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Is the Pope Catholic?

By Lisa Fabrizio
web posted April 11, 2005

Charismatic and photogenic world traveler, idol of youth, defeater of Communism, great communicator and master politician. Were these descriptions of the late Ronald Reagan? No, these platitudes were delivered at the passing of Pope John Paul II. But, as was the case with the 40th president, the media once again have failed to understand what lies behind the adoration millions felt for this man.

It started on the Saturday after his death when images of hundreds of thousands in St. Peter's square were beamed live around the world as word of his imminent demise spread. It was bad enough that most in the throng were European and therefore usually exempt from liberal contempt, but the media were downright dumbstruck that so many of them were young people.

The crowd gathering at St. Peter's Square in the Vatican City a few hours before the start of Pope John Paul II's funeral
The crowd gathering at St. Peter's Square in the Vatican City a few hours before the start of Pope John Paul II's funeral

Illuminated by the glow of makeshift candles they carried, their faces uplifted in adoration or bowed in reverent prayer spoke volumes of their love for the dying pontiff. Network commentators were incredulous: Is this what young Europeans are supposed to look like? Kneeling, bowing and scraping among the religious?

In an attempt to assuage their concern that the future of old Europe lay in the hands of the potentially pious, they sought to find some American kids to interview—secure in the knowledge that domestic religious intolerance-training was more effective.

In this they were moderately successful, eliciting just the kind of 'I want to be part of history' statements they employed to explain away the crowds that turned out to bid Reagan farewell. The fact that what made Reagan beloved was his belief in conservatism had to be marginalized just as the basic tenets of the very religion whose earthly leader's death they were covering hardly seemed worth mentioning.

But one young man shocked his interviewer by saying he was praying that the next pope would promote Catholic virtues as fervently if not more than John Paul II. The segment was quickly terminated lest the young American go further in reminding us that the pope was actually a religious figure. The game was nearly given away later when the ironically named Christiane Amanpour slipped up with a Freudian, "He was the first non-Catholic Pope elected in nearly 400 years."

After the pope's death, the American media campaign to elect a more 'moderate' pontiff rolled into action. The widespread coverage given an AP poll of 1,000 Americans showing that even Catholics here want changes is, at the same time, laughable and lamentable. It's laughable that the U.S. media think they could influence church doctrine and lamentable that so-called Catholics think they should. The biggest change the media and those polled addressed was the role of women in the priesthood.

It is yet another intellectual and spiritual insult of feminism that holds that women cannot benefit fully from the teaching and redemption of Jesus Christ because they cannot serve as His priests. Women have, since day one, served Christ and therefore His church. Millions around the world have received loving medical care and education at the hands of Catholic nuns and this view is an affront to their continuing acts of prayer and devotion.

Given their misunderstanding of its doctrine and mission, the question becomes, why are media secularists so concerned with the machinations of the Catholic Church? Fear. A naked terror that fills papers like the New York Times with the opinions of columnists, that most bishops named by John Paul II are, "mindless sycophants and intellectual incompetents" because they believe as he does. That sublime jurist, Justice Antonin Scalia summed up this fear and loathing recently in a speech in Louisiana:

"To believe in traditional Christianity is something else. For the son of God to be born of a virgin? I mean, really. To believe that he rose from the dead and bodily ascended into heaven? How utterly ridiculous. To believe in miracles? Or that those who obey God will rise from the dead and those who do not will burn in hell? God assumed from the beginning that the wise of the world would view Christians as fools ... and he has not been disappointed. Have the courage to have your wisdom regarded as stupidity. Be fools for Christ. And have the courage to suffer the contempt of the sophisticated world."

That there are millions of such fools for Christ like Justice Scalia and Pope John Paul II is what gives liberals and the media nightmares. For if there are a significant number of men and women who believe in more than sex and self, how are they to continue their hold on the American people?

Lisa Fabrizio is a columnist who hails from Connecticut . You may write her at mailbox@lisafab.com.

 

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