John Paul II and spectacle.
As I write this the Pope lies near death, and the end seems very close indeed. I am not Catholic, but my wife and her family are. Personal religion aside, I am both fascinated and repulsed by the coverage of the final days and hours of John Paul II.
Worldwide many millions of Catholics are holding vigils, praying, wondering who the next spiritual leader will be. As I watch Fox news broadcast on the American Forces Network (military TV that diplomats abroad are allowed to subscribe to) I can't help but feel that there is something wrong with the "teaser" announcement that reads:
"No Hope For the Pope"
Is Dr. Seuss writing these things? Whether you are a Catholic or not, this is a man who will have left an indelible mark upon the world. Opinions vary on what that mark is- did he help undermine communism in Eastern Europe with his very presence and message? Did he drag the Church back a century or two with his stance on condoms and homosexuality? I am sure these topics and more will pour out across the blogosphere in the coming days. In the meantime, can we not honor the man's final hours?
We are witnessing the passing of a world leader, one who reaches across boarders and has influence beyond all proportion to the relatively tiny "country" over which he presides. His successor will have very large shoes to fill. Perhaps we can observe this moment in history with a little more solemnity and a little less hype.
(End of post.)