Thursday, February 10, 2005

Peggy Noonan writes today about Pope John Paul. It is an excruciatingly long essay with her point supposedly to convey to us why the Pope's suffering is purposeful.

All well and good, if in fact she's able to actually communicate the point(s). I fail to comprehend it. (As an aside to all those religious, none of my comments, pro or con, have anything to do with the Pope but rather strictly Peggy Noonan; thought I'd steer off the trigger-happy emailers).

My question is: what is it exactly he's teaching us through his suffering (her words) that we don't necessarily learn from many others who go through the same sort of suffering when they're in the final stages of their lives? In her typical sanctimonious, and snobbish way, she elevates the Pope to God- or Christ-like levels, literally (read it, you'll see what I mean). Yet, as far as I understand it, Jesus tried to convey that each and every one of us is capable of being God-like as he implored that we act & feel in ways that he taught. In other words, the suffering of the Pope should not be held in any higher or lower regard than anyone else similarly suffering in the world. I realize his place in the religious order of things and fully appreciate the attention given to him (duh), but that's not what I am talking about, nor is Peggy supposed to be either.

As an example, she writes:
And yet as I watched him I realized I did not see him as ill and frail. I saw him as encased--trapped in there, in an outer immobility. And yet inside he is still John Paul.
I thought: he is a victim soul. His suffering has meaning.
He is teaching us something through his pain.
Huh? When I witnessed my grandfather dying of lung cancer, I too saw him "trapped in there" -- inside he was still there. Yet, his suffering, while personal, was just as "meaningful" as anyone else who was or is going through such suffering.

It's another instance of Peggy trying to wax poetic, and worse yet to try to attain deep, provocative heights, and ultimately failing -- by lots. She comes off sounding like some giddy, naive child, using kid-like prose to convey whatever it is she's trying to convey (it very often gets lost).

The kicker was this:
I called the great writer and thinker Michael Novak.
Yes, believe it, she considers Novak a great thinker. Nuf said.

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