heavily influenced by Christianity and Judaism. It is imperfect, contains errors, was founded by a precursor of the antichrist I'd even say, but still contains much good.

It is in the spirit of rationalism that so pervades modern culture that we feel comfortable analyzing every act and teaching of the successors of the Apostles, demanding credentials and complete consistency, and forming strong opinions based on hearsay and some books one has read.

How about if we accept authority for what it is, give the benefit of the doubt to anything we find difficult, and seek conversion and deeper union with God for ourselves and others.

Jeanetta

I was going to say, but someone else above has pretty much said it, that it's silly to think that if you really look at JPII's actions as a whole, you don't get a clear witness to the Gospel of Jesus Christ. You can begin with his very first encyclical, out just a few months after his election - The Redeemer of Man - and work your way forward.

Amen. A certain noncatholic troll does with JPII exactly what fundamentalists do to the Bible - take individual events or lines completely out of the wider context of history and tradition. This is the same troll who attacks Mother Teresa for similar reasons. Everyone above who answered him did a marvelous job, but you're flogging a dead horse. It ain't going nowhere.

Might be best to let it go. As philosopher Elizabeth Anscombe said in another context (paraphrased),

"When confronted with a person who really thinks it a live moral issue whether [JP II and Mother Teresa are good Christians]. . . the right thing to do is to walk away rather than argue; for such a person shows evidence of a corrupt mind."

bill912

Your last paragraph is excellent advice, Jeanetta. (I gotta remember to follow it).

Joseph D'Hippolito

As one of those who criticized the late pope heavily for kissing the Koran, I have several ideas why:

1. JPII viewed Islam as a useful ally against Communism and secularism, even to the extent of ignoring the plight of Christian minorities in Muslim nations. He also believed that ecumenical dialogue would prevent the kind of WWII-like "clash of civilizations" that he feared. Don't believe that? Then read the following:

http://www.frontpagemag.com/articles/ReadArticle.asp?ID=11662

2. Many Christian intellectuals, tired of secularism and individualism, admired Islam's focus on the transcendent -- to the point of ignoring or denying the legitimate theological differences between the two faiths. Alain Besancon, a French Catholic historian, makes this case in his Commentary magazine article from 2004, "What Kind Of Religion is Islam?"

Influencing that attitude was the work of European scholar Louis Massignon, who popularized the ideas of the Koran as a kind of biblical revelation and of Muslims as being among Abraham's spiritual children.

"An entire literature favorable to Islam has grown up in Europe," Besancon wrote, "much of it the work of Catholic priests under the sway of Massignon's ideas."

Obviously, JPII was aware of these intellectual currents and likely embraced them personally.

3. A kind of sentimental ecumenism exists among many Christian leaders. Cardinal Law displayed such sentimentality when he bowed toward Mecca and prayed to Allah in a suburban mosque in 2002, then told the congregants:

"I feel very much at home with my fellow fundamentalists here, who are convinced that God must be at the center of our lives (Boston Globe, Nov. 25, 2002)."

4. European Catholicism and Islam have had a very cozy relationship -- too cozy, according to Oriana Fallaci in her latest, The Force Of Reason. In that book, she describes how Catholic bishops gave churches and schools to Muslims, only in one case to see one of the facilities burned down. Catholic social-service agencies also helped Muslim immigrants avoid legal deportation.

JPII's Koran kissing isn't an isolated incident but a very calculated reflection of his own geopolitical and theological agendas, as well as of intellecutal currents within European
Catholicism.

Joseph D'Hippolito

One more point: If none of you believe me, then ask yourselves this question: Why is Pope Benedict's approach to Islam so different from JPII's?

michael hugo

Can anyone say for sure what JPII’s position was on UNIVERSAL SALVATION?

I’ve read at least twenty documents where his position sounds very…uh…not Catholic. But if you take Universal Salvation to its logical conclusion, why not kiss the Koran? It’s all good.

Could this be another reason for “the kiss”?

michael hugo

Jimmy's treatment is, as usual, sober and reasoned. And very fair.

Some of the comments here, on the other hand, are not. There is some needlessly uncharitable Trad bashing.

One doesn't have to be a Sedanvacantist or RadTrad to question the prudence of JPII's kiss (as Jimmy demonstrates). This is because there have been MANY other strange messages implicitly communicated by the Church over the last 40+ years, most of which was on JPII's watch. It is against this backdrop of seemingly consistent message of indifferentism that “the kiss” is interpreted. So, while Jimmy does a valiant effort at explaining this ONE event, it ignores the broader context of confusion regarding issues like “salvation outside the church”, ecumenism and inter-religious dialogue.

I speak from experience on this, because it has taken me YEARS of reading and research to actually figure out what the Church believes about these issues. You can’t go to one source about this, because the answers you get are, themselves, usually vague or inconsistent. Even the Catechism is cagey on this issue, as if it is trying to satisfy people with differing opinions.

This "Koran Kiss" has to be seen in the context of, for example, the Assisi debacle. Here is an article by Magister about the confusion that fiasco caused.

http://www.chiesa.espressonline.it/dettaglio.jsp?id=19632&eng=y

In short, I would simply like to suggest that this one event is difficult to interpret without considering a broader context. And the broader context is even more confusing.

I'm sure JPII was a deeply holy man, and I am not. I wouldn't presume to stand in judgement of him on any level. That being said, I am much happier with PBXVI at the helm.

michael hugo

Joseph,

Wow. Well said. I agree. Here is one more thought:

From the Council of Carthage (a.d. 298)

“None must either pray or sing psalms with heretics; and whosoever shall communicated with those who are cut off from the Communion of the Church, whether clergymen or laic, let him be excommunicated.” (Coun. Carth. Iv 72 and 73) 18

And again, I would strongly, STRONGLY, suggest reading this article:

http://www.chiesa.espressonline.it/dettaglio.jsp?id=19632&eng=y

You are right. Cdl. Ratzinger was NOT happy with the whole Assisi travesty. I have read that is was he, not JPII, that pushed for the release of "Iesus Dominus", in part because of the confusion that reigned during JPII's pontificate.

Joseph D'Hippolito

Michael, many thanks for your complements.

Rosemarie

+J.M.J+

Well, I'm posting the following link which answers these objections against JPG according to the sensus Catholicus which we should all have:

http://www.saint-mike.org/apologetics/qa/answers/faith_spirituality/f0212120050.html

Though, judging from past experience, I won't be surprised if Joe D' cusses me out for defending JPG.

In Jesu et Maria,

ByzantineCatho

I was Orthodox and I'm Eastern Catholic now. Pope John Paul the Great lead me do Catholicism. I'm sure he's a saint!

Inquisitor Generalis

Why is it so difficult for people to admit that JPII was a rotten pope? He was hands down the worst one ever.

J. R. Stoodley

Inquisitor Generalis

Do you want to let Benedict IX off so easily, or John XII?

Seriously, you discredit yourself by making such a statement. In fact I'm not sure it is not a prank. To not see that Pope John Paul II was a man of great prayer and devotion to God and the Blessed Mother, who shepherded the Church in a difficult time with courage, and to the best of his ability, is to show either ignorance or spiritual blindness.

J. R. Stoodley

so does your pseudonym

bill912

It's not a prank, JR. In the past, IG has posted that he cannot think of JPG without going into a rage. Rages have neither logic nor IQs. Pray for IG.

J. R. Stoodley

I shall.

Joseph D'Hippolito

Rosemarie, I will not curse you out for defending JPII. I am not your husband...

Now, just what was the response to somebody who questioned JPII's actions? I quote from the link Rosemarie cited:

If you do not understand something the pope does then the problem is NOT with the Pope, but with you.

A good Catholic will presume that the Pope is doing the right thing and will ask himself "what am I not understanding".

As I mentioned in the last post, it is the Magisterium of the Church who are the official interpretors of all Church documents and other writings concerning the faith. The Magisterium has the official teaching charism from the Holy Spirit, not you.

You are going down a dangerous road son, a road that will lead YOU to schism and heresy. The tone and presumptions of your statement show that you are approaching these things from what I call a "Hermeneutics of Opposition". That means that you tend to automatically interpret the Pope, for example, as doing something wrong.

Son, we are to give the presumption IN FAVOR of the Pope and Magisterium and NOT presume error. The error is in us, not them on official matters of teaching.

Jesus in Matt 23:2 states that the Pharasees who were corrupt and hypocrites were to be OBEYED nevertheless when they sit on the "chair of Moses". When the Pope sits on the chair of Peter he is to be obeyed. When the Church declares dogma we are to believe, when the Church declares authoritative teaching we are to give it the presumption that it is correct.

"Do not look to your own understanding" God tells us in the bible.

I will put it plainly. You are incompetent to judge the Pope and Magisterium on these issues.

Mortify your ego and have faith. This attitude of yours shows a profound lack of faith that Jesus does not tell lies. Jesus gave the POPE and MAGISTERIUM the charism to validly interpret the faith, not you or me. Is Jesus a liar when he says that the gates of hell will not prevail against the church?

The Church has survived corrupt popes and bishops but NEVER has the official teaching on faith and morals been corrupted -- NEVER.

Stop backseat driving the Church. You just are not up to the job, and neither am I or anyone else except God's appointed Pope and Magisterium in union with him.

English translations: Turn your brain off. Don't ask serious questions. Don't notice serious inconsistencies or discrepancies. Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain. Etc.

Such admontions turn Catholicism into a personality cult on the level of Nazism (Hitler), Communism (Lenin, Stalin, Mao, Castro, Kim Il-Sung, etc.), Islam (Mohammed, Khomeini and various imams), Scientology (L. Ron Hubbard) or any other such ideology. They are insults not only to the faithful but also to the admonition in Scripture that calls upon the Christians to "test the spirits" and to Christ's declaration, "You shall know them by their works."

Besides, the accurate translation of the passage in Matthew is, "Listen to what they say but do not follow their example." Christ's comment reflects several issues:

1. Christ was not going to suggest outright rebellion against the religious leaders of his day. He knew they were out to get Him, so He was not going to give them any more ammunition than necessary, certainly not until it was time for Him to allow Himself to be handed over to them.

2. Christ was more of a master of irony than many Christians give him credit for being. If an authority's example is bankrupt, how can his words have any meaning? Just look at Cardinal Roger Mahony.

Rosemarie, you are not offering a defense of JPII. You are offering the kind of blind, obsequeious submission that Catholic leaders have exploited for centuries to hide from accountability. Just look at the clerical sex-abuse crisis.

BTW, Inquisitor Generalis, JPII was far from being the Worst Pope Ever. I suggest you take a look at Alexander VI, for starters.

Inocencio

Joseph D'Hippolito,

Please read da rulz of Jimmy's Blog.

#3. Also because of the format restrictions, everyone must be concise. Don't go on at length about things. Pasting large amounts of text into the combox also counts as going on at length. Going on at length constitutes rudeness.

And I again recommend reading Dave Armstrong's discussion on the subject.

http://web.archive.org/web/20030604152818/http://ic.net/~erasmus/RAZ394.HTM

Take care and God bless,
Inocencio
J+M+J

Joseph D'Hippolito

Thank you, incencio. I'm new here and I didn't read the rules. I posted the entire italicized response to be fair to its creator and to avoid being accused of taking things out of context. Anyway, I shall try to be more concise next time.

Jeb Protestant

If Benedict XVI determined that catholics were dragging their feet on ecumenicalism and ordered all catholics to attend ecumenical services presided over by female protestant ministers, would catholics be obligated to obey?

Rosemarie

+J.M.J+

>>>Rosemarie, I will not curse you out for defending JPII. I am not your husband...

Well, my husband won't curse me out for defending JPII, either. :-)

The page I linked to did not call for blind, obsequeious submission in all things, just for obedience in matters of faith and morals. The brother did not say that we should lay down and play dead while bishops shuffle pedophile priests from parish to parish, just that we should submit to the Magisterium rather than becoming mini-magisteri unto ourselves. We shouldn't be privately interpreting Church documents to determine for ourselves whether a pope is in error/a heretic/etc. It is the Church's job to interpret her documents, and our job to assent to her official interpretation.

To extrapolate from that the notion that we should also allow certain bishops to abuse their office and let wolves prowl among the sheep is to take a huge leap of logic! Neither I nor the brother who wrote that response are proposing that.

In Jesu et Maria,

Rosemarie

+J.M.J+

>>>If Benedict XVI determined that catholics were dragging their feet on ecumenicalism and ordered all catholics to attend ecumenical services presided over by female protestant ministers, would catholics be obligated to obey?

B16 would never order Catholics to do something so pointless, which has nothing to with faith and morals anyway.

Besides, Protestant ministers - male or female - are not the same as Catholic priests because they lack Holy Orders (I speak generally, of course, because a few male ministers may also have valid holy orders - if they are ex-Catholic priests, for instance).

In this way, both male and female ministers are "in the same boat," to use an old cliche. If Catholics can attend the occasional ecumenical meeting with male Protestant ministers present, I don't see why they can't also attend one that involves a female minister - as long as no communio in sacris is involved.

In Jesu et Maria,

Tim J.

Jeb, don't start throwing around silly hypotheticals unless you want some thrown back at you.

I am happy to answer real questions, but that was just dopey.

Heck, I'll answer anyway; the Magisterium doesn't contradict itself. Catholics can never be REQUIRED to attend non-Catholic religious services. I'm pretty sure the Pope KNOWS this. If he were to take a fever and make such an announcement contradicting long-held Catholic doctrine, it would be spotted right away.

You are aware that Papal Infallibility doesn't extend to the pope's every word, aren't you? He can't just shoot from the hip, like that. He can't just come out and command that Catholics eat Cocoa Puffs for breakfast. You should already know this.

Joseph D'Hippolito

Rosemarie, I suggest you re-read the link you claim to be a defense of JPII's actions concerning ecumenism. If you read between the lines, the "brother" is really saying, "Don't question the Pope or the Magisterium, ever." The question then becomes, "How can Pope JPII perform actions that directly contradict previous church positions? Are those positions wrong or was JPII wrong? And are his actions in this regard, regardless of whether they're right or wrong, truly 'magisterial'?"

Besides, Rosemarie, I seriously doubt that the marytrs who gave their lives for refusing to covert to Islam would look very favorably upon any Pope who kisses a Koran.

+J.M.J+

Attempting to "read between the lines" can sometimes give a wrong impression. With respect, I think you are reading too much into what he wrote.

For instance, there is no mention whatsoever of the sex scandal, which you brought that up in your post above in criticizing him. There is actually a big difference between saying, "We must believe whatever the Pope and Magisterium officially teach as articles of faith" and "It's okie-dokie for individual bishops to protect predatory priests." The former is true, the latter is bunk. The latter does not proceed from the former. One can submit to Church teaching while decrying the Scandal.

Perhaps you should write the Brother and ask his opinion on these other matters?

The page is also not specifically about the Koran-kissing incident. It is just about whether JPG's ecumenism is licit according to official Church teaching. The questioner cites snippets of Church councils (including the one cited above by Michael Hugo), and asks whether the former Pontiff's teachings excommunicate him. The Brother answers the question at hand by basically saying, "You have no authority to interpret Church documents; that's the Magisterium's job, not yours." And he's right; we don't have the ability to interpret Church documents for ourselves.

That doesn't mean we have to agree with everything the Pope does. I'm not thrilled with the fact that the former Pontiff kissed the Koran; the gesture was widely misunderstood and used against him. But I want to come to a proper understanding of why he did it rather than attribute motives to him which he didn't in fact have.

I don't believe that JPG was perfect; this may very well have been a mistake on his part. Yet he was still my spiritual father so Christian charity demands that I give him the benefit of the doubt, that absent conclusive evidence I assume the best rather than the worst. St. Catherine of Siena rebuked a pope for his actions, but she still called him the "sweet Christ on earth." That is the proper Christian attitude.

In Jesu et Maria,

ByzantineCatho

"St. Catherine of Siena rebuked a pope for his actions, but she still called him the sweet Christ on earth. That is the proper Christian attitude..."

Thank you, Rosemarie!

St. Catherine of Siena, pray for us!


Tim J.

Thanks, indeed, Rosemarie.

My feelings exactly.

Inquisitor Generalis

"BTW, Inquisitor Generalis, JPII was far from being the Worst Pope Ever. I suggest you take a look at Alexander VI, for starters."

Alexander VI was a far, far better pope than JPII. If a pope were to restore the Church back to Her state when Alexander VI reigned, we wouldn't mind at all if he kept mistresses, engaged in bribery, or committed a few murders. All of these things are better than the sins of JPII.

Frere Ignatius

Whatever one can say about Alexander VI (he was actually one of our favorite popes, he bought the papacy with several wagons of silver, how nice is that!?!?) he was definitely doctrinally orthodox. That is questionable with JPII, however, to say the least.

bill912

IG: Still letting your feelings of rage against JPG do your thinking for you, I see.

Frere Ignatius: It is impossible to believe what you stated in your last sentence and be a Catholic. Our Lord assured us of that.

Inquisitor Generalis

Pfffffft... JPG? And you claim trads have no sense of history?

J. R. Stoodley

Hear Hear Rosemarie!

and here is a link that might be helpful in the issue of what is true orthodoxy, though it has much more to do with doctrinal teaching and infallability than actions.

www.catholic.net/RCC/Issues/Papal-Infallibility/papal-infallibility.html

I must admit I have not looked extensively into the credentials of the site or the author, but it looks good to me.

J. R. Stoodley

Are IG and Frere Ignatius the same person? Both seem to use the royal we. Or is this some kind of organization of non-Christian pseudo-Catholics?

J. R. Stoodley

My rash use of the word non-Christian was a mistake. Let's not judge the Christianity of someone by a few stupid comments. But I stand by "pseudo-Catholics"

Inquisitor Generalis

We're different people, we just both prefer the royal We. Check our links. We both use it on our blogs. Inquisitor Generalis and Count Tradula are the same, however.

Frere Ignatius

http://vivechristusrex.blogspot.com/2006/04/showdown-jpii-vs-alexander-vi.html

Joseph D'Hippolito

Rosemarie, one doesn't have to read between the lines to see what the "brother" is saying. It's quite obvious, and I reproduced his entire response: Never qu3estion the Pope or the Magisterium on anything. The "brother" didn't even bother offering a substantive response based on encyclicals; he basically intimidated the questioner.

I brought up the sex scandal because the attitude that "brother" represents is the exact same one that millions of Catholics had concerning the bishops who enabled pedophilic priests without their knowledge or consent. It is the exact same one Catholic bishops have exploited and hidden behind to avoid accountability.

It is the exact same one many of you use to excuse anything and everything JPII did, no matter how questionable.

You are living in denial, Rosemarie. You value group loyalty and ideological identity over truth.

So to those who believe that Alexander VI was a better example of a Pope than JPII. Do any of you seriously believe that God will excuse gross immorality in favor of theological correctness, as you seem to?

If this is what Catholicism is coming to, then Scientology is truly scientific by comparison.

People like Michael Hugo, Spacemouse and Billy HW will be the ones who draw this Church out of the moral and intellectual mire in which it is stuck -- not the Rosemaries, the IGs or the FIs.

Tim J.

"It is the exact same one many of you use to excuse anything and everything JPII did, no matter how questionable."

"Do any of you seriously believe that God will excuse gross immorality in favor of theological correctness, as you seem to?"

Good grief. Once again, nobody on this thread has excused or defended JPII's kissing of the Q'uran.

Maybe he simply screwed up! Jimmy and others have been exploring different factors that may help explain his behavior, but nobody has excused it.

Jimmy has said that HE thought it was a mistake.

But making a mistake doesn't make him NOT a saint, unless you have a very simplistic understanding of what being a saint means.

To seek to understand why the Holy Father did this is not the same as excusing it. I won't excuse it, but neither will I use it as an excuse to crap all over his entire pontificate, as seems to be the desire of some.

Rosemarie

+J.M.J+

Again: the brother was talking about the Magisterium interpreting its own documents, not about criticizing failed pastoral policies. The two are quite different.

There is no article of faith which states, "When a priest molests a minor, the bishop must cover up the crime and assign the priest to a new parish where he can molest more children." That is not a dogma of the Catholic Church, just a horrible, disasterous pastoral policy! One cannot defend or excuse such an policy by appealling to the Magisterial authority of the Church, because that's something quite different. Any person who tries to do so is wrong.

>>>You are living in denial, Rosemarie. You value group loyalty and ideological identity over truth.

I value the See of Peter established by Christ, and respect each man who occupies it regardless of his faults. My loyalty is to Christ and His Mystical Body. It saddens me that you can't see past your anger at the heirarchy, but I can't do anything about that.

In Jesu et Maria,

Rosemarie

+J.M.J+

>>>Jimmy has said that HE thought it was a mistake.

I also said that I think it may have been a mistake. I guess some people can't see the difference between trying to understand motives and "excusing" or "defending" something.

FWIW, I did not always love JPG. As a teenager, I had a friend who made fun of him, so I saw the pope as an object of mockery.

When I left the Church for Evangelicalism at age 15, I initially thought the pope was the Antichrist. As my attitude toward Catholicism changed, I first came to view him as the leader of the largest cult in the world,and later, as a mere poser falsely claiming to be Jesus' representative on earth.

While I considered returning to the Church at age 19, I talked to a certain nun. I remember telling her point-blank "I don't believe in papal infallibility. I don't care about the pope; I couldn't care less what he has to say." That was pretty much my attitude at the time: apathy with an edge of hostility.

Around that same time, I took a bit of a lefty turn (probably not surprising for a college student). I soon embraced "Christian feminism", and after returning to the Church I then saw the pope as a sexist patriarch who oppressed women by refusing to ordain them because he "feared female power and sexuality" - or some rot like that.

When I finally recovered from Christian feminism, I still didn't have much interest in the pope at first. It wasn't until 1993 World Youth Day in Denver that Our Lord started to teach me to love the Holy Father as my spiritual father.

I don't believe JPG was perfect or never made any mistakes, but I'm not going to hate or mock or belittle him for it. Been there, done that.

In Jesu et Maria,

Joseph D'Hippolito

Since I'm apparently not explaining myself clearly, let me restate the following:

1. I did not "crap all over JPII's pontificate." I made a legitimate criticism concerning his kissing of the Koran and offered explanations. See my first post.

2. Many people in Catholic blogdom (cf, Mark Shea) have the attitude that Pope JPII Can Do No Wrong. If people had such an attitude regarding political figures, it would be correctly seen as "spin doctoring."

3. My statement, "Do any of you seriously believe that God will excuse gross immorality in favor of theological correctness, as you seem to?" had nothing to do with JPII. It had to do with such people as IG, who seem to have more respect for a theologically correct sexual pervert such as Alexander VI than a JPII whose personal morality cannot be questioned, regardless of his geopolitical and theologcial views.

4. I bring in the clerical sex-abuse crisis not to illustrate a "failed pastoral policy" but to illustrate how many loyal Catholics refused to believe that their bishops were even capable of enabling sexual perversion. That refusal to believe reflects an attitude of blind, obsequeous deference to authority -- the kind of attitude that Rosemarie's "brother" is encouraging in the face of legitimate questions.

Frere Ignatius

The Bishops shouldn't be capable of it, and wouldn't have been capable of it, in the old days. The faithful have every right to hold to the opinion that this is the farthest thing from the minds of the bishops, and to never even consider the possibility. This is how diabolical it is since these things have actually happened. The hierarchy has been infiltrated with godless men, communists, sodomites, et al., who do not have the Catholic Faith, and have done terrible, terrible things to sully the image of Christ's mystical body.

I do not believe that God will excuse sexual perversion, no. As I pointed out in the linked blogpost, Alexander VI is probably in Hell right now, at least his successor thought so. My point is, if Alexander VI is in hell, isn't it a little premature to be calling JPII "John Paul the Great," when it is obvious that, doctrinally speaking, Alexander VI was worlds better than JPII, and that in the time of Alexander VI, at least his successor had a Church, while JPII's either complete ignorance, or lack of administrative skill, or SOMETHING managed to make his pontificate one of the worst in Church history, bar none.

Tim J.

Okay, Joseph, I see that we do have a number of cross-currents going in the discussion and I misinterpreted some of your comments.

Some people do want to use this event (and others) as prima facie evidence that JPII was little better than an apostate (like the last poster) and I thought you were in that camp.

Frere Ignatius-

"... JPII's either complete ignorance, or lack of administrative skill, or SOMETHING managed to make his pontificate one of the worst in Church history, bar none. "

Is that why he is so relentlessly trashed by dissenters on the Left? Your statement makes me think that perhaps you don't appreciate the scope of the challenges that the Church faced on JPII's watch.

J. R. Stoodley

By what authority do you judge which Popes were doctrinaly orthodox and which Popes were not, Frere Ignatius?

A big difference between orthodoxy and unorthodoxy is whether you make yourself the ultimate judge of truth, or whether you defer to the Magiserium.

The comments to this entry are closed.

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