Naturally, I wrote in to express my views as a Roman Catholic about the late John Paul II and to say I wanted a future Pope-I did not name a specific candidate--who would appeal to all Catholics, me included. It appears my letter was either not received (I did not get the usual fatal error message) or didn't pass muster. This is teh webmaster's prerogative. Anyway, here is the letter verbatim and, should you feel like emailing Ms. Dugan with your own suggestions as to whom the new Pope should be, I imagine she'd love to hear from you.
Here's to white smoke and tolling bells.
Att: Patricia Dugan, Esq.
Dear Ms. Dugan,
I heard and enjoyed listening to you on NPR yesterday. Like you, I am an attorney, Irish and Roman Catholic (though you're probably American-Irish) and was a guest last year on Marty Moss-Coane's Radio Times show where I discussed my life and novel, A SON CALLED GABRIEL. Like you, a beloved aunt had an audience with the late Pope and was enchanted by his wit and charisma. I also admired John Paul II, but I am
also not afraid to criticize his papacy where I feel he was in absolute error because he was, like the members of his church, a fallible human being created by God. I listened to the discussion yesterday, have perused your website, and felt compelled to write and state something important.
You declared on the radio that when it comes to choosing the next pontiff and his future papacy, there would be 'wiggle room' in some of the church's positions but not in others, one case of the latter being in relation to homosexuality. From your website's absolute silence on this important issue--and it is an important issue regardless of how uncomfortable that might be to acknowledge because it is not going
away--I must assume that you consider it a sin and are opposed absolutely to it.
Though homosexuals are created and loved by God every bit as much as Pope John Paul II was born white, Polish and also loved by Him, he overwhelmingly refused to recognize that homosexuals have civil rights--this being all the more ironic in that he set up camps in the mountains and forests of Poland so people could discuss political subversion, included statistically among these 'attendees' a number of
homosexuals, I have no doubt.
One central theme in my novel, A SON CALLED GABRIEL, concerns the absolute pain and terror a decent, well-bred, young Irish boy suffers growing up in a rigid Roman Catholic society that brooks no tolerance for a boy whom God created different. I repeat: a boy whom God created different. Certainly, his overwhelmingly religious parents did not make him gay. Neither did his siblings, neighbors or environment. God created him to express his sexuality every bit as much as any heterosexual and
to find love with a person of the same sex. He did, because we are all God's creatures and He loves us unreservedly.
I need hardly say that my novel contains an autobiographical element, is in fact what I refer to as fiction rooted in experience. Ms. Dugan, I do wish you would read my novel because I feel sure that a woman of your intellect and analytical skills would be enlightened about one part of the Roman Catholic flock, a part that has lost faith in the leadership because of its terrible hypocrisy so starkly illuminated by its failure to deal with members of the clergy who are pedophiles; in fact, at one
point, most laughably, tried even to label them as homosexuals and extricate itself in that way, but was thwarted by sound reasoning and a highly suspicious church membership. (If you would like a copy of the novel, please let me know and I'll be delighted to have my publisher forward it.) I also wish priests and all the cardinals about to elect our next Pope would read the novel too, because I feel sure they'd be
less inclined to judge and show the compassion and understanding which God requires them to show in the shepherding of His flock.
We live in a modern age and the complexities and demands of modern life require progressive change within the church and its doctrine--all another conservative Pope will succeed in doing is drive away even more intelligent Catholics. I know the Catholic conservatives will scream 'no cafeteria Catholicism'. This is utter nonsense, a smoke screen. The church is organic and adapts its circumstances as required. It has been doing this since it was founded. I mean, attitudes change all the time. Would we accept a Pope today who fornicates with abandon as they did in
the medieval ages? Would we have a Pope who sells indulgences to raise money for its coffers? I think not.
In time, the uneducated populaces of Africa and Latin America--regions where the last Pope shrewdly spent a lot of energy and created abundant saints--will also become educated and modernized and will reject the discrimination and bigotry that exists in our church today. My hope is that the cardinals will make the correct and Godly decision while the Roman Catholic church still stands at the crossroads. I hope they will appoint a Pope to serve God and all his people. I am not optimistic,
Finally, if you are serious about creating a meaningful dialogue as you say you are, I trust you will have the courage to post this essay verbatim on your website so that the issue can be aired and discussed fully.
[technorati: John Paul II, conclave of cardinals, Vatican, Roman Catholic]