Saturday, April 09, 2005

Hypocrisy reigns, worldwide ...

Tried terribly hard to share the pain of loss of the His Eminence, The Pope -- but failed miserably. Did fairly well the first day, but by the time his remains had been paraded by on the small screen for the umpteenth time, it was over for me. Poor man (and man he was) tried his best to fulfill the office of Pope-dom; I truly believe that. Only problem is that I simply cannot find it within myself to embrace orthodoxy of any kind. The Catholic faith of my childhood was simply outgrown along with Santa Claus, fairies and elves, trolls, The Wizard of Oz, Captain Ahab, Ruth Fielding, and even Prince Rainier of Monte Carlo! That poor prince's demise was almost completely buried under by the Pope-a-rama as were the nuptials of that other notable prince, Charles, and his Camilla. Is there no justice?

There's a peculiar innocence about all that which causes me to wish silently that I'd remained a believer at times. I take no pride in being outside the circle most of the time. I waver between feeling the loss of my own innocence as tragic and torn by the fear that I'm missing out on something essential to the human condition and that I will die without having come to terms with my inability to solve the mystery. At other times I feel perfectly content to be uninvolved in the drama of liturgical processes and arcane belief systems. Life is magical enough without divine intervention; at least for me it is.

It's enough to know that one day I will no longer exist -- at least not in human form. That I will return to "The All," or whatever it is that brought me here. I firmly believe it's all molecular and explainable if we resist the temptation to coat it all in superhuman terms and make ourselves content with the probability that -- like all of nature -- we too will go back to being star stuff -- "as it was in the beginning ever shall be world without end, amen ...". The fact that "I am!" is enough. Anything more is imagined, at least so it seems to me.

Watching the excesses this week -- happening in a world in chaos -- frightened me when I let it occupy my thoughts for too long. HIV-AIDS rampant in Africa, and another outbreak of Hemmoraghic Fevers, another earthquake in Indonesia in those already nature-ravaged islands, children killed by mines in Iraq -- and still more cut down by gun violence here at home; continuing wars in lands whose names I can't pronounce with any confidence -- what God gave permission for such pain and suffering?

And the well-to-do, the royals, the statesmen and women, potentates and presidents -- all in their best mourning clothes gathered together, two million strong, to pay homage to the memory of the emissary of the one on high whom they believe holds the keys to our fate, (God, Jesus, Allah, Buddha, Yahweh, etc.), each true believer willing to defend to the death the supremacy of his/her "One God" over all others, but who stand this day in the shadow of the Papal Palace, carefully positioned for political advantage according to protocols strained by the sheer magnitude of the crowds. I found myself frightened into turning off the whole pageant in disbelief of what was being reflected back to us from the Vatican. "A culture of life," indeed!

Then I learned that Jon Stewart's Daily Show won its second Peabody Award yesterday. Maybe we'll make it after all.

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