Is the Pope Catholicism? | Letters | Chicago Reader

Is the Pope Catholicism? 

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To the editors:

So Bill Wyman considers the Catholic Church a "moneyed international cult" that deliberately impedes "social progress of the most basic sort" [Hitsville, October 23]. Well, that's his opinion and he's entitled to it. However, since it also sounds like a deadpan plot summary for a new Oliver Stone movie, I have to respond.

First, I agree with Wyman's stance regarding the media's backlash against Sinead O'Connor. But if O'Connor really wanted to make people think she picked a dumb way to do it. Because, of course, she didn't say anything; she did something--she performed a deliberately "shocking" act meant to provoke the knee-jerk responses which Wyman decries. Sticking your middle finger in someone's face isn't a good way to initiate a conversation, regardless of the subject.

Second, why is it hard for Wyman to acknowledge that there are reasons behind the Church's positions on such issues as birth control or abortion? These reasons weren't arrived at casually, or with the intention of antagonizing people. The leaders of the Church believe in the rightness of these decisions as firmly as those who don't. And when push comes to shove, Catholics have always been urged to "follow their conscience" on these issues--which is as far removed from a "cult" atmosphere as can be.

Third, the chief obstacle to social change is hatred, which, unless I'm mistaken, is what Christianity has always fought against from the beginning (i.e., Love thy neighbor). All of those missionaries caring for the victims of civil war in Africa or Latin America--why are they wasting their time? That nice old Mother Teresa, shouldn't she kick back and relax in her old age? And Pope John XXIII, a man who rejuvenated the spiritus mundi (world spirit) more than any leader in this century, a man beloved by people of all races and religions at the time of his death in 1963--boy, what a meddlesome mensch he was.

The fact is that the Catholic Church, like all other institutions, is a firmly ensconced bureaucracy, with all of the good and bad which that implies. For those of us who still believe in the good (without ignoring the bad), Wyman's caustic Catholic bashing seems as ill-advised as Sinead's pseudoprofound TV stunt.

Bill Dal Cerro

River West

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