Sick of the Pope glurge already

This is not going to be a pitting of JPII himeself but of the endless media glurge as the vultures camp by his deathbed. I’m sick of hearing how many people he “touched” and what his “legacy” is. According to Fox News, he ended communism (I thought Ronald Reagan did that). I’m not much of a Pope watcher so I don’t know everything he did and didn’t do. I know he was the first Pope to admit that the earth revolves around the sun and (tacitly) that evolution is true. I know he apologized to the Jews for the holocaust and also declared (and this was big of him) that the Jews were not responsible for the crucifixion.

Other than that, I just know that he travelled a lot and waved at people from the Popemobile. Somehow that’s supposed to make him the greatest Pope ever. I don’t get it. It seems to me like it’s just overblown reverence for a title, not an individual. For all the talk about this guy, I don’t feel like I know a single thing about his personality or anything he did that was really all that significant.

And what are those people in St. Peter’s Square praying for? Are they praying for him to live? Why? Do they want him to live forever? Some church guy on Fox said we shouldn’t be praying for the Pope we should be praying to him! :eek: Isn’t that idolotry?

Some Fox News reporter at St. Peter’s said she heard one woman wailing about losing our father" and “becoming an orphan.” Another woman told her, “no, he’ll go to heaven and we’ll have our father looking down on us.”

What does that say about the next Pope? Are these people going to be like resentful stepkids? “You’re not my Pope, stop telling me what to do.”

What does it say about God, for that matter? Isn’t he supposed to be the Father in Heaven?

I also notice that the TV pundits are praising this dude through the roof for such mundane things as praying for peace in the middle east or “reaching out” (whatever the hell that means) to people all over the world. They can’t say enough about him being an anti-communist either. But for all that it’s instructive to note that they aren’t saying a word about his opposition to Capital Punishment or to the US invasion of Iraq. Why not? If he’s so wonderful and wise then shouldn’t we listen to that stuff or is he only wise if he doesn’t challenge us or make us uncomfortable?

And, of course, the media has been as silent as a tomb about all that unpleasantness with the pedophiles.

Bush is expressing his usual phony and inarticulate sympathies as well, I see. Never mind that he campaigned at a virulently anti-Catholic Bible School in the 2000 election.
I don’t mean any of this to be a shot at Catholics. I was raised Catholic and am married to one. It’s just supposed to be about the nedia coverage and the absurdly overblown exaggerations about this guy’s historical significance and the goofy histrionics of some of his fans.

By the way, this beautiful humanitarian once told Bosnian rape victims that they had to not only bear the children of their rapists but raise them as well. He wasn’t exactly kind to homosexuals either (at least not the ones who like grown-ups).

If we’re going to talk about the Pope, let’s talk about everything.

I think the “Our Father” comes mostly from Krakow, where he used to be Archbishop, and other areas of Poland. Remember, he was the first non-Italian pope in god knows how many centuries and the first Polish pope ever.

This happens when anyone ever dies, really-hey, look at Nixon! Everyone was talking about Detente, and Nixon in China and all that. Not Watergate, or CREEP.

The networks have discovered what makes good TV in the 21st century. A deathwatch! Nothing like wiling away a Saturday waiting for somebody to kick! The more pathetic, the better. Personally, I can’t wait for the “CNN-DW” channel. All deathwatch all the time!

“Today on CNN-DW, when will the bag of kittens succumb to the carbon monoxide?”


My solution to this problem has been to stop watching news on TV. Now, whenever I watch it, it’s painfully obvious that it’s intended to be entertainment, not news. Human interest stories, constantly repeating segments about exploding Peeps (around Easter), etc…

If you want real news, read the 'net. Out of the ten stories in the top half of the CNN website, only two are about the Pope. The TV anchors can blather on for as long as they want about the topic of the day, but it’s much harder to turn into one big Popefest.

First Reagan. Now John Paul. Who will be the next person to have single handedly defeated communism? Prince Ranier? Henry Kissinger’s been in the hospital. And Maggie Thatcher’s been ill. Maybe we’ll have to wait for Bush to start fading. Or maybe there’ll be a bipartisan effort and they’ll give the nod to Carter for boycotting the Olympics.

I had to laugh at one headline I saw: “World Braces For Pope’s Death”. I imagine people all over the world fiercely gripping their armrests in preparation for the earth’s sympathetic grief-quakes.

What also annoys me about the media coverage is the way they insist that the whole world is waiting and praying for this man. Ummm, no. I’m sure that a huge portion of the Muslim world could not care less, for example.

For myself, it’s of passing interest, but not really any big deal. He’s a very elderly man with Parkinsons who has lived a long and interesting life and is dying in luxurious surroundings with his friends and supporters on hand. What better death could one want? And yes, he’s the head of one of the worlds larger religions, but it’s one I don’t particularly agree with, and they’ll get another leader soon enough.

Y’know, Dio, I expect better facts from you:

The efforts of JP II in bringing down the Soviet hegemony have been noted from the period before the fall of the Berlin wall. (I think there is a fair amount of hype involved, just as there is with Reagan, but I think a better case can be made for JP II than for Ronnie, while still realizing that neither one actually “did” it.)

He was not the first pope to admit the world revolves about the sun by any stretch. The Church has officially permitted such declarations since 101 years following the death of Galileo (and unofficially for a number of years before that).
What JP II did was order an evaluation of the trial of 1632 that determined that there were errors of procedure (and possibly of fact) indicating that Galileo was pretty much railroaded.

He was not the first to recognize that evolution is a fact. The church has explicitly recognized that since around 1900 and Pope Pius XII also spoke out on the topic in the early 1950s. JP II simply reiterated the church’s stand on the topic.

And the church has also explicity stated that the Jews are not responsible for the death of Jesus for many years. What JP II did was re-assert the fact to be sure that the point was clear in case anyone missed the all the other pronouncements.

I am not lining up to canonize him; there are many points on which he may be criticized.
But get your facts straight, at least.

Being raised Catholic and married to a Lutheran , my husband consults me on All Things Catholic. Uhhhh, I pretty much nearly mostly failed religion class my entire school career do to a lack of caring. I try to explain what I can without sarcasm. I usually fail.

But he hit me with the same questions Dio started. “Are they praying for him not to die, because that would be pretty bough to keep him around any longer than they have.” We both agree that some kind of animatronics have been used for awhile on him in the usual Conspiracy Theory way.

Yeah, he was possibly the most progessive pope evah, but I gotta agree with the OP on the sticky issues of birth control, rape victims, homosexuality, preist celibacy is a load of crap, Preist sex abuse scandals, and the ever popular: keeping down the wimmen. He still isn’t exactly 21st century. More along the lines of possibly 1900 some times.
What is happening in Rome right now and across the globe is recreational grieving.

Just like when Earnhart bit the big one and is immortalized in rednecks everywhere with the #3 decal on cars, flags and, my favorite, tattooes with his face in the 3; I wait with girlish anticipation when we see the pope car flags, car decals and tats come out.
If I believed in hell, I’m pretty sure I’d be headed there for my thoughts.

I hope he has a peaceful death and I look forward to whomever else replaces him and all the superlatives that will be used on the next pope. It’s bound to be a cliche-ridden press-fest. That’s gotta be a hellova set of shoes and funny hat to fill. No pressure…nosireee…no pressure at all.

Wouldn’t you love to see a documentary of behind the scenes after this pope dies and the political finesee and whatnot that will be going on with the Cardinal/Bishops all vying to get Their Guy in The Big Chair.

I think it would also make a most excellent mockumentary by Christopher Guest.

I think it’s interesting because we ARE witnessing history. Love him or hate him, he was a very prominent figure these last 25 years, and for a lot of us, he’s the only pope we’ve known. So it’ll be interesting to see what goes on.

I know all this. my intention was to be rather more facetious than literal. I meant to convey an overly simplistic, caricaturized version of some of his edicts as a sort of parody of the overcooked praise coming from cable news outlets (“he defeated communism.” e.g) After posting I realized I probably hadn’t communicated my intent very well and that I was probably going to get corrected on all that stuff (I even guessed it would be from you).

I was simplying things but I also think that those are going to be the perceptions for this Pope, regardless of accuracy. I also think his statements on those matters have had the popular effect suggested by my characterizations regardless of what he actually said or what the precedents were.

Well, it’s either 24 hour pope-watch, or Michael Jackson. Choose your poison.

The advent of 24/7 news channels has only succeeded in making melodramas of every stinking thing that happens in the world. For every event that deserves heightened media attention (the Asian tsunami, 9/11), there are thousands that do not (Lacey Peterson, Michael Jackson, OJ Simpson).

The best piece of advice I can give is to turn off the t.v. or simply program your clicker to bypass Fox, CNN, etc. The death of the Pope is significant. He is an important World leader. The death of Yasser Arafat was also significant. However, we don’t really need to have reporters on the scene to give us death bed updates every 15 minutes. It’s morbid.

The media really is at a crossroads. 24/7 news coverage is great when you have actual newsworthy events to report. 24/7 news coverage is overkill when you do not.

Just to clarify something; I don’t think JPII was evil incarnate or a tyrant or anything. I think he was a good ambassador for his faith, that he did make some good statements and that from all accounts he was a thoughful and sincerely devoted man. I also think he was mired in some antiquated social positions that he was unable or unwilling to change but I see that as more of an institutional problem than a personal failing. I just think the media coverage is way, way over the top with the nonstop hagiography.

And of course, I should know that complaining about purple media coverage of an event like this is like complaining about the snow in Minnesota (but I complain about it nonetheless).

Well, he’s gone now, so the coverage is almost over.

What are you kidding me? There’s gonna be even MORE coverage-vigils, the funeral, the Masses, not to mention the speculation about the next pontiff.

Of course, I, for one, am not complaining-this is history, we’re viewing, living history happening right in front of us.

I choose arsenic.

I can’t wait to see the new series Vatican Idol. The cardinals move up or are booted out of the competition based on their dogmatic song and dance numbers.

The winnner gets that great hat, the Popemobile, and all the gold he can lug around sewn into his clothing.

Plus, I’ll love to hear Simon’s catty comments.

There’s a great story in this year’s Best American Nonrequired Reading (edited by Dave Eggers) called “We Have a Pope!” by Christopher Buckley. It’s a fictional memoir of a big-name PR guy hired to promote the idea of an American Pope.