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Entry 154, on 2005-04-06 at 14:22:09 (Rating 2, News)
I see that Mehmet Ali Agca, the Turk who shot the Pope in 1981, has asked for permission to leave prison to attend the funeral. What a bizarre thing. Does he want to confirm that what he failed to achieve 20 years ago has finally happened due to natural causes? It seems unlikely he will be allowed out of prison to attend, so it doesn't really matter anyway.
I'm not sure what I think about the death of the Pope. Clearly he was a very powerful man, since about 13% of the world's population is Catholic. I am an atheist myself, and have little tolerance for religion in any form, but I can still recognise the good aspects of a religious leader's achievements.
John Paul II seems to have two contradictory sides to his personality. Superficially he was very conservative and ensured the church stayed in the dark ages regarding subjects such as contraception. On the other hand he was quite progressive and made some important contributions to the promotion of world peace, and improved relations between Catholics and other religions (most notably Jews).
So my report card would be: "showed some signs of greatness, but got too tied up in the dogma of the church to achieve his full potential. Should have moved with the times when he had the chance."
Now that the majority of the command structure of the church is conservative its unlikely that the next Pope will be much better in this regard. I guess that will mean that the Catholic faith will continue to decline, even in the third world which is really its last bastion of power.
Comment 1 (55) by SBFL on 2005-07-24 at 17:19:09:
OJB - not sure where you get your facts from but it was clear that the Church is growing from all the media attention over the selection of a new Pope. This was mainly in Asia, Africa and Latin America - but even in NZ and Australia the Catholic Church is holding it's membership, unlike other Christian denominations. Check the census results and be fair in your comments. You shouldn't distort the facts to support what you want to hear.
Comment 2 (57) by OJB on 2005-07-24 at 20:54:26:
I did some research on this, and was surprised to see that Catholicism isn't declining in the way I had originally thought. Depending on the source, and whether overall population growth is allowed for, and a few other factors, it is either rising slightly, or declining slightly. So I accept that what I said above might be somewhat misleading.
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