April 26, 2014

Two popes to tout two popes

If I was blogging heavily, I'd have a field day with this. But this post will have to suffice since I'm busy writing my next novel.

The NYT has an article today about tomorrow's coming-together of one too many popes to, you know, make saints out of two other popes. It's such an incestuous thing. I couldn't let this go by without mention. Here are some excerpts that paint the scene. And yes, there is purpose to this madness.
For Francis, who has spent the first year of his papacy straddling the divisions within the church, this twinning allows him to deftly avoid elevating one man over the other and serves his broader agenda of de-emphasizing ideological battles as he tries to renew excitement among the faithful and reverse a steady decline in church attendance.
You see, John XXIII was the "good pope" who tried to bring people together. He is also the hands-down winner of the title "Earth's most liberal pope". I lived through the John XXIII era and it was hard not to like the guy. But Francis can't be seen as only favoring the "liberal pope". Oh, no, no, no. He'd skew left, and he can't have that. So they took some super-glue and attached the evil conservative pope, John Paul II, as a co-winner of the "Yes, You Are a Saint Now" prize. It's a very holy thing. 

But some party poopers are pointing a finger at John Paul and saying he allowed sex abuse to flourish among priests. Tch. Don't they know he's gonna be a saint?! These naysayers ought to mind their manners. But then, the church has the perfect come-back:
At a Vatican news conference on Friday, John Paul’s former spokesman, JoaquĆ­n Navarro-Valls, defended the former pope’s record on the response to the sexual abuse scandals and argued that the “purity of his thought” had made it difficult for the pontiff to accept that priests could abuse children
So that fixes everything. Thank goodness. But what about the appalling spectacle of popes canonizing popes? Isn't there something...a bit seedy about this?
Despite the excitement among many Catholics, the precedent of canonizing popes worries Professor Duffy and other experts. “Are we going to have every pope canonized now?” he asked, noting that the process is also underway for some other former popes.
No problema. You gotcher good pope (Francis) on yer left, and yer evil pope (Benedict) on yer right, coming together to make saints out of yer good pope (John XXIII) on the left, and yer evil pope (John Paul II) on yer right. It all balances out in a way that leaves everyone in a state of sanctifying grace.

Those Vatican insiders have it all figured out. Enjoy the spectacle, people. And remember: it means absolutely nothing.

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