Friday, April 15, 2005

Observations on the Death of Pope John Paul II

I’ve been holding this post since before the death of Pope John Paul II. News from this week has finally provided the right angle to complete the thought.

During the media frenzy leading up to the passing of Pope John Paul II…

No shortage of print, radio and television media time and effort had been spent detailing the extent of the Pope’s influence within Poland. As best I can tell Karol Woytyla was either the first or second most important Pole both in the history of the country and to the actual living members of Polish society. What I find most interesting about this is that a Pope who was publicly against the war in Iraq is the hero to a people who are very much our partners in that war. “John Paul II stated before the 2003 war that this war would be a defeat for humanity which could not be morally or legally justified.” Before the start of the war, the Pope had made clear to the entire world what he thought of a war against Saddam Hussein’s Iraq, on all war in fact. Without question John Paul II was adored by the Polish people as vigil’s held outside his former residence in Krakow demonstrate. However, there will forever be the disconnect between a hero begging for the avoidance of war and the embracing of that war by his most ardent hero worshippers.

Jump forward….

And with paragraphs added only to be deleted, the piece sat, unable to make the smooth transition to the story I envisioned, the story not about the disharmony between the Pope and the Poles. The story I was having trouble telling without this (or more particularly this):

Poland was one of the staunchest supporters of the US-led invasion of Iraq. But public opinion changed when Pope John Paul II criticized the war.

Implicit in this sentence, of course, is the ability of the Pope to exert influence over his native land. However, as we know from the first link (or from memory if you have a halfway decent memory) is that the Pope was against this war well before it started, he was consistently against the war and he was not quiet about it. If his being against it changed Polish minds about the war, how did they end up being one of our most high profile supporters? The uber-glorification of a man who really does not need any glorification at all in the media cheapens media outlets that engage in it. Now, some will point to this sort of thing and scream “liberal bias” and others will say that it is a sign of “media arrogance” while still others, myself included, will point to this as an example of the creeping affects of news as entertainment. For in a modern day news story about the withdrawal of Polish troops from frontline Iraqi positions it is far too irresistible not to drag a recently deceased Pontiff in and credit him with doing something he didn’t do. It is no longer enough that the Pope spoke eloquently and passionately in favor of peace over war. It is no longer enough that the head of the Roman Catholic Church advocated for the only course of action that a man in his position could advance.

That one sentence is a perfect example of why so many believe they are more than justified in holding indignant positions regarding bias, arrogance, and sensationalism in that nefarious entity known as MSM. It is also why they are right.