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Bring Out Your Dead, Mate!

By Diogenes (articles ) | Apr 07, 2005

Shocking, but true. Catholic detractors of John Paul II are in such lamentably short supply in the southern hemisphere that journalists find themselves obliged to EXHUME media-savvy critics to help foul the patch of turf over the Pope's grave. Australian radio commentator Stephen Crittenden recruited ex-Jesuit, ex-priest, ex-tinct pommie Peter Hebblethwaite, who departed this vale of tears in 1994, to get in some post-conscious whinging:

Pastorally speaking, you can't just say, 'Well these people are all misguided' or 'They're all sinners'; that's an insufficient response to that situation. Now, the difference wasn't so much a disagreement on the essence of the matter, the disagreement was on whether you thought you should have a pastoral approach to this, which began from where people actually were, in trying to understand them and help them, or whether you simply said 'There's no problem here which can't be solved by obedience'. And it was that second solution to which he eventually came in his encyclical letter of 1993, Veritatis Splendor. And this perhaps is one of the most unusual features of the pontificate. He tried to rule the church from the right-wing as it were. Most popes are, and should be, centrist.

Hebblethwaite failed to respond, regrettably, to Diogenes' dinkum request for clarification. Those who feel the need for further instruction -- this time from an ex-pat American historian of alienation who explains the shortcomings of the last papacy through the lens of Kafka -- should read on for Crittenden's penetrating interview with Prof. William Johnston (still breathing as of 6 April 2005):

Crittenden: The Pope's official biographer, George Weigel, often speaks of this Pope as having reinvigorated Christian humanism.

Johnston: Oh yes, well now that's to my mind that's a Kafkaesque statement.

Crittenden: Isn't Christian humanism exactly what's been violated?

Johnston: Well exactly.

Now c'mon, cousins, you can come up with better liberals than that! Surely you're able to help out your poor compatriot Crittendon by, I don't know, scrounging around the Kalgoorlie Lawn Bowling Club or the Monash SCR until you find an angry Catholic who's a) a fellow Aussie, b) legally sane, and c) warm to the touch. You've never let us down in the past, and, as Joh Bjelke-Petersen is my witness, you won't fail us in this present hour of need.

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  • Posted by: Aussie - Apr. 07, 2005 9:26 AM ET USA

    I'm truely sorry Diogenes, and on behalf of all Australians I would like to appologise for the standard of our dissenters. We have had our share but unfortunately the most worthy have not reached international ears. Ex-MSC, ex-priest, s-tinct Paul Collins has been taking regular jabs at the late pontiff's corpse on ABC radio and TV, and if you look at Brisbane's Courier-Mail tomorrow you will likely find out why Archbishop Bathersby thinks the title "John Paul the Great" is inappropriate. Sorry

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