Having never been a Catholic, and not even religious anymore, I find myself strangely moved by the death of Pope John Paul II. Maybe it's this sense that world has lost a truly great man--a dying breed to be sure--or maybe it's just my fascination with all things religious, expecially the pomp and circumstance of it all. And so it was with a bit of sadness that I read Christopher Hitchens' piece in Slate today. As usual though, he's unstoppable.
I leave it to the faith-based to wrestle with all this. Or rather, I would be happy to do so if they would stay out of my life. But there is one detail that sticks with me. A few years ago, it seemed quite probable that Cardinal Bernard Law of Boston would have to face trial for his appalling collusion in the child-rape racket that his diocese had been running. The man had knowingly reassigned dangerous and sadistic criminals to positions where they would be able to exploit the defenseless. He had withheld evidence and made himself an accomplice, before and after the fact, in the one offense that people of all faiths and of none have most united in condemning. (Since I have more than once criticized Maureen Dowd in this space, I should say now that I think she put it best of all. A church that has allowed no latitude in its teachings on masturbation, premarital sex, birth control, and divorce suddenly asks for understanding and 'wiggle room' for the most revolting crime on the books.)