Friday, April 08, 2005

Some Got it Right; Many Got it Wrong

The intensive media coverage of the death of Pope John Paul II sometimes gratified me, and often frustrated me.

Some got it right: the Pope was an unwavering beacon of Christian truth in the face of current postmodern popular wisdom. His adherence to the Doctrine of the Faith challenged the direction Western society has taken in many controversial issues: abortion, contraception, marriage, euthanasia, war, death penalty and economics to name a few. John Paul II was one of the key figures who helped bring the end of Communism in Eastern Europe, along with Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan. And in the end the aged and ailing Pontiff also taught the world the value of suffering and the dignity of the human person no matter what the circumstance of health. Some pundits touched upon these points and rightly so.

Many got it wrong: some of the talking heads, especially those in the United States pondered the direction of the Roman Catholic Church after a new pontiff is elected. They discussed the possibility of "bridging" the gap between those Catholics who support gay marriage, abortion and contraception with those who stand by the current Church doctrine of a Culture of Life. On Scarborough Country, Pat Buchanan correctly assessed that those bridges can never be established. He said that morality could never be compromised with immorality. Unfortunately, a Jesuit priest on the show (who is an editor of the left wing "America" journal) contradicted Mr. Buchanan with bland statements of "developing" doctrine. He used the example of the changes in liturgy to prove his point. What he failed to do was realize that morality and liturgy are two completely different things. It may become acceptable to receive Holy Communion in the hand, but it will never become acceptable to murder an unborn baby. It was a woeful example of how so many of the Catholic clergy in America have strayed from the Church and have confused the masses.

In stark contrast to the confusing and contradictory statements made by the American media, EWTN's commentary never wavered from the teachings of the Church and this Pope. There was no disingenuous attempt to adulterate or dilute the truth of faith and morals. There were no musings of the possibility of female priests, a married priesthood, the acceptance of contraception, etc... because EWTN broadcasted the properly catechized position of the Church.

The Catholic Church in America (and it's NOT the "American Catholic Church") has miserably failed to catechize the faithful; indeed, many of the clergy are misleading the flock with bad theology and morality. I can chuckle at a secular reporter who mistakenly refers to an icon of Our Lady of Grace as a "picture of Jesus", but I cannot laugh when a Roman Catholic priest deliberately obscures or twists a doctrine of the Church for his own liberal agenda.

The Church needs prayers. We need prayers to the Holy Spirit to send us another good Pope who will guide her in these uncertain times with the same devotion and energy that John Paul the Great exemplified.