by David Fortwengler
The one thing I will never criticize the Catholic Church for is their marketing ability. For a bunch of guys with Canon Law degrees, they have taught the world for centuries how to generate revenue from their heroes, especially the deceased ones. As the expedited sainthood cause for Pope John Paul II speeds along, they are keenly aware of the beneficial effects JP II’s canonization will have for their franchises, especially in Poland and the United States. The Vatican’s merchandising department is working overtime designing medals and profitable gift shop chachkies. The list of dioceses requesting first-class relics ( the physical remains of a saint such as a bone, a hair, a limb, etc.) must be a mile long. Yuk.
For the record, I am also grossed out by shrunken heads and Vladimir Lenin's embalmed body on display in Red Square.
Secular organizations and governments have also learned the marketing genius behind monuments and museums. Just ask Cleveland about the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Cooperstown about the Baseball Hall of Fame, Canton about the NFL Hall of Fame, South Dakota about Mt. Rushmore, or Charlotte NC where the taxpayer funded Nascar Hall of Fame will open on May 11. Hotels are already booked within a 10 mile radius of the city and we are ready for business. What do you think St. Peter’s Square will look like on John Paul the Great's big day? I think all those guys with Canon Law degrees minored in business.
The Real Issue
It's now been almost two weeks since the book “Why He Is A Saint: The True Story of John Paul II” was released. Written by Monsignor Slawomir Oder, “postulator” and head cheerleader for JP II’s sainthood cause, the book is only available in Italian. I can’t read Italian but people in Italy can. Many have now read the book cover to cover, including journalists, and still the main evidence reported about the late pontiffs heroic virtues and sanctity are documented medical miracles, flagellating himself before he ordained priests and bishops, and forgiving his would be assassin. The glaring omission of course is how the 114 people who gave sworn testimony reconcile JP II’s sanctity and heroic virtues with his organized conspiracy to protect the reputation of his church and its assets instead of protecting children from some employees he knew were pedophiles.
It’s their church and they can do what they want, but this whole process only reminds non-catholics why they don’t care, ex-catholics why they left, and some catholics why it takes mental gymnastics to maintain their faith and religion.
Real Concern and Sadness
With tears in my eyes, my thoughts and concerns right now are for victims of sexual crimes and their friends and family. The pain and self-destructive behavior so many of us have experienced was not self-inflicted because we wanted to be like Jesus, it is because the effects are real and sometimes seem impossible to handle. I don’t know what happens when someone dies, but I do know how much I love and miss those who were in so much pain they took their own lives. Because of my own questions about faith, I struggle with how and even if I should pray. The best I can do, Dear God I hope it is true and my friends and loved ones are in your loving embrace.