Since all the cool kids are doing it, I’m joining in today’s Pope-Pile-On.
I once saw a living saint. In the swamps of Jersey. In the pouring rain.
John Paul II. God, there was something about that old man’s eyes. The passion, the conviction, the kindness. He was … well, the Pope. He was the travelling pope. He trotted the globe. Even the Harlem Globetrotters made him an honorary member and he went to Jersey to see me. Anyway, that’s how it felt.
After JPII took his final journey and the white smoke rose from the Sistine Chapel to announce the ascension of Cardinal Ratzinger to the papacy, we wondered if the new Pope would also be a traveling pope, visiting his flock all over the world and spreading the faith.
What we got instead appears to be a fellow traveler.
He started off quite impressively, denouncing the movement of modern society “towards a dictatorship of relativism." In the same vein, he denounced communism’s materialistic egalitarianism by stating “absolutizing what is not absolute but relative is called totalitarianism.” Not bad.
But, we should have known we were in trouble when in October of last year, Benedict’s Vatican called for a “global public authority” to rule over institutions responsible for “inequalities and distortions of capitalist development.” Sounds more like one of [f]idel’s reflections.
While in Mexico, when the pontiff was asked about the political situation in Cuba, Benedict said that it was “evident that Marxist ideology as it was conceived no longer responds to reality," and exhorted Cubans to "find new models, with patience, and in a constructive way." The press described his statements as a slam to communism and a call for change. No so much.
I’m very fallible, but I know how to read and Benedict said that Marxism “no longer responds to reality.” That statement assumes that it once did. When in its sorry, miserable history did Marxism ever respond to anything but the violence that has claimed over 100,000,000 lives and many times more victims and still counting?!? And by the way, [f]idel himself said the same thing about Cuban Marxism to Jeffrey Goldberg from “The Atlantic.” Marxism/Socialism only ever works in the minds of leftist utopians because in any reality it leads to tyranny and misery. Always.
Yes, Benedict did throw some bones to the masses in his masses about freedom, but they were tepid, guarded and uninspiring. The one and only unequivocal declaration that Benedict made while on his visit to Cuba was to denounce the American “embargo.”
All these statements combined with his deference to the atheistic ruling cadre and indifference to Cuban Catholics like the Ladies in White, Biscet and Paya, just to name a few, as well as the church’s complicity in violating the human rights of Cubans on both sides of the Florida straights ( yes, both forced exile and having to get a visa to return to your own country are against the UN’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights) prove that Benedict’s church leans left and that Benedict at best is just another fellow traveler.
Henceforth, I shall call him “Papa Ñangara”