Reader Mail

Pontiff and Pontificators

The death of our Pope. Plus much more.

4.6.05

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NOT OF THE WORLD
Re: George Neumayr's Missing His Holiness:

Regarding media coverage of the Pope's passing, once again you've cut through the BS and hit the nail on the head.

Had you noticed how only a week prior, on Easter when the Pope struggled to speak, liberal print media selected only the most unflattering of photos to accompany their articles?

Keep up the good work,
-- Jim

The pope left a considerable legacy. He’ll be remembered as Pope John Paul II the Great. But, really, who will remember his critics?

The Lord God had a good and faithful servant in the late Pope John Paul II. The pope's modesty, courage and integrity were inspirational. Too, his stance for and lack of shame about the Gospels of Jesus the Christ was refreshing and exemplary.

Of course, such a man would be ridiculed by secular liberals and liberals calling themselves Catholic. It almost cost him his life, most certainly at the hands of someone hired by the Soviets to assassinate him. Even now, the spin occurring in the advocacy media remains how he was too conservative, even a right-wing extremist. Obviously, the late pope’s detractors never read that Jesus Himself said that he, Jesus, came to set the captives free and to proclaim the day of the Lord. The pope simply did what was most important to him.

Karol Jozef Wojtyla was, as you say, other worldly. He chose to serve God, not man. That always offends men, just as Jesus offended men when he was alive for the very same reason. Because he's with the Lord, where Christians long to be, I don’t mourn the pope’s passing. But the world is a smaller, less friendly place today because of his absence. Though not a Catholic, I grieve his passing.

I pray that his replacement is as strong as he was and as committed to the Lord as he was. The last thing Catholicism and the world need now is a liberal, malleable pope.
-- C. Kenna Amos Jr.
Princeton, West Virginia

The left concludes that the late Pope's comments on Iraq and capital punishment make his other comments on abortion, euthanasia and assisted suicide a political "wash." The Left concludes that he was just as much "one of them" as "one of us."

But consider that all people, right and left, right and wrong, have their priorities, and how they prioritize their thoughts, statements and actions matters quite a lot. So when the Pope visited St. Louis, his speech, already painfully slurred by Parkinson's, asserted the evil of abortion, euthanasia and assisted suicide. He did not give American decisions to go to war or execute its most vicious criminals the same priority as mass murder of the most innocent and/or most defenseless.

As an American and weekly church going Catholic who supports America's decisions to use whatever level of force is necessary against those who represent lethal threats, and to punish criminals in proportion to their crimes, I regret my judgment day will find me less than perfect in at least those regards. But for those without conscience in the matter of abortion, euthanasia and assisted suicide, it might be well to work on the problem in this life rather than rely on an almost infinite mercy to save them in the next.
-- Frank Natoli
Newton, New Jersey

LAST RITES
Re: Wlady Pleszczynski's Everyone's Pope:

Beautiful, beautiful tribute to the Holy Father by Wlady Pleszczynski. The best I've read. Says it all. Thanks.
-- John R. Dunlap
San Jose, California

It is so interesting that the howls of protest and denial regarding the life, times, and work of Pope John Paul II come almost exclusively from the "religious left," with the liberal/left Catholics charging forward to the point of the spear. Even some of the National Council of Church's Protestant groups have had the decency to simply go silent. Not so, for left-wing Roman Catholic groups.

Jewish groups have spent the time since John Paul's death highlighting the many ways in which he furthered understanding and an era of good feeling between the Vatican and world Judaism. Little has been heard from the Islamic community about John Paul, and what has been heard has been almost universally positive. World leaders and heads of state of many nations with many different dominant faiths will attend the funeral and/or have issued positive statements regarding the Pope and his life's work.

Significantly the liberal Catholic groups are even now in full song, denouncing John Paul's Papacy and insisting the next Pope will have to correct and reverse so very much of what John Paul did. Of course Democrat leaders, such as the Roman Catholic Nancy Pelosi, insist on taking no notice of the death of John Paul, but simply continuing their agenda and strategy as if nothing has happened.

Not being a Catholic myself, I take particular hope and joy that Evangelical Protestants and their leaders have been among the first to express gratitude for the leadership of this Pope and their profound sense of loss at his passing. It is impossible for me to see how the passing of this great and truly holy man can be anything but our loss and Heaven's gain.

If there was ever a time to live by the old axiom, "If you can't say something nice, then say nothing at all," this is it. But then the left simply cannot let an opportunity to get in the face of the world and scream their derision go unremarked.
-- Ken Shreve
New Hampshire

I have one comment for you on your piece "Everyone's Pope." You stated that, "Among the Christian religions only one is the genuine article and it's known as Roman Catholicism."

Not so fast... I am a Roman Catholic, and would be considered by the mainstream media as a conservative John Paul II Roman Catholic. I personally consider myself a John Paul II Roman Catholic who adheres to truth and was very lucky to be inspired by him. (I am splitting hairs here about the conservative vs. liberal labels as they apply in Catholic Church discussions. Another discussion for another day.) I was inspired so much that, with my wife's consent, we named our first born son Karol Josef, after the Holy Father.

My comment: there is only one genuine article. And it is Catholicism, made up of several rites, one of which is Roman. As you know, the Catholic Church, with the Pontiff at its head, sitting on the chair of St. Peter, has several rites, one of which is the Roman rite.

Now I grant that most people think of the Roman Rite when they speak of the Catholic Church. However, our brethren in the other Rites are full members of the Catholic Church and are in full communion with the Holy See. Let's not forget about them.

EWTN has information on their website about the different rites.

In the last few years of his life, and especially at his death, John Paul II rebuked those who called for Terri Schiavo's death. He lived the five Sorrowful Mysteries, and now, I pray, he is living the five Glorious Mysteries with the Lord. While I am sorry for him to be gone and miss him already, I am happy that he is whole again. I have no doubt that he was welcomed into heaven by the Lord and the Blessed Virgin, with an embrace fit for such a devoted and loving servant. I am also happy that he is able to be again with his beloved father, mother, and brother again.

Thank you for the article.
-- Andy Fuller

DIVERSE ILLOGIC
Re: Brandon Crocker's The Limits of "Academic Freedom":

Looking for diverse expressions of opinion on a college campus today is the rough equivalent of looking for a noble inner-city gang member, a humanitarian serial killer, or a talented hip hop artist. One can hear more logical presentations at the corner bar and grill than one can hear at a university. Having gone to high school and college in the turbulent '60s, I can recall a time when there was real dialogue on campus; a time when all sides of an issue were debated. Over a relatively short period of time, the radical left has assumed total control of campus thought, much to the detriment of education. It isn't the passion and the slavish repetition coming out of the colleges and universities today that depresses. Rather, it is the total lack of logic, and the refusal to learn from experience that is disheartening. How intelligent does one have to be to recognize the emptiness of communism as a political and economic philosophy? Yet the left cannot discard it. How many times from how many Muslim organizations do we have to hear that we are to be killed en masse by the Koran loving hordes of Islamists before the leftists understand that making nice with these people will not work? If learning from the past is the mark of the well educated, what kind of education do these liberal professors and college administrators have? Certainly not the kind that we want for our children if we expect to remain a viable society.
-- Joseph Baum
Newton Falls, Ohio

LET DETROIT'S BLACKS ROLL
Re: Ralph R. Reiland's Detroit: Hayek's Nightmare:

This "Africa-Town" proposal percolating in Detroit is probably due to the resurrection of an abandoned square-mile area at John R. and Seven Mile Rd. in Northeast Detroit. Once desolate with boarded buildings and homes lining the streets here just east of Woodward Ave., they are today thriving businesses of all kinds. The area has been built up by Arab immigrants over the past decade according to the PSAs on Detroit AM radio. These PSAs are targeted at us "suburbanites" to remind us of "Metro-Detroit's burgeoning diverse cultures," and that "most Arabs in the Metro-Detroit area are Christian not Muslim." So us lily-white suburbanites won't get scared and "go-off" on them (because they are productive ... just like you and me!). The PSAs are insulting enough, the "Africa-Town" proposal is sheer penis-envy idiocy brought about by an entrenched City Council that is stuck in a mind-set of the post-1967 riot era. Many propose many great things for Detroit, only to be shot down at Council because the members there don't get to put their names on it.

Detroit has produced many Black entrepreneurs over the years like uh… MOTOWN RECORDS! The number one cable TV exec in Detroit, Don Barden, is black. Former Detroit Pistons great Dave Bing runs Bing Steel. At one time, "black bottom" was an area of mostly black businesses in the city before the riots and city expansion destroyed a lot of it.

Detroit citizens can create businesses and a thriving community, if only the City Council and a decent Mayor would get out of their way!
-- P. Aaron Jones
Huntington Woods, Michigan

JUST MUTE
Re: Wlady Pleszczynski's Trash Talk:

Thank God someone has said it. The announcers should shut the "hell" up most of the time. And they seem to out coach the coaches. They pick one player and it seems like all they can do is praise that one. Last night it was Sean May.
-- Mary Croswhite
Arkansas

While I enjoy most all of the Spectator's well-written articles, Wlady Pleszczynski's "Trash Talk" was one of the most incoherent and unprofessional articles I've read on the site.

It starts out basically stating that the game wasn't even worth playing because UNC more gifted physically despite the fact that Illinois was 37-1 and one of the fastest teams in the nation. UNC definitely had better athletes, but those teams get beat all the time by teams that play well together. Illinois plays better together than anyone in the nation, and almost pulled it out.

It then stumbles into a rant that the game was unexciting despite the fact that the #1 and #2 teams were playing in a great game that came down to the last 2 minutes.

It then diverts to a rant about sportscasters. I agree that sportscasters talk too much and I'll admit I'm not a fan of Billy Packer, but Jim Nantz is universally regarded as one of the best there is.

The paragraph on the lack of politics really threw me for a loop. Isn't that reason we watch sports, for the lack of rhetoric and politics and the thrill of true, fair competition? Who wants to bring politics into sports? You've obviously been doing political commentary too long.

The last three paragraphs are just pointless ramblings. I'm not really sure if you are advocating that the game should have been postponed (which I see no reason to), or if you're upset that people in sports move on with their lives during tragedy and death. I guess I agree with the author that the midrange jumper is a lost art, but what a strange place to make this argument.

Sure, last night's game may not be replayed in twenty years, but nor will a great majority of championship games. Take the game for what it was: two great teams playing their hearts out in a game that included a heroic second half comeback and was decided in the last minutes. Could you really ask for much more than that?

I think the writers at American Spectator should stick with what they know: politics.
-- Caleb Lamz
Rochester, Minnesota

Long ago, I glued my right index finger to the mute button, when it comes to listening to basketball announcers. I'm ashamed to admit it, but for many -- too many, I'm afraid -- years, I thought Al McGuire (shows my age) was the "cat's meow," in the announcer's catbird seat, until a famous saying overwhelmed me -- familiarity breeds contempt. Billy Packer now sits there, for me.

Besides, he's a pure ACC guy. But, hey -- that group of teams has a great record, so, as success breeds success, maybe the "who cares?" attitude will ruin things, at least for many of us.

Actually, when it comes to a bunch of boys or girls running around in shorts, no matter how long, throwing a ball in a hole, really, when you lay on YOUR death bed, will you really care who won ANY of THEIR -- or your -- games?

To extend the silliness, all I must do is type the name of Bill Walton.
-- James Crystal

It had occurred to me how odd and wonderful it would have been if the Illinois coach (or anyone similarly situated) had announced when his mother died, "I won't be at the game. My mother would have wanted it that way." Perhaps the reasons he didn't win the NCAA title are that not only did he coach that other game, but that his mother took revenge.
-- R.L.A. Schaefer
Dubuque, Iowa

KOREAN GRATITUDE
Re: Doug Bandow's Cutting the Umbilical Cord:

Excellent article. I spent two tours of duty in South Korea with the US Army, the first from 1977-1978, the second from 1990-1992. Having watched the South Korean people's growing dislike of American presence in their country over the past 26 years, as well as seeing the economic growth the South Koreans have enjoyed, it seems more than reasonable to let the South Korean's defend themselves. Moreover, if Americans could see how the South Korean press routinely blames all ills that befall South Korea on the evil doings of Washington, especially the George Bush administration, they would quickly loose any sense of responsibility for the defense of South Korea. It is no exaggeration to say that the common South Korean citizen thinks the U.S. an evil country. Most think the Korean War was actually started by Washington to ensure the U.S. could control the Korean peninsula. It's time to get out of the ROK, especially given our over-stretched Army.
-- Paul Melody
Gainesville, Virginia

TAKING ON THE FEMS
Re: Christopher Orlet's More Mr. Nice Guy:

How absolutely brilliant to read an author who is not frightened of offending the feminazis! My God, we need someone to start talking the truth. In the 21st century feminism means two things:

1. Hatred of men, expressed through endless demonization of the male species.

2. An ethos that women must always get their own way no matter whose rights are impinged on.

Maybe we can see in the writings of Orlet and others a rolling back of the emasculating tide and a fresh agenda of mutual trust and respect between the genders.

I'll certainly be perusing your journal again!
-- Charlie Fennaway

FILIBUSTER BURDEN
Re: The Prowler's Democrats Without a Prayer:

The comment that it takes 60 votes to get judicial nominees approved is technically true but misleading. The required 60 votes (60%) are not on the merits of the nominees but on breaking any "filibuster." This only applies to the Judicial Committee. The vote is on cloture, not on the nominee. It takes 60 votes to invoke cloture. Without a filibuster, nominees get reported out with a simple majority.

I realize that you know all of this better than I do. But to express it as a requirement for 60 votes without mentioning cloture seems to make Democratic obstruction more "legitimate."
-- G.B. Hall
Marietta, Georgia

Re: Clinton at the disease dinner, it is another classic example of "what is wrong with this picture?" Here is a man getting a humanitarian award when he abuses and exploits and even rapes women. And isn't there something wrong with an "infectious disease" organization sponsoring a man who is so active in behaviors that spread infectious diseases. He's probably had more than a few penicillin shots. WHAT'S THE MATTER WITH PEOPLE? ESPECIALLY THE ONES WHO ARE HIS (and Hillary's) FOOLS! More vulgar hypocrisy -- I'm tired of it.
-- Sue Ellen Hirtle

I listen to his address every Saturday morning and heard the same thing. However, it's a stretch to say that President Bush "devoted" his address to the Pope's dying moments. He made mention of it for 15-20 seconds at the beginning and then moved on to his regularly scheduled program. He probably records it a day or two earlier and then replays it, likely he added the part about the Pope to the beginning of the address. Which is fine, at least he took time to discuss it, more than you can say for the Dems, especially fellow Catholic Nancy Pelosi.
-- unsigned

HARDBALL ON THE CHURCH
Re: Reid Collins's His Spiritual Home, a Bright Hill:

As I cast around the various cable channels to find something that was not pre-packaged, I came upon one Chris Matthews interviewing a young Catholic priest. I was mesmerized by the open hostility and rudeness exhibited by Mr. Matthews. His questions about the Pope's refusal to accept abortion, female priests, and gay marriage were phrased in a highly obnoxious manner, but were answered politely and respectfully by the interviewee. The young priest told Mr. Matthews that these articles were matters of faith and morals, not church regulations, and that the Pope was merely following the teachings of Mother Church. Mr. Matthews pressed on, implying if not directly criticizing the Pope for not "modernizing" Church dogma.

Aside from the insulting impertinence of the questions themselves, Mr. Matthews' tone was condescending, insulting, and downright rude. I and my wife switched the TV to Fox News where we were treated to an intelligent and reverential analysis of the present situation and what we should look expect in the next few days. Having looked at the coverage of the events by both CNN and MSNBC, I am struck by their almost open hostility to the Roman Catholic Church, however, I am even more taken aback by their apparent belief that the Roman Catholic Church must modernize itself by accepting liberal standards and must abandon the teachings of Christ that have been its dogmatic staple for almost 2000 years. Rather than learning a lesson from the events of the past year, it seems that the MSM is even more arrogant than it was before the CBS and ABC debacles of the last few news cycles.
-- Joseph Baum
Newton Falls, Ohio

DYING ORDER
Re: Vincent Chiarello's letter (under "The Drinan Drag") in Reader Mail's Expressions of Support, George Neumayr's Lying Jesuits and Journalists and "Faith of Our Fathers" letters in Reader Mail's Miles to Go:

Vincent Chiarello's closed his letter responding to George Neumayr's "Lying Jesuits and Journalists" with "Unless or until Drinan is held accountable by his superiors for his un-Catholic deeds, the Jesuits and, ultimately, the Church, will continue their inevitable decline, hastened by one priest who does not merit to be called 'Father.'" Today, of the nearly 100 faculty members of Jesuit-run Boston College High School less than a dozen are now Jesuits. This is in stark contrast to when I was a student there in the late '60s, when nearly the entire faculty was Jesuit. Mr. Chiarello is right. Unless the Jesuit order tightens up its discipline and returns to it theological roots it will continue its precipitous decline in numbers until the only remaining members are dilettantes like Robert Drinan.
-- Paul DeSisto
Cedar Grove, New Jersey

POLITICAL ROBES
Re: Jed Babbin's Poisonous Penumbras:

Sorry, I still favor amendments that would make all judicial positions elected and not appointed.

The minute those black robes go on a lifetime appointed judge, the absolute corruption of absolute power begins, and the political persuasion of the judge makes no difference. O'Connor and Kennedy are just as bad as Ginsburg. Judges want to exert political power. Make them politically accountable.
-- Richard Lavallee
Sacramento, California

JUDICIAL PROTECTION
Re: Lawrence Henry's Am I On Life Support?:

His living will was torn up. Right on. No longer do we write wills indicating we would rather die than receive life support. They must be written to prevent us from being killed by judges and acquiescent health providers.
-- Sam

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