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What Else Is In Scott's Head?

The blog site for writer Scott C. Smith. Some observations on the world we live in and life in general. And maybe some politics.

Monday, April 04, 2005

Pope John Paul II

As some of you know, I'm Jewish, and as I've stated before here, am not very familiar with Catholicism. I'm actually a convert to Judaism, but as a kid, we were Baptists, so I have the perspectives of both faiths.

I've done quite a bit of study on my own about the early origins of Christianity, but I was mainly interested in the writers of what came to be the Christian bible. Beyond that, I couldn't tell you what the differences were between, say, Quakers and Pentecostals, and couldn't tell you anything about Catholicism.

I do know that Pope John Paul II did a lot to help strengthen Jewish/Catholic relations. Growing up in Poland, he knew first-hand how Jews suffered at the hands of the Nazis. He was the first Pope in history to visit the central synagogue in Rome and he worked to normalize relations with Jews and Israel, while condemning anti-semitism. Pope John Paul II also made a historic trip to Israel and prayed at the Western Wall.

The Anti-Defimation League has a series of articles about Pope John Paul and his efforts to strengthen Catholic relations with Jews. Click here to check it out.

Now, one aspect of the Christian faith that has puzzled me is the fact that there are so many sects, with many claiming that they are "real" Christians and others are not, such as the Church of Latter-Day Saints (Mormons).

Many fundamentalist Christians are anti-Catholic. Here's an example from way off the deep end: Jack Chick's tract on Catholicism, called Last Rites. It's a great read. No, it's not. Here's a great line from the tract: a Catholic man, about to be sent straight to hell, says, "Don't you love the Roman Catholic Church?" (I think he's talking to Jesus) and the response is "How could I, John? Her false teaching are why you are going into the lake of fire!"

Chick really hates Catholics. Here's another tract, called Are Roman Catholics Christian? (The quick answer is NO).

And another! Called Man In Black. This is a good one. It calls the Catholic Church "The Great Whore."

At least, for now, people are putting aside these feelings and the world is mourning with Catholics on the death of Pope John Paul II.

Not surprisingly, the short attention span of the media has dropped the Terri Schiavo case like a hot potato (or, potatoe if you are Dan Quayle). Good thing all of the media attention on Schiavo and the Pope distracted attention away from the scathing report issued by the commission on weapons of mass destruction, which, among other things, concluded that U.S. intelligence was "dead wrong" in assessing Iraq's weapons capabilities.

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