Dark Bilious Vapors

But how could I deny that I possess these hands and this body, and withal escape being classed with persons in a state of insanity, whose brains are so disordered and clouded by dark bilious vapors....
--Rene Descartes, Meditations on First Philosophy: Meditation I

Home » Archives » April 2005 » Why I never liked John Paul II... and why he most certainly isn't a saint...

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04/20/2005: Why I never liked John Paul II... and why he most certainly isn't a saint...

(or, rather, wouldn't be a saint if there were a heaven, which there isn't....) I had not heard of this particular incident, but I had heard of others like it, and John Paul's contempt for Catholic women--lay and religious--was very obvious during his papacy. From: Benedict XVI: Habemus papam, vivat status quo, by Jack Miles.

How will ordinary Catholics greet the election of an elderly, conservative, European pope? I find myself thinking back to 1979. When John Paul II made a typically spectacular visit to Chicago that year, I heard a sad little story from my mother. A cousin of mine, a widow with five children whose life was a long struggle with poverty, had been thrilled to hear that she would be among the lay Eucharistic ministers who would distribute Holy Communion when the pope celebrated an outdoor Mass in Grant Park.* For years, she had cherished nothing more than her weekly role in the liturgy. Every Sunday morning, reality receded for an hour as she put on a white surplice and assisted the priest in distributing the consecrated bread and wine. Doing this at the papal Mass, she said, would be the greatest moment of her life. But then a heartbreaking message arrived: In deference to the pope's sensibilities, no woman would be allowed to take part.
I'm proud to say that I had two opportunities to see John Paul II in person (the October, 1979 visit to Chicago (I was attending Northwestern's law school at the time) and the January, 1999 visit to St. Louis). I'm even prouder to say that I didn't avail myself of either opportunity.

Len on 04.20.05 @ 08:15 PM CST

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