The Pope and the
Terrorist: Two Misguided Beatifications
"Thanks to the strict condemnation of condoms in the fight against AIDS - and the lie propagated by the Vatican that 'rubbers' would spread sexual diseases even further - thousands, if not tens of thousands of people, may have died. In other words, more than even bin Laden ever murdered."
A tapestry of the late Pope John Paul II is unveiled on the facade of St. Peter's basilica at the Vatican on the occassion of his beatification - one step before his canonization, May 1. In his own way, was he responsible for more deaths than Osama bin Laden?
Over recent days, two faces
from the past caught up with us and nearly ran us over. First, Karol Wojtyla,
better known as John Paul II, who was beatified; and Osama bin Laden, the
terrorist prince who, since 2001, has put his terror stamp on the new decade,
and was just killed in Pakistan by a team of U.S. Navy Seals.
For some people, the two
personify two opposite poles of human nature. For others, the hero of
Catholicism and the prince of darkness are unlikely brothers in spirit. The
author must confess that he sees himself as part of the latter group.
Both bin Laden as well as
Wojtyla stood for an uncompromising faith and the battle against the godless,
despite employing utterly different means which, if nothing else, were based on
their own points of view. In bin Laden's case, he was only able to draw upon a
numerically small group with which he - unsuccessfully - attempted to trigger a
The terror of bin Laden and
an al-Qaeda that was inspired by him was and is - as was
just shown again in Morocco - ruthless and blind as far as individual
victims are concerned, yet brutally calculating in its hatred when it came to
indiscriminately targeting certain groups.
This indiscriminate killing,
which at its height culminated in the attack on the World Trade Center and has
since been replicated time and again the world over, will for long be
inseparably tied to the billionaire's son bin Laden, even though he's been
nothing more but a criminal on the lamb in recent years, who wanted to preserve
his dwindling influence in the world by issuing Internet messages to his fans.
Just how much he's considered
yesterday's news is reflected in the entire Arab democracy movement, which has
overtaken the fundamentalists and reduced them to helpless and degraded would-be
free riders. In fact, being killed by the Americans was likely the only thing
that could have saved the aging, kidney-disease addled terrorist from being
relegated to the dustbin of history.
Karol Wojtyla, however, is
still spoken of by a seemingly growing number of fans who were anxious to accelerate
his beatification, and
who know how indispensable propaganda is for the Catholic Church - and that his canonization is just
around the corner.
Poland's successful struggle against
communism and massive Vatican support for the trade union Solidarity are to
this day largely attributed to Wojtyla. The fact that this support materialized
on the back of fraud, murder, fascist secret orders and criminals - think the Banco Ambrosiano
scandal - is mercifully forgotten in the current reporting. Wojtyla operated
like a politician with nerves of steel, unscrupulously pursuing his party's
agenda. The fact that two key figures who could have blown the whistle were
murdered (Roberto Calvi
and Michele Sindona)
is therefore significant.
The beatification is even
more absurd in light of the fact that, thanks to the strict condemnation of
condoms in the fight against AIDS - and the lie propagated by the Vatican that
"rubbers" would spread sexual diseases even further - thousands, if
not tens of thousands of people, may have died. In other words, more than even
bin Laden ever murdered. And that's to say nothing of the inadvertent boost to
an already exploding rate of population growth, which is a great burden for the
African continent - and is certainly to the liking of bin Laden and his fundamentalists.
Also paradoxical is the fact
that among other things, the current abuse crisis, which the Church is trying
to rid itself of with the beatification of Wojtyla, was in no small part
brought about by him, when on April, 30 2001, he signed a letter assuring that existing
abuse cases wouldn't be handed over to the appropriate authorities, but would
rather be referred to the Congregation
for the Doctrine of the Faith, and would further be subject to pontifical secrecy.
There, under the leadership of Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, Pope Wojtyla's
successor, the cases were buried in the very depths of the Vatican. The fact
that things grew ugly and exploded into public made the beatification of the
"People's Pope" all the more important.
All of which lends the
paradox a certain logic - and the present as a coherent continuation of the past.
This is exactly
what the U.S. has now done. The satisfaction of having killed bin Laden is
understandable and certainly an asset for Obama in the next election. But strategically,
it would likely have been more useful to slip some
poison to the terrorist lord and kill him silently, since his death was
in the national interest. In any case, it is absurd to argue that one defended
the rule of law by assassinating him, rather than affording him due process. But
trying Osama in court wouldn't have been the valuable piece of propaganda that
his assassination was. As far as propaganda goes, a trial would have been very
difficult to exploit on the "home front."
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