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September 25, 2006

Does The Pope Need Jim Carville?

"The Pope Smokes Dope" after all? No, just playing with you. That's a David Peel song of 34 years ago, from my protracted youth, referring playfully to Pope Paul VI. Don't sweat it. Popes aren't toking up.

Do worry and be perplexed about this pope, a world leader. And about Mel Gibson, a powerful leader in a major world industry, too. Recently, starting with Gibson and then Pope Benedict XVI, high-profile Christians have been accused of trashing two different major world religious cultures. Gibson has apologized twice for making anti-Jewish remarks while drunk. The Pope has said he's sorry four times for besmirching Islam while cold sober. His remarks were taken out of context but, as in Mel's case, some people aren't buying it. Does The Pope need high-priced Beltway or Hollywood talent for damage control? Should someone just put in a call to James Carville? Or maybe Mel Gibson's PR person?

Hunter Thompson is no longer with us, and so we miss his gift of covering and explaining this age-old story: elite people with bad habits saying and doing dumb things because they are human, too. I won't try to explain, or judge, it. But when any of us violate something sacred, even inadvertantly, it hurts and divides. When leaders do it, hell comes and stays awhile.

So I had merely hoped that Pope Benedict XVI would be--to borrow from President Kennedy's quip about a certain Iranian Shah--my kind of pope. Every day, millions of Christians, Catholic or not, listen to The Pontiff. So what's up with this pope? Benedict explained that his September 12 speech in Regensburg, Germany--quoting a 14th century Christian emperor, Manuel III of Trezibond, who had said Islam was "evil and inhuman" and violent--did not reflect his own thinking, and that's certainly true. Benedict did nothing wrong, but he might have picked a different quote. He's apologized. Four times. Will that be enough? See from Reuters "Muslims want to know more on Pope's view of Islam".

Posted by JD Hull at September 25, 2006 11:59 PM

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