I am a former Catholic. Yeah...that's not enough.
See, when I heard on MPR* that the Cardinals would have their meeting to decide who would be the next Pope on April 18, my first thought (after using my brain to snicker) was that "The red-hatted holy ones will pick their new infallible leader on my daughter's birthday!" Scooter
thinks it's more appropriate now
than it would have been last year. At any rate, my point is that I went automatically to ridicule, just as I have been pissy about the U.S. flags being at half mast since Saturday because of the death of a religious leader. I think Scooter thinks I am too pissy about the flag thing, since the Pope ran the Vatican, and the Vatican is a recognized political entity. In my defense, I must point out that so was Saddam at the time of his capture, and had we killed him outright then, he'd have been the dead recognized head of a recognized political entity, and nobody can tell me that we'd have lowered our flags for him. No, we lower our flags for recognized political entities' leaders when we like
them, or when we have something to gain by so recognizing them. By lowering the flags, we convey the message that all of America mourns the death of JP2. Don't we? I mean, in the same way that when we invade Iraq, we convey the message that all of America thinks we should invade Iraq. Right? Yes and no. No
, because any thinking person will realize that what the heads of state do only sometimes match the will of the people in general, and that seldom, if ever, do all people within a nation agree on anything. (We still have states flying the Confederate Flag on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. We are NOT of one opinion on many, many, many matters.) But yes,
because that's the face we put on to the rest of the world. I am not mourning the Pope. I didn't like a lot of the things he said, and I don't like the station he held. But, I feel sad for those people to whom this man was important - that is, grief is painful, and I am not interested in minimizing anyone's grief simply because I disliked so much of what the object of their grief did/stood for.
So, more disclosure. I don't like the Catholic Church, as an institution. I understand that individual church communities stray quite far from Catholic dogma, and that their members don't necessarily frown on condom use, same-sex marriage, or sex without marriage just because the Church (if not their
church) tells them they ought to frown on such things. Infallibility, that many Catholic churches continue the practice of praying to
the Pope, and that "direct line to God" thing have long been my favorite sharp objects with which to prod the Bubble of Pope Worship because they seem so obviously ridiculous. David Koresh claimed to have a direct line to God, didn't he? (Correct me if I remember incorrectly.) He was the leader of a high-profile religious group. How do we know he didn't have that kind of access? Why should we believe the Pope does? Maybe, like Joan of Arc, they were both suffering from one form or another of psychosis and absolutely believed someone was talking to them and that that someone was God.
Anyway. Bury JP2, elevate some new infallible to the throne, and let's get on with it. But don't tell me I'm in mourning, 'cause I'm not.
*See, MS? I do
get news from places other than The Daily Show