We are grateful to Harold Meyerson for clarity on the Pope


John Paul’s orthodoxy, I fear, will quite overwhelm the humanistic aspects of his legacy. In Africa, John Paul’s church is a tribune for economic justice — for debt forgiveness, for a global economic order that seeks to enhance, not destroy, workers’ rights. It is also a vehement opponent of birth control and condom distribution, even as an AIDS epidemic ravages the continent. That such a church could call itself “pro-life” is sophistry of the highest order…..

The opposition to liberalism — Jeffersonian liberalism, with its belief in science and, correspondingly, human equality — extends well beyond the backwaters of Islam. It includes the church that the pope bequeaths us, the Protestant Christian Right, the Orthodox rabbis of Israel…..

A specter is haunting modernity. Powered by tradition, by a misogyny and homophobia for which a future pope will one day apologize as surely as John Paul did for the church’s anti-Semitism, the Orthodox International marches forth to do battle against liberalism, invoking ancient beliefs against the claims of a common humanity.

We couldn’t disagree with Meyerson more, but clarity is a lot more important than agreement, so we appreciate his clearly stated views. Meanwhile, here’s what happened to a girl in WWII, courtesy of Roger Cohen in the NYT:

Separated from her family, unaware that her mother had been killed by the Germans, she could scarcely walk. But walk she did, to a train station, where she climbed onto a coal wagon. The train moved slowly, the wind cut through her. When the cold became too much to bear, she got down at a village called Jedrzejow. In a corner of the station, she sat. Nobody looked at her, a girl in the striped and numbered uniform of a prisoner, late in a terrible war. Unable to move, Edith waited.

Death was approaching, but a young man approached first, “very good looking,” as she recalled, and vigorous. He wore a long robe and appeared to be a priest. “Why are you here?” he asked. “What are you doing?” Edith said she was trying to get to Krakow to find her parents. The man disappeared. He came back with a cup of tea. Edith drank. He said he could help her get to Krakow. Again the mysterious benefactor went away, returning with bread and cheese. They talked about the advancing Soviet Army. Edith said she believed that her parents and younger sister, Judith, were alive.

“Try to stand,” the man said. Edith tried and failed. He carried her to another village, where he put her in the cattle car of a train bound for Krakow. Another family was there. The man got in beside Edith, covered her with his cloak and made a small fire. His name, he told Edith, was Karol Wojtyla.

“A specter is haunting modernity?” Jeeeesh. The specter is the radical atheistic humanism that is one of the root causes of communism and the European wars of the twentieth century. The culture of death proceeds in great numbers, backed by fancy intellectual justifications. The culture of life proceeds one small life at a time.

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