By Parnell McCarter



This week President “Bush praised the pope's moral leadership and presented him with the Presidential Medal of Freedom.” (see http://www.newsday.com/news/nationworld/nation/ny-wobush0605,0,2629780.story?coll=ny-nationalnews-headlines )  The Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation's highest civilian award, recognizes exceptional meritorious service. The medal was established by President Truman in 1945 to recognize notable service in the war. In 1963, President Kennedy reintroduced it as an honor for distinguished civilian service in peacetime.  Pope John XXIII was one of the first 31 recipients of this award, and now Pope John Paul II has received it as well.


Of course, we might be cautious in uncritically accepting his evaluation of the pope, because this is the same President Bush that has called Islam a religion of peace.  At least at times his judgment of moral rectitude is off.


Our caution is well founded when we consider another important item of news in recent weeks, as reported by Bill Press at http://www.worldnetdaily.com/news/article.asp?ARTICLE_ID=38788 in an article entitled “Papal morality: Cover up crimes, get a basilica”.  Here are excerpts from the article:


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“…Named by the pope to the powerful position of Archpriest of St. Mary Major Basilica in Rome is none other than former Boston Cardinal Bernard Law – the same disgraced Cardinal Law forced to resign in 2002 because of evidence that he had covered up countless cases of criminal behavior.

Though the scandal of priest abuse spread to every diocese, Boston remained the epicenter, with over 250 priests accused of molesting little boys. As head of the archdiocese, Law admitted to a grand jury he had personal knowledge of many cases of sexual abuse of minors – which is a serious crime, not just a mortal sin – yet failed to report them to police. Not only that, he allowed those priests to continue their ministry, merely assigning them to another parish, where there was a fresh crop of altar boys to prey upon.

As a result of Law's mismanagement, his successor, Archbishop Sean O'Malley, was recently forced to shell out $85 million to settle over 552 lawsuits filed against the diocese – a move that will require closing 20 percent of Boston's parish churches. And, for this, Law is honored by the pope?

To most Americans, archpriest of St. Mary Major Basilica means nothing. But in Rome, it's a big deal. As head of one of the four most important churches in Rome, St. Mary's archpriest is automatically considered a major player in the Vatican.

The position comes with a palatial apartment and a $12,000-a-month stipend. And this latest honor is awarded to Law on top of nine different Vatican posts he already holds, including membership in the Congregation for Clergy, which reviews sexual-abuse cases sent to Rome. Not bad for a man who couldn't step a foot back in Massachusetts without getting arrested…

Here's what I find equally shocking: I have not heard one Catholic bishop or cardinal say, "The pope is wrong. Cardinal Law is a disgrace to all American Catholics. He does not deserve to be put on a papal pedestal." By not speaking out, they're part of the cover-up, too.

Under American law, those who assist in the commission of a crime are just as guilty as those who commit the crimes. By that standard, Cardinal Law belongs in a prison cell. The pope has put him in a palace instead. Go figure.”


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And American Presidents call the Romish Popes “His Holiness” and give them medals of freedom.  Go figure.