Friday, April 29, 2011

John Paul II Great Man- Not a Saint

In 1999 it was the mania to try to pick a Man of the Century. Time Magazine picked Einstein but I have always thought that the true man of the 20th Century was Karol Woytija, Pope John Paul II. He was a victim and opponent of both of that century's evils Nazism and Communism and he also was an opponent of that other great evil, materialism. To say that he was not a good man and an important figure would be untrue but to say that he is a saint?

It seems that Conservative forces need to canonize their leaders see the blessed Ronald Reagan for example but to call John Paul II a saint caused me and millions of other Catholics to pause and wonder what exactly does it mean? Yes it is true that John Paul did good things. But he also allowed some very bad things. Things that are still with us today. He allowed the curia to ignore global sexual abuse and pedophilia. These were not isolated insodents, in over 40 countries hundreds of priests have been convicted of the worst abuse many protected by their bishops so that they could damage multiple children. I know from own life at least three former priests that have been indicted or convicted of these crimes and my bishop covered this up. This happened on John Paul's watch.

I know many will say the Church is a big institution and the Pope cannot see everything. But John Paul and the Present Pope Benedict had interest in all kinds of minutiae. They silenced theologian Hans Kung, Charles Curran and Leonardo Boff. The destroyed in Latin America the Christian Base Community movement allowing Evangelical Churches to fill that void and they created whole new decades of the Rosary. They had the time to redo Church liturgy and prayers and to investigate Nuns and Sisters but they did not have the time or desire to protect Children.

Is this the life of a saint?

There are many people whose sainthood is self evident for their greatness, Francis, Ignatius, Teresa of Avila, Catherine of Siena, Dominic and Benedict. There are people whose sainthood was simple and quiet, Teresa of Lisieux, St Maria Goretti or St. Charbel. There have been Popes who were also saints but has there ever been a saint who allowed evil to thrive?

John Paul is a great man not a saint

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Paul Ryan: The End of America as We Knew it.

Congressman Paul Ryan, who is the same age as I am, announced a budget yesterday that essentially destroys the social safety net in the United States. He also wants to lower the highest tax rate to 25% assuring us that this continued massive transfer of wealth to the rich will make America "fiscally sound".

Paul Ryan and I grew up in in the same America.

Actually we grew up less than a hundred miles from each other and we both watched as whole industrial sectors of our economy up and left because of competition and government policy.

We watched as the Midwest, once one of the most stable and civic minded regions degraded into a series of empty small cities with faded industrial cores, (See Janesville, Buffalo, Rockford, Flint, Gary, Galesburg, Decatur, Newton, Kalamazoo, and many more). We both watched as America made a series of mistakes that lead us to where we are now; unfunded wars, massive subsidies for Sun Belt Growth while we neglected older places, Trade Policies that resulted in the destruction of America's industrial base.

Paul Ryan's solution is to finish off the societal infrastructure that made the America we grew up in possible. He wants to destroy the New Deal and the Great Society even though it was these two movements that made our lives possible. The goal here is to destroy Medicare, thus removing from every senior citizen who are presently under 55 any certainty in their retirement. He wants to gut Medicaid. This would mean that my 97 year old grandmother, who has spent all of her savings on a nursing home would be out on the street or better living with dementia with my parents who are in their 70's. He wants to also attach Social Security later so that their would be no safety net at all but what he wont do is raise taxes on the rich.

When I stood in Grant Park three years ago I did not think that we were voting to make Ayn Rand's America a reality-

President Obama what are you doing? What a disappointment you are. When are you going to fight for the America we wanted?