Friday, April 08, 2005

Viva Papa!

by Kyle Michaelis
Today, the world made its final farewell to Pope John Paul II - a man of God, a man of greatness. We will not see his like again.

It's with a heavy heart that I am even forced to mention President Bush exploiting the Pope's passing for political gain. Today, Bush called attending the Pope's funeral, "One of the highlights of my presidency." According to the AP, he also went out of his way to refute Former President Bill Clinton's assessment of the Pope's legacy as mixed:
"I think John Paul II will have a clear legacy of peace, compassion and a strong legacy of setting a clear moral tone," Bush told reporters on Air Force One as he flew from Rome to the United States just hours after the funeral. He said he wanted to amend his remarks to add the word "excellent."

It was a strong legacy," the president said. "I wanted to make sure there was a proper adjective to the legacy he left behind, not just the word clear."
Bush hadn't buttered up sufficiently to the American Catholics that won him the election and needed to squeeze "excellent" in there after the fact. How quaint. Seems ridiculous to see Bush publicly buy into the notion of papal infallibility that both John Paul II and the Church rejected.

I have no doubt that as a man of humility, the Pope saw his own mixed legacy. He made choices as best to serve God and the Church, but he never would have claimed that they were without negative repercussions - in stark contrast to Bush, who has proven on numerous occasions to be entirely lacking of such introspection and humanity.

Clinton has been quoted saying of John Paul II:
"There will be debates about him. But on balance, he was a man of God, he was a consistent person, he did what he thought was right. That's about all you can ask of anybody."
Honesty before political pandering - that's leadership. If only fellow Catholics would see through the smoke and mirrors and stop buying into Bush's easy rhetoric. Are we so desperate to hear what we want to hear rather than the truth? If so, we have truly lost our way.


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