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Sunday, 4.3.05: Arrivederci, Papa

The Pope is dead. He was a personally conservative man born to troubled times. He matured under the demon regimes of Nazism and Communism. He was a surprising pick for Pope -- a Pole who was a political activist.

It made for an interesting papacy -- international, with a continuing rage against tyranny. He reached out to other religions and apologized for Catholicism at it cruelest or blindest. He was educated and charismatic.

Still, he was blind to some of the current cruelties of the Church -- no stem-cell research, no condoms to help prevent AIDS, no women on the altar. And a refusal to drive out pedophilia among priests by allowing married priests.

And so he was a complex all-too-human being. He did good for the world in broad brushstrokes, while Catholics quietly ignored his conservative doctrine and became New Agists or Unitarians.

Who will the next guy be? In today's world, I doubt it will be a liberal. If only for cynical financial reasons, the Church could use someone who will bring Catholics back to the collection box. But John Paul may have erred in appointing too many Catholic fundamentalists to the College of Cardinals. But who knows -- maybe there is a Latin American Cardinal who could surprise everyone.

The next few weeks will be interesting ones.

 

 
 

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