Pope John Paul II - What's the big deal?

Andy Rooney had some interesting comments about Pope John Paul II last night on CBS's 60 minutes. Here's just an excerpt:

"For most devoutly religious Americans- Catholics, Protestants, Jews, even Muslims, the church doesn’t dominate their lives the way it use to and considering how highly everyone thought of Pope John Paul, it’s interesting that more Catholics than ever ignore their church’s admonition about things like birth control, and they don’t pay much attention to the church’s edict about divorce either. American Catholics work, play and have a family life now, pretty much independent of religion. This attitude is allowing religions to exist together more amicably than they once did. Catholic men marry Presbyterian women, Methodist women marry Catholic men, Catholics and Protestants both marry Jews, it’s no longer a big deal."

In one sense, having the church NOT dominate the lives of devoutly religious people is a good thing. The church, or what many have done to it reeks of hypocrisy, power struggles, quota agendas, backslapping and backstabbing, guilt-trips and 'sameness' producing requisites. Not to mention the bad preaching. These are things that most of us can do without; in fact most of us are getting tired of them. There is also much reassurance in knowing that work, play and family life has now wriggled free from the oppression of 'religion'.
If however, Rooney is suggesting a brightening future because fewer and fewer people are taking an interest in God, trading compassion for cohabitation, or flattening out the values and scandalous grace of Jesus...then there's a problem. We tend to gulp grace--we can't get enough, until our conscience becomes so dull that we then presume upon grace, and then demand it. John Paul, or more importantly, Jesus Christ modeled grace with conviction. A candor of truth and tolerance tempered with the sense of the eternal. I'm no social scientist (nor American), and I suspect Andy Rooney isn't either, but the way to peace, healing and wholeness does not come from segmenting life so that the soul withers. Calculated amputation is always a big deal!

1 comment:

  1. Phil, We have stop signs to make the masses more safe at intersections and to have an organized society. Some will not stop - too much of a hurry - too agressive or angry at something else for which they can not take any action - a healthy disregard for authority etc etc. Because of this percentage of humanity that has this disregard should we therefore consider that society must change and going forward remove all the stop signs? On the one hand we say the Catholic Church or the Protestant church or the Baptist Church is out of date -they should rethink their stand on divorce, abortion, end of life, purchase of salvation, infant baptism,adult baptism, church membership without baptism etc etc. It seems to me that what we need is a church strong, with beliefs and standards that never change, absolutes so that when some of the members of the world want to rant and rave against these standards they have the platform to do so. If the church rolls over to society's request for change then we move the goal posts and have no place to return to. So if we are Baptists then lets stay Baptists. We stand on what we believe. If I do not agree then maybe I should not be a Baptist - no? Or should I campaign to have the Baptists change so that I can become one?
    Does Christ not wish us to take a stand - hold to the moral ground - and then let all the others who drive by decide if they are going to stop or not. If we believe that the Holy Spirit will lead then we have to stand strong - stay solid to His truths and be counted. I may not agree with the Catholic Church but they should stay the Catholic Church not let me and the rest of society try to tell them they are out of touch and should change. No No No We have to search and let the Holy Spirit lead us to where he wants us to be. That's why there are many born again strong practicing christians in the Catholic Church. Maybe God wants them to point to Him and not the Catholic Church.
    Does the "I am the way the truth and the life, no man cometh unto the father but by me" mean no one in any other faith or practice will not have equal choice or chance? Of course if they believe in the Christ. But will we know before getting to the promised land. I beleive each church, faith group, organized religion or whatever should hold to the ground they stand on and take a chance. Who cares what their practices are? I'll join or not depending on my personality and needs at the time. Two sons of a friend of mine - brought up Brethern have become Catholic Priests. To take Christ inside so to speak. Where is Christ?
    What society requires is that the church, any church, all churches remain strong and true to their way of doing things - not removing the stop signs - and then letting each searching individual decide if they wish to stop.
    An uneducated rant by Gord