Sunday, April 03, 2005

John Paul II

There are many nice things I could say about him. He seemed like the kind of guy that if you dressed him in a pair of jeans, running shoes, t-shirt, and baseball cap, you could go to a ball game, have a few brews, and have a lot of fun.

But there were a lot of bad things too. He was a hide-bound reactionary when it came to women in the Church, abortion, even the use of condoms to prevent horrible death and chaos. And finally, and most remembered, his blind eye toward the American clergy who were abusing children.

But I thought that perhaps someone else said it better than I could: Here is the take from Ambrose Bierce.

CHRISTIAN, n.
One who believes that the New Testament is a divinely inspired book admirably suited to the spiritual needs of his neighbor. One who follows the teachings of Christ in so far as they are not inconsistent with a life of sin.


I dreamed I stood upon a hill, and, lo!
The godly multitudes walked to and fro
Beneath, in Sabbath garments fitly clad,
With pious mien, appropriately sad,
While all the church bells made a solemn din --
A fire-alarm to those who lived in sin.
Then saw I gazing thoughtfully below,
With tranquil face, upon that holy show
A tall, spare figure in a robe of white,
Whose eyes diffused a melancholy light.
"God keep you, stranger," I exclaimed. "You are,
No doubt, (your habit shows it), from afar;
And yet I entertain the hope that you,
Like these good people, are a Christian too."
He raised his eyes and with a look so stern
It made me with a thousand blushes burn
Replied -- his manner with disdain was spiced:
"What! I a Christian? No, indeed! I'm Christ."

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