[Updated] In the past few weeks, the media has become increasingly obsessed with the health of Pope John Paul II, who has apparently now died. I turned on the BBC World News last night on a local public TV station only to find Deutschewelle on in its place, fully obsessed.
When you consider that almost no one in the West paid any attention whatsoever to his pronouncements on gender and relationship issues — one of his two major themes — it seems awfully strange that so much attention is being paid to him now. After all, he’s just another uptight old man with regressive views on sexuality. I have to ask, again: Do we pay as much attention to the head of any other church?
Or as Oren M. Spiegler, a Chicago Tribune reader, wrote in a letter to the editor, “Based upon media coverage of the death of the pope, one would think that everyone in the world is a devout Catholic with an unrelenting obsession with this man…. The pope was a man of substantial worldwide significance, but his death was not a stunning development to anyone; he was quite elderly, had been gravely ill and died a natural death.” Mr. Spiegler, you’re much too kind.