Wednesday, March 02, 2005

Popes, hopes, and hypocrisy

Today is the first of March. So why the fuck did I spend the morning shoveling a foot of fucking snow?!?!? I know it's Michigan and this might not even be the last of the snow, but every time I walk outside I can't help but think of the crocuses that are blooming in Whitworth Park in Machester at this very moment. Mumph. (Seriously, how fucking bleak does it have to be before you find yourself longing for the beauty of Manchester?! Think about it.)

As you've all probably heard by now, the Holy Father is not is good health. Yeah, there's a shocker. Apparently he's recently undergone a tracheotomy. (For those of you who don't watch ER, that's when they make an incision in your trachea through the front of your neck and insert a plastic breathing tube, at which point you breath through a hole in the front of your neck rather than through your nose or mouth. Shorter route = less resistance = easier breathing.) What got me was all the photos of people standing outside the Vatican praying for the ol' pontif. Here's my question: What EXACTLY are they praying for?

Are they praying for his health? Too late, folks.

Are they praying that he doesn't die? I don't think I need to waste a lot of space on the obvious futility of that. Besides which, it's not like he won't be immediately replaced by yet another out-of-touch, conservative, cellibate old fart who will continue the current out-of-touch, conservative, cellibate old fart's inane policies (like the use of condoms to control the spread of AIDS is evil) and positions (like abortion in America is the new Holocaust). When the old coot finally shits the bed, whenever that happens, absolutely nothing will change, so why stress over the guy's death?

Are they praying for his soul? That's a good one. If HIS sould needs prayin' for, we're all S.O.L. If there's any prayers for soul-savin' to be said, he should be saying 'em for the rest of us.

Perhaps they're praying that he doesn't suffer? Well, that's nice, but frankly there are millions of people in this world who are suffering a fuck lot more than the pope. This is a man who has live a life of extreme luxury for his entire adult existence. He was born in Poland, a nation not known in the 20th century for its lavishness, so he may well have had humble beginnings, but since becoming pope in 1978 (or was it 79?) he has wanted for NOTHING. No, if people are concerned with the relief of suffering, their prayers are better directed elsewhere.

So what does that leave? I can't figure it out. All these people with their candles and vigils; what is it they want (besides a chance at being seen on national TV)? Or perhaps that's it. Perhaps these are the very people of whom Jesus spoke when he said "When you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, who love to stand and pray in the synagogues and on the street corners so that others may see them. Amen, I say to you, they have received their reward. When you pray, go to your inner room, close the door, and pray to your Father in secret, and your Father who sees in secret will reward you." (Matthew 6, 5-6)

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