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Searching the Pope

4 April 2005

John Paul II is headlining everywhere this week. Even the Arab media have been leading on the story, say the New York Times. Online, the most thorough posthumous account of the Pope's life is found on Wikipedia. Lord knows how many people helped edit and write the entry. 

One of the Top 40 articles that making the rounds in the 'blogosphere' (see Outside the Beltway) is by Christopher Hitchens on Slate, "Papal Power: John Paul II's other legacy". For all the official apologies the Pope made over the years (...anti-semitism, mafia relations, etc), Hitchens reminds us of the Pope's failure to act quickly on sexual child abuse in the Church.

Conservative bloggers like Michelle Malkin and John Henke were quick to dismiss posthumous criticism of the Pope as distasteful ("nekro-heckling"), but readers in both these blogs defended Hitchens' argument.

Would things have been different with a democratically elected leader of the Church? Probably not so long as the terms last a lifetime. Some great discussion in openDemocracy's forums going on...

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