Of Time and the Reiver

By Doerr, Edd | The Humanist, March-April 1995 | Go to article overview

Of Time and the Reiver


Doerr, Edd, The Humanist


Give 'em hell, son!

--Thomas Wolfe in Of

Time and the River (1935)

There he is, Time's "Man of the Year," staring boldly (with an ever so faint smile) from the magazine's December 26, 1994, cover: his holiness John Paul II, the holy father, supreme pontiff, and pontifex maximus (a pretentious title borrowed from the ancient emperors of Rome, meaning "the supreme bridge between heaven and earth").

Why did Time select John Paul II for its annual honor? Was it admiration for a man "whose words have global authority," a man (and an institution) with well honed public relations skills? Or was it from a wish to promote an institution and its official point of view? We may never know, but Time president Elizabeth Valk Long's editorial comment that in 1870 "Italy seized from the Vatican both Rome and the papal states" suggests a lot: the papal states, including the city of Rome, were probably the worst run country in Europe, and the people voted overwhelmingly for absorption of the country into the kingdom of Italy.

(Remember also, by the way, that back in the late 1970s Time made a nasty editorial attack on humanism and then refused to print a mild letter of pro test submitted and signed by every member of the American Humanist Association board of directors.)

Time could not point to anything about John Paul II except for his "charisma," popularity, single-mindedness, piety, and linguistic abilities. Time did report, citing a recent Yankelovich poll, that half of U.S. Catholics regard John Paul as "too conservative" and not in fallible when pronouncing on matters of faith. The poll also showed that 56 per cent of U.S. Catholics say that the pope is not infallible "when he teaches on matters of morals, such as birth control and abortion"; 89 percent believe it is possible to disagree with the pope and still be a good Catholic; 66 percent favor allowing priests to be married; 59 per cent favor allowing women to be priests; and 70 percent favor allowing divorced Catholics to marry in the church.

Time summed up John Paul's 1994 "accomplishments" as including slamming the door on the possibility of al lowing women to be priests and going all out to prevent the U.N. population conference in Cairo in September from recognizing that women have a fundamental right to abortion. A Spanish critic said that the pope has "become a traveling salesman of demographic irrationality" John Paul also continues to enforce the official teaching that all effective forms of birth control are immoral.

Most Catholics in the United States and elsewhere are pretty much like non-Catholics. Politically, American Catholics are as progressive and interested in civil rights and civil liberties as the rest of the population, and they and their church have certainly made great contributions to the common good. At the same time, however, John Paul's Vatican bureaucracy and its appointed prelates in the United States and other countries all too often use their enormous influence and political clout to deny women their rights of conscience on reproduction. The Vatican has also sought--with varying degrees of success--tax support for the church's distinctive institutions (the Clinton administration proposed in January that the United States and the Vatican cooper ate formally in international war and disaster relief, a topic beyond the scope of this column); and it has sought to block efforts by the United Nations and the nations of the world to deal effectively and humanely with the population ecology crisis. Vatican intransigence on these internal and external issues, in turn, is responsible for massive defections from the Catholic church in the United States and other countries.

If the Catholic church could only democratize itself (which is not likely), its resources could make a tremendous contribution to solving some of the world's real problems.

This brings us to John Paul's best selling 1994 book, Crossing the Threshold of Hope (Knopf).

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Of Time and the Reiver
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.