Pope John Paul II died this afternoon. The New York Times reports on his papacy in an article that inadvertently tells us more than the Times really wanted us to know. The Times had its criticisms of John Paul’s papacy ready to go, but apparently went looking for something good to say about the Pope at the last minute:
Even as his own voice faded away, his views on the sanctity of all human life echoed unambiguously among Catholics and Christian evangelicals in the United States on issues from abortion to the end of life.
need some quote from supporter
John Paul II’s admirers were as passionate as his detractors, for whom his long illness served as a symbol for what they said was a decrepit, tradition-bound papacy in need of rejuvenation and a bolder connection with modern life.
“The situation in the Catholic church is serious,” Hans Kung, the eminent Swiss theologian, who was barred by from teaching in Catholic schools because of his liberal views, wrote last week. “The pope is gravely ill and deserves every compassion. But the Church has to live. …
In my opinion, he is not the greatest pope but the most contradictory of the 20th century. A pope of many, great gifts, and of many bad decisions!”
Among liberal Catholics, he was criticized for his strong opposition to abortion, homosexuality and contraception, as well as the ordination of women and married men. Though he was never known as a strong administrator of the dense Vatican bureaucracy, he kept a centralizing hand on the selection of bishops around the world and enforced a rigid adherence to many basic church teachings among the clergy and Catholic theologians.
There you have it. The Times’ criticisms are ready to go, a few good words for the Pope are an afterthought.
UPDATE: I got a screen grab of the second page of the Times article, just before they changed it to delete the “need some quote from supporter:”