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2.06.2005    |    "Cornwell loves the Church"
What can you say when an extreme liberal reviews a book on Pope John Paul II by an even more extreme liberal? The liberal author is John Cornwell -- creator of the anti-Church screed "Hitler's Pope", and now, a new (likely) attack on the church in the person of JPII, "The Pontiff in Winter."

The liberal reviewer is himself an author, James Carroll ("Constantine's Sword" and most recently "Crusade: Chronicles of an Unjust War" (referring to our current war against Islamic terror). Don't you just wonder what side of the political fence Carroll is on? Just kidding; of course we know -- the review by Carroll of his fellow Church-hater Cornwell was in the January 30, 2005 Washington Post's Book Review. So what do you think?

Carroll loves the Pope for being against war. Carroll hates the Pope for exercising his papal authority. Carroll equates the fight against totalitarianism with women's rights to become priests. Consider this pairing of supposedly contradictory things that His Holiness is supposed to favor
The conventional assessment of John Paul II contrasts the pope's liberalizing work outside Catholicism with his profoundly anti-liberal governance of the Church itself. Thus his support of pro-democracy movements against totalitarian regimes stands in stark relief to the rigid authoritarianism with which he has squelched not only theological dissent but also the regional autonomy of bishops (which, in part, accounts for the bishops' grievous failure to act against priestly abuse of children). John Paul II's global promotion of human rights is seen against his rejection, say, of the demands of Catholic women for equality (which contributes to the astounding collapse of the Church's moral authority on all matters having to do with sex).
The Pope just can't win. As a Protestant, I've my own thoughts on the Catholic Church, and in Christian charity I won't put them down here. But I'm a Protestant, and owe no allegiance to Rome. However, I also happen to greatly admire John Paul II and know that where I disagree with him (as on the war on terror or on the supremacy of the Roman Church) that he comes to his positions out of prayerful consideration of the issues.

One must wonder about those who are on the inside, such as Carroll and Cornwell, who supposedly love their church yet seem to have such an abiding hatred for its structure and dogmas. "Cornwell loves the Church." writes Carroll. I wonder if Cornwell wrote the same about Carroll?. Regardless, on the subject of "Hitler's Pope", it might be a useful palate cleanser to take a look at what a true Catholic has to say on the subject of Pio XII (review in First Things by Fr. John Jay Hughes).

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1 Comments:

Blogger John said...

Excellent I really enjoyed this article, keep up the good work!

9:07 PM, February 06, 2005  

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About this site and the author

Welcome. My name is John Luke Rich, (very) struggling Christian. The focus here is Christianity in its many varieties, its fussing and feuding, how it impacts our lives and our society, with detours to consider it with other faiths (or lack thereof).

Call this blog my way of evangelizing on the internet.

Putting it differently, we're only here on this earth a short time. It's the rest of eternity that we should be most concerned about. Call it the care and feeding of our souls.

I was born Jewish, and born again in Christ Jesus over thirty years ago. First as a Roman Catholic; now a Calvinist by persuasion and a Baptist by denomination. But I'm hardly a poster boy for doctrinal rigidity.

I believe that Scripture is the rock on which all Christian churches must stand -- or sink if they are not so grounded. I believe that we are saved by faith, but hardly in a vacuum. That faith is a gift from God, through no agency on our part -- although we sometimes turn a deaf ear and choose to ignore God's knocking on the door.

To be Christian is to evangelize. Those who think it not their part to evangelize perhaps haven't truly understood what our Lord told us in Matthew 28. We must preach the Gospel as best we are able. Using words if necessary.

Though my faith waxes and wanes, it never seems to go away. Sometimes I wish it would, to give me some peace of mind. But then, Jesus never said that walking with Him was going to be easy...

Final note: I also blog as Jack Rich on cultural, political and other things over at Wrong Side of the Tracks

Thanks for stopping by.