04/21/2005: "Mark Morford: New pope needs to brand Advil!?!"
Those of you who read my blog regularly (hi Mom!) know that Mark Morford isn't one of my favorite columnists. Well, he's officially sent me over the edge of Christian charity with this last column 14 Thoughts For The New Pope. Read it if you want to see an immature man piss and moan about the election of a great man as Pope. It really took all of my strength and prayers to write him this letter:
I've written you a handful of e-mails about your columns over the last year, each rebuking you for some comment you've made in your columns. While in each of those cases I've significantly disagreed with you, I've been able to, without too much difficulty, treat you charitably. After your column of filth, bitterness and bigotry titled '14 thoughts for the new pop' it is taking all of my God given strength to restrain myself from spewing litanies of profanities at you. God willing I will find the strength.
At first I thought I'd want to respond to each of your 14 suggestions, but frankly too many of them are ridiculously juvenile to warrant a response. Additionally, your column reflects a complete ignorance of the Church that the amount of time it would take to write a proper response to your demands for women's ordination and sexual liberation (including homosexual activities) would be an undue burden on my family. That said, I will take the time to comment on the few I agree with so that we can at least start with our common ground:
Suggestion #6: Why is Christian music so patently awful? That's a great question. While you and I may not agree with the direction to take the music, I think we both realize that there is something lacking here. I don't know what we can expect Benedict to do about it, or even should expect him to do about it, but at least we're on the same page.
Suggestion #7: What is wrong with Kristin Chenowith? I don't know her music, but I'll assume that you're pointing to what I've heard often in Christian music, which is a complete lack of depth and diversity of both musical and lyrical talent. I think we can agree here too.
Suggestion #12: Remember the Boston Archdiocese. I think all good Catholics would agree with you that the priest abuse scandal was disgusting in it's very nature and even more so in its specifics. I think you will be pleasantly surprised at how this Pope attacks problems like this.
In fact, I think suggestion #12 is a good place to start from because it reflects where we truly stand on common ground and where be diverge from. The way I see it, it is examples like the priest abuse scandal that call for strong leadership in the Church and why the elevation of Benedict XVI was such a joyous occasion. Let's be honest, the scandal was most disgusting because of the lack of leadership by the bishops, particularly those like Cardinal Law, who failed completely in their Catholic mission to the world. Instead of leading his flock to Jesus, Cardinal Law let the wolves attack and sat back and watched it unfold.
We need strong leadership to lead us out of era of ambiguity and compromise. Pope Benedict XVI is a strong leader, a leader who is going to uphold the Catholic faith. He is going to stand in front of the Church and rebuke those who try to corrupt its message. That's what this is really about. Those who don't like what the Church stands for are unhappy that a strong leader who stands for everything the Church stands for has been elevated by the Holy Spirit to lead the Church away from apostasy. What they wanted was a weak leader who would let the Church continue to turn its back on those who wanted to destroy the mission of the Church.
What those who want someone weak to lead the Church fail to realize is that the result is disastrous. While it may allow those who dissent from the Church to go about our lives unencumbered, it also allows for the priest scandal to go unchecked, the unjust wars of the world to go uncondemned, and the moral standards of the world fail to be upheld as the model by which we should life. Pope Benedict it seems, will not let any of this happen. He will be a strong leader who will proudly proclaim the Gospel.
This is what is so disgusting about your column. You seemingly have no understanding of what the Church is, what its purpose is and how it is trying to accomplish this. While on the one hand your bemoaning the lack of sexual freedom it gives, you attack those moments when it fails to uphold any sexual moral standards. You spend fully half of your points discussing oddly irrelevant topics like "branding", Emilio Estevez, blackjack and Alan Alda. You condemn the Church for "rewriting" the "true" religious history of the world and then criticize it for not censoring (or slapping) Mel Gibson's attempt to portray his image of Christ. What in God's name do you really want? Do you see how your 14 suggestions do not reflect any consistent ideal outside of a Dictatorship of Relativism, a Church that stands for nothing?
You see Mark, the Gospel is not about sexual freedom. The Gospel is not about the divine feminine (God transcends gender). The Gospel is not about raising money (especially through the "Advil pope"). The Gospel is not about music, either good or bad. The Gospel is not about popularity. Finally and most importantly from this letter's perspective, the Gospel is not about bowing to your pathetically juvenile temper-tantrum.
The Gospel is about the unchanging and dogmatic Truths of Jesus Christ, the Truths that the Universal Roman Catholic Church and its humble servant Pope Benedict XVI will do everything in its power to uphold.
Online reader in Roseville, CA