March 14, 2000
volume 11, no. 52
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CATHOLIC PewPOINT editorial for Tuesday, March 14, 2000

Jesus had to contend with the scribes, too!

        Guess it was too much to expect. We're talking about the public reaction to the Holy Father's unprecedented universal apology on this past Sunday - the First Sunday of Lent which we have dubbed "Mea Culpa Sunday" and which His Holiness John Paul II called a "Day of Pardon." We're not disappointed in what the Vicar of Christ and his cadre of prelates said, rather we're disappointed in the "the Church didn't go far enough" rhetoric that is filling the secular media these past two days. Please, give us a break! Why is it that the media always seek out the radicals when getting a quote about the Pope or the Church? Here was an event that garnered front page headlines across the world and top billing on the news programs. But in every story we've read so far from the secular fifth estate, or watched on the news, there's always that word: "...but..." Why is it that they have to add on that conjunction? Over the centuries in homes, the work place, in churches and in legislatures the word "but" has been the butt of more resentments than one can imagine. Psychologists shudder at that word we're told, but journalists relish it. And they took it to a new level of fault-finding in covering the Pope's solemn apology.

        Soon after his Sunday Angelus the Holy Father joined his papal staff for the Holy See's annual Lenten Retreat so he isn't presently aware of the inferences and snipes aimed at him by the media, but we saw it only too clearly. While watching the CBS news Sunday night there was the Holy Father embracing the blood-stained legs of the life-size Jesus on the crucifix in St. Peter's Basilica. Accompanying this video was the audio "but" where the announcer proceeded to mention various Jewish factions who had to criticize, as well as a woman's group and even a snide mention that the Pope said nothing about the gays. Again, please, give us a break! Instead of accepting this solemn ceremony within the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass as a penitential service, the media painted it as if it were a political speech. What really ate our craw was the next sidebar tagged on to that story which accused the Vatican of stashing away millions of dollars, pounds, lire and what have you that, according to the report, rightfully belonged to Jews. The story inferred that the Church was stealing money and then showed some sinister shots of the Vatican that the Church had no comment and were in a state of denial. Guilty by inference. It happens all the time in the media and so the American public was left even more confused by the tie-in between the apology and the Enquirer-type scandal brewing in Rome. Let's say what it really is: more sensationalized muck the media's trying to brew up. It all sounds more like sour mash. Many news reports also inferred that the Pope's apology exonerated all others and placed the blame squarely on the Church. Again, please, give us a break!

        It's interesting to note how few have reciprocated the apology. You can probably count them on one hand. Sorry, but are you just as tired and frustrated with all this "holocaust blame-game" being thrust on the Church? In that same CBS report, they once again brought up the holocaust and Pope Pius XII and associated his name with graphic, stark pictures of victims of the Holocaust. The viewer automatically associates audio and video and subliminally good Cardinal Eugenio Pacelli becomes a Nazi war criminal. Oh, the media are such excellent pupils of the university of satan! And in that very same story even poor Pope Pius IX was raked over the coals and his status as potential blessed challenged because he dared to take in a Jewish youth off the streets and convert him. Please, please, enough already! Why should we as a Church apologize for seeking to convert others to the one, true Faith? Didn't Jesus command us to do so?

        Our Lord also told us to turn the other cheek and as Catholics we've been doing a lot of that lately. If Holy Mother Church and her members aren't being blamed for the Holocaust, we're being accused of intolerance because we won't accept the sinful lifestyle of homosexuality. Notice how clever the father of lies is? Notice how he has managed to make the abnormal normal, and hammer home, through the help of the prince of darkness' disciples - the media scribes, that good, decent values are "wierd" or "phony?" It is just further proof of Christ's words as well as reinforced in His Blessed Mother Mary's warnings from Rue de Bac and La Salette on, about the loss of virtue and the growing immorality that is engulfing mankind. Today lies are accepted as the norm, even under oath. Our own president doesn't value honest ethics. We are being taught by the media, the courts and schools that responsibility is something we pass off on others; never should we blame ourselves - for society is to blame for our own actions. With this in place no wonder so many wallow in the self-pity vortex that endeavors to swallow others up with them for indeed, misery loves company. And so does satan!

        It's time the media display some honesty and, rather than criticizing the Pope with the hollow "he didn't go far enough," help educate the public as to what this "general confession" on behalf of the children of the Church is and the intentions of the Vatican in this act of public "self-flogging." The Holy See never "covered anything up;" it hasn't "hemmed and hawed;" and it hasn't pointed the finger at others unlike those who accuse the Church. Holy Mother Church readily admits her flaws but please don't place the blame of the world on her. That ignominy goes to her greatest enemy - satan and his legions who seek to bring down Christ's One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church. The Holy Father, aided by Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, Prefect for the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Cardinal Bernardin Gantin, Prefect for the Congregation for Bishops, Cardinal Roger Etchegaray, President for the Central Committe for the Jubilee of the Holy Year 2000, Cardinal Edward Idris Cassidy, President of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, and Cardinal Francis Arinze, President for the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue, along with Archbishop Stephen Fumio Hamao, Prefect for the Pontifical Council for Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant Peoples and Archbishop Francois Xavier Nguyen Van Thuan, President for the Pontifical Counil for Justice and Peace all took turns begging God for forgiveness for sins committed against our fellow man over the centuries. No the Church didn't go into specifics and shouldn't have despite the objections of groups who fall in that claptrap of "he didn't go far enough" or "it was a long time coming, but..."

        What the Church of Rome intended was a general "general confession" - if you will - for the sins and flaws of members of the Church universally. It was not an apology by the Church herself for she is the Mystical Body of Christ and God cannot err. Too many media members cannot distinguish that fact and immediately assume the Church herself made mistakes. Of course they want to convey that conception because, as we said earlier, misery loves company. And if they can convince themselves and others that the Church founded by Jesus has sinned then they can surmise that there is nothing special about the Roman Catholic Church nor Our Lord's words in Matthew 16: 17-19. Thus it would give total equal status to the first church on the right in Brawley, California as well as the New Age temple on the hill, the Wiccan assembly in the next county, the first synod church of the Baptist-Presbyterian-Methodist Episcopalians, not to mention the church of anything goes or the church of rainbow dignity and others ad infinitum.

        Sorry, but there is only One Church founded by Jesus Christ, and only one person He bestowed the Keys of the Kingdom on: Simon Peter who the Son of God established as the first Pope. In the long unbroken succession there stands today his successor - a holy giant who is intent on fulfilling all that the Savior preached and this Polish Pontiff, who we like to call "John Paul the Great" in the tradition of Leo I and Gregory I, is willing to humble himself before the proud pharisees and scribes of the world. If our Supreme Pontiff is willing to to do it no matter the cost, shouldn't we also? Yes, we're going to have to put up with the barbs and arrows slung at us as Catholics. But that goes with the territory. And, when we really think about it, the problems with today's media are really nothing new. After all, Jesus had to contend with the scribes, too!

Michael Cain, editor

For previous editorials this year, go to PAST CATHOLIC PewPOINTS

March 14, 2000
volume 11, no. 52

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