Sunday, April 03, 2005


While, obviously, during the period of official mourning it'd be a little tactless to criticise the Pope too harshly (we've got a whole future to pick over his record), is anyone else a little surprised at quite how powerful Bono has been in his praise for the man?:

U2 lead singer Bono has paid tribute to Pope John Paul II, calling him the "best frontman the Roman Catholic Church ever had". Bono described the late pontiff - who died on Saturday - as "a great show man, a great communicator of ideas".

Hmm. Is this the same Bono, who has campaigned so strongly for the world to do something about the Aids crisis? Or is this a different Pope he's talking about, one who didn't take a theologically strict line on contraception that in 1988 he said that it wasn't acceptable to use condoms, even to stop the spread of Aids, forcing the US Catholic Church to withdraw its support for them? In 1993, he told a rally of 30,000 young people in Kampala that the only way to put an end to the "tragic plague" was "the sexual restraint if chastity."

We wouldn't have expected Bono to be very tart with the man still warm, but even so... it seems a curious lack of understanding to be praising the life of the man who spent so long communicating such a dangerous idea. Or does Bono not actually think that having someone in such a key spirtitual role spending so much effort condemning something as simple as a condom, something that had such potential to save so many lives, as sinfull had any bearing on the numbers of people who need help and treatment today?


¡Benjaminista! said...

"A great show man, a great communicator of ideas".

True. Doesn't necessarily mean the ideas are good or the show worth watching. I can't take fault with that specific praise though.

Jess said...

Beautifully done.

Anonymous said...

Not being even particularly religious, let alone Catholic, I have suffered in silence over the last few months, if not years, while the man heading the church has turned into a vegetable. It seemed to me that it required not faith, but a Dungeons & Dragons understanding of the world, to expect anything of the old man other than... well, death.

That said, now that he's gone, the hagiography has done a bit to restore his reputation for me. He was once a vigorous man - the communicator Bono refers to -- and the Poles, if no one else, believe that he made an incredible contribution to their national life.

I can't dispute your specific criticism re: condoms, or the broader criticism that he was conservative and had autocratic tendencies. But I can't argue with Bono's comments either (self-important though he may be).

Anonymous said...

This Boston Herald article has a more complete quote from Bono. He was a little more qualified in his praise than some are letting on, apparently (emphasis mine): "[He was] a great showman, a great communicator of ideas even if you didn't agree with all of them, a great friend to the world's poor which is how I got to meet him."

Which kind of jibes with what some other people here are saying.

Anonymous said...

bono's always been a fan of jpII.


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