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Tuesday, September 16, 2003

Dreher-haitahs, take note.

You know who you are. Or at least I do.

Rod has a fine editorial in today's Dallas Morning News about the Pope and why he continues to soldier on, despite his frail condition.

Essentially, Rod says the Pope won't "shelve" himself because we are all too willing to shove aside the old, weak and ill among us:

This pope is acutely aware of the relevance of this lesson for our time. As he once preached, "In a society like the present one, which is seeking to build its future on well-being and consumerism and measures everything in terms of efficiency and profit, illness and suffering, which cannot be denied, are either removed or emptied of their meaning in the illusion of their being overcome exclusively through the means offered by the progress of science and technology."

John Paul was referring mostly to euthanasia, abortion and genetic engineering, but his words anticipated this summer's carnage in France, in which 15,000 people, most of them elderly, died during a heat wave. Many of the dead had been forgotten by their children and relatives. That is the mentality John Paul fights. As he preached on 1996's World Day of the Sick, "A society is characterized by the attention it devotes to those suffering and by the attitude it adopts toward them."

Seen in that light, the way we view John Paul's labors in the winter of his years may say more about us than about him.

A useful reminder for those too willing to scream "Give it up, old man!" Regardless of whether the "old man" happens to be Pope, in the way of a promotion, sitting on a fat will, or is otherwise "inconvenient" or "a burden."

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