By: Coridon Henshaw Re: POPE'S VISIT: Reactionary in Religious Garb Date: Sat, 7 Oct 1995
By: Coridon Henshaw
Re: POPE'S VISIT: Reactionary in Religious Garb
From: eskinews!nyxfer.blythe.org!ww (Workers World Service)
Date: Sat, 7 Oct 1995 23:38:20 -0400 (EDT)
Via Workers World News Service
Reprinted from the Oct. 12, 1995
issue of Workers World newspaper
POPE'S VISIT: POLITICAL REACTION IN RELIGIOUS GARB
By Lal Roohk
Pope John Paul II is scheduled to be picked up in the
bulletproof Popemobile at Newark International Airport on
Oct. 3. From there he will be escorted under heavy police
security by helicopter and secret motorcades to rallies and
parades in the New York/New Jersey and Maryland metropolitan
He will address the United Nations. It is reported that
during the visit the police will create a "no-man's land"
around the Vatican's Permanent UN Observer's residence.
Behind the carnival atmosphere stirred up by the visit
runs a deeper thread. Great masses of people will flock to
catch a glimpse of a man they have been taught to believe
embodies a direct mystical connection to the Christian god
through the institution of the Catholic Church.
Under this authority the pope has issued Vatican edicts.
He has banned divorce, contraception, the right of women to
control their bodies, the right of sexual orientation, the
right of people to protect themselves from AIDS through the
use of condoms, the ability of women to participate in the
church with the same rights as men, and the right of priests
A vast reservoir of human suffering and violence has grown
out of these edicts. They have touched just about everyone's
life, religious or not. Can the murders of clerks and
doctors who serve women's health clinics be forgotten? Can
gay bashing be overlooked?
Gay groups, women's organizations and atheists, among
others, are planning to protest the pope's visit.
This pope is said to have encouraged "political freedom"
in Eastern Europe. But political activity is another thing
banned by the pope.
Father Jean Bertrand Aristide, before he became president
of Haiti, was excommunicated by Pope John Paul II for
following what Aristide believed was the teaching of Jesus--
that is, "throwing the money changers out of the temple."
But that figures. The pope's home, the Vatican, is one of
the largest repositories of wealth in the world. Financial
scandals at the highest level have leaked out of this
This may be the most political, right-wing pope since a
Borgia prince knifed his rival during the collapse of
feudalism. Pope John Paul II gained his stature in the
church when it was openly working with the CIA to undermine
the building of socialism in Poland. He shares
responsibility for the re-emergence of capitalism there, the
loss of jobs, the rapid polarization of wealth and the
general decline in living standards. He is an ideologue who
openly sides with the religious right wing against what is
called liberation theology.
The pope's history during the period of the Nazi
occupation of Poland is remarkably invisible. Even though he
has visited Auschwitz to distance himself from the
Holocaust, he has refused to apologize for the church's open
collaboration with the Nazis in Poland and across Europe. In
Croatia, for example, Franciscan monks administered a
fascist death camp during World War II where up to a million
Jews, Serbs and Romany people were slaughtered.
The church's base in the working class here is shrinking.
It used to comprise mainly Catholics of European descent,
but now is shifting to more Latino and Asian people. They
are poorer and have fewer resources for the church to
John Paul is desperately trying to shore up this base. His
speeches will certainly reflect this, with promises of
peace, hope and social justice for the poor. Yet no matter
how passionately he may pray for "the meek," this pope and
his church are bulwarks of reaction. They stand in the way
of social change that must come, if life in this world is to
be more than the present living hell for the poor.
- END -
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