Friday, January 29, 2010

Pope John Paul the Grate: Inflictor of Pain, on Self, Children and Church

Devotees of Pope John Paul II are fond of calling him "Pope John Paul the Great."

Turns out they've been spelling "great" wrong.

Apparently they should be calling him "Pope John Paul the Grate," for his singular ability to get on nerves and inflict pain. Or they might want to try "Pope John Paul the Grater," for his skill at turning the teachings of Vatican II and their Catholic adherents into so much shredded cheese--along with children entrusted to the church's care.

What other conclusion can reasonable people draw from the recent news that
the famous pope routinely beat himself, with a special belt that he even took on trips away from Rome?

Since this information comes directly from his "postulator," the cleric officially in charge of promoting Pope John Paul II's sainthood, we have no reason to doubt that it is true.

But it is certainly symptomatic of the state of the church that the postulator thinks Wojtyla's practice of beating himself as "archbishop of Krakow, Poland, as well as after he became pope" is one of the reasons why he's a saint.

It was distasteful enough when The DaVinci Code caricatured self-flagellation as a bizarre practice of Opus Dei. But that, after all was a work of fiction. That the pope himself actually inflicted such masochism on his own body year after year--and thought it sanctifying--is really astounding. It bespeaks an attitude toward the human body and human sexuality that is simply pathological.

Far from supporting John Paul's cause for sainthood, it throws additional light on his failings, and above all on the viciousness of his multi-decade assault on post-Vatican II Catholicism--which included not only his sustained attack on the teachings of the Council and the faithful who dared to uphold them, but also his failure to protect scores of Catholic children from predatory Catholic priests.

Evidently he enjoyed inflicting pain.

Saint John Paul II? You must be kidding.