April 08, 2005

Pope John Paul II and the ethics of responsibility

The Stanford Daily

By Christopher R. Vaughan
Opinions Columnist
Friday, April 8, 2005
last updated April 7, 2005 6:58 PM

The death of Pope John Paul II last Saturday was grieved by the millions of Catholics to whom his passing was both unsurprising and unbearable, was met with ambivalent mourning by those left disaffected by the crimes and corruption of the Church and provoked deep thinking among all of us who contemplate the vexed role of Catholicism in the modern world.

The old question, "Is the Pope a Catholic?" has always had the obvious affirmative answer. But was the now-late Karol Wojytla a Catholic, in the universal sense of the word? The answer is far less simple. ...

When I speak of locality, I would be remiss to ignore that I am from Massachusetts, the heart of the clergy sex-abuse irruptions. The blame for these enormous crimes extends from knowing parishioners who maintained their silence; to priests who promoted docility by shrinking from even questioning their overseers; to Bishop Thomas Dupre, who officiated my confirmation and now faces serious accusations of sexual abuse; to the Papacy, which gave Bernard Law, the unspeakably corrupt former cardinal of Boston, an exculpatory appointment in Rome.

This has been the rare week in which a great many individuals were referred to by a great many news sources as "sheep" flocking to the obsequies of their "shepherd" and took it as a compliment.

One hopes that those of the "flock" pick up the dissident spirit of the many Catholics in Massachusetts who have either committed to be burrs in the saddles of their parishes or who have gathered to form splinter groups.

Posted by kshaw at April 8, 2005 09:10 AM