So as I flip back and forth between the news channels, witnessing the cadres of mostly WASPy faces contorted with grief over Il Papa, I can’t help but think many a thing. I shall list forthwith:
1. What if the Pope ends up on life support for years? Does the Pope have a Living Will? Would he still continue to be Pope? Would the Cardinals get fed up, the visitors leave, and would someone unplug him?
2. Does that little song they are singing in the rosary vigil sound like a lullaby to anyone else?
3. Isn’t it interesting that although only about less than one-fourth of the world is actually Roman Catholic, the news about the Pope’s passing is completely dominating the airwaves and pretty much paralyzing the world?
4. How is Prince Rainier doing anyway? I mean…. he was in a bad enough shape that even the Pope sent him “get well” wishes, and yet he hasn’t died either. Or has he? Not that we’d know, since the news channels are glutted with “Pope DeathWatch.”
5. Consdering that John Paul II has been hailed as a uniter of the world, and a defender of the free world and a crusader against communism, he’s certainly destroyed the good work of John XXIII and Vatican II (you know? All religions in dialogue and reconciling their differences?). Conflicted does not begin to describe what’s in my mind.
6. But at the same time… will there be another Papa as famous, charismatic and world-traveling? What’s going to happen to the PopeMobile? Will any of his Cardinals be perfectly fine kissing babies and airport runways and giving long speeches? Will there be another Pope with as much hipness as the Pope?
7. What about the Pope’s extremely traditional and conservative agenda? Earlier, a woman called Kiera McCaffrey from the Catholic League uttered with a straight face a statement that went along the lines of, “Homosexuals are, of course, 100% loved by God. But, you know…. homosexual relationships are just not acceptable[that is not a direct quote, but a paraphrase, and I apologize if anything was taken out of context].” In essence, what she said was that homosexuals –damaged people though they are– are still loved by God, but, well…. you know! Homosexual sex is dirty and wrong and God will smite you if you do it [and that was my own version just now]. Which to me represents the weird mental schism you must have in order to be a Catholic. Or at least, the weird mental schism I would have to have if I were one, because I am of the simple idea that love is love and anyone’s sex life is no one’s business but that person’s.
8. I’m glad the Pope is not allowing cameras to capture his final moments. Let the poor man have some dignity.
9. The only news item to interrupt the steady Papal stream? News of Theresa Schiavo’s cremation. At long last, sir: have you no sense of dignity?
(or decency, really).
I guess the only truth I can assert at this point in time is this: Life is dukkha– annoying, inconvenient and always a little disjointed. The way to get over being inconvenienced is to ultimately get over yourself somehow and just let go and let life take its course. And that is usually the hardest part.
The Pope has just died.
God bless you, Karol Wojtyla. May you be in a better place. Amen.