Saturday, April 02, 2005

Contrarian Views of Pope John Paul II

If you would like something beyond the usual reactions to the death of Pope John Paul II, take a look at these.

Jonathon Hari

While he was brave and tough and right in his criticisms of communist tyrannies, Cornwell shows Wojtyla has been persistently soft on fascist regimes. He refused to back the Catholic priests begging for his support in their resistance to neo-fascism in South America in the 1970s and 1980s. He has vigorously disciplined any priests inclined towards liberation theology, while relentlessly promoting Opus Dei, a group with explicitly fascist roots and a key plank of support for General Franco.

Again, Wojtyla's choice of saints reveals his underlying values. He has with great fan-fare canonised Jose-Maria Escriva, founder of Opus Dei and admirer of Franco. Yet he has refused point-blank to do the same for Catholic Archbishop Oscar Romero, who was murdered by fascist death-squads in El Salvador after his long campaign against them. The legendary American journalist Carl Bernstein even exposed in his 1999 biography 'His Holiness' that the Pope cut a deal with Ronald Reagan where he agreed not to condemn the neo-fascist Contra war against the democratically elected Sandinista government in Nicaragua. Hendrick Houthakker – formerly a close friend of Wojtyla - told Cornwell he has "no real appreciation of the virtues of democracy". It seems that the godlessness of Communism was more repugnant to him than its human rights abuses.

Christopher Hitchens

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