danitapgh (danitapgh) wrote,

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Respecting the Pope...

In his passing, I have come to respect Pope John Paul II. John Paul was a Pole in occupied Poland who had Jewish friends. Friends who went to the gas chamber. He did what he could do. Forged documents. Hid friends from the Nazis. He saw the Nazis burn the Jewish ghetto. After the war. After the communists took over Poland, he sewed of resistance seeds in Poland. As Pope, he visited communist Poland. He encouraged his people. His fellow Poles to resist. People rallied around him as a symbol of their national identity, and then through solidarity, his people overthrew the repressive communists.

With all the death and destruction that he witnessed firsthand at the beginning of the 20th century. I understand why he so fervently opposes abortion. He sees it as a holocaust of innocent children. He projects the sounds of their silent screams and thinks of his friends who he couldn't save from the Nazis.

However, I am still deeply confounded by John Paul's assertion that using contraception is fundamentally an evil act which is part of the "Culture of Death". I don't understand how I am disrespecting life by not choosing to put my body in the position of cranking out babies one after the next. I'm not killing anything by using contraception. I don't understand how a man using a condom to protect himself and his partner from AIDS is not part of the "Culture of Death". How does using a condom to prevent the spread of a dreadful disease offend God?

While I disagree with John Paul about the contraception (and women's place in society), I repect his striving against the biggest moral problems of this century. He used his position as the head of the Catholic church to change the church's teaching on anti-semitism. He taught that anti-semitism is a sin. He has tried to lead us away from the worst aspects of hatred and inhumanity within us.
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