Wednesday, April 06, 2005

John Paul II does seem to have been a very decent, ethical, and erudite man. He spoke numerous languages, and was, as the obituary writers say, "an avid sportsman." He fought against the nazis and later the stalinists: the catholic poles certainly did not have an easy existence from about 1938 to 1945 (nor did the polish jews or ukrainians either). Many died at both nazi and stalinist hands; the atrocity of Katyn, where thousands of polish officers were slaughtered at the hands of Stalin's NKVD , may be one of the most brutal acts of the 20th century.

Yet Catholicism was and is not the answer. In fact it's quite absurd--absurd in both ordinary and philosophical sense-- that someone would, after surviving the terror of nazis and stalinists, decide to join a church that proclaims that a "God" exists who would allow such horrendous brutality. Not only is the concept of God itself quite indefensible ( and more so after WWII), the catholic tradition is rife with irrational, unscientific and anti-humanist doctrines. The mass itself is ludicrous, as are the attitudes toward birth control: for the real implications of Catholic family planning spend a few days in one of the massive slums of any Central or South American city. And yet the Catholics keep marching on. Recently a monumental cathedral was finished in LA, courtesy of Roger O Mahoney, the Cardinal who has refused to turn over names in the priest sex scandals. And the cathedral, however beautiful (featuring works of art from leading LA artistes, such as Grahams' massive, plebian Maria) is another Temple to Irrationality which does little to nothing to help solve real social and economic problems.

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