Monday, May 2, 2011

Online Commentary Connecting Beatification of John Paul II to bin Laden Assassination

Well, yes, now that I google a bit, I discover the following commentary in the blogsphere, seeking to link the assassination of bin Laden to John Paul: 

Micaela at the Catholic Community Forum blog site: it's "more than a coincidence" that bin Laden received justice on the day of JPII's beatification and Divine Mercy Sunday (!).

Indigo1941 commenting at HuffPo on Sam Stein and Jennifer Bendery's report of Osama's death: "Does this count as Blessed John Paul's second miracle?"  (And note the Twitter feed underneath the comment echoing this conclusion.)

Lilith at this Yahoo Answers thread responding to the question, "Is it a coincidence that Osama bin Laden was killed moments after Pope John Paul II was declared a Saint?": "Maybe this is John Paul's II second miracle."

Ajiryn at the Newgrounds site on bin Laden's assassination as JPII is beatified as " the miracle of a bitch slap from God from beyond the GRAVE."

Etc.: this is a selection from a very cursory review of what's popping up online today.  The google list of hits for the topics "John Paul II" and "Osama bin Laden" reveals many more pages of hits than I've read my way through.

Though some of these bloggers identify themselves as Catholics, there's no way of knowing, of course, if all of them are, even when they talk about miracles and divine intervention.  Belief in the (selective) intrusion of God into the affairs of the world to vindicate Americans and American causes is deeply woven into the fabric of American popular culture, and pop culture has never hesitated to borrow freely from Catholic iconography and the Catholic belief system when some icons and beliefs coincide with widely held popular beliefs, even when the culture doesn't buy the entire Catholic system.

I think we're seeing a certain hagiography in the making here, at a pop cultural level, which illustrates the growing split in the Catholic psyche between those who see John Paul II as the lord and master of a mean machine that just rolled over dissidents with the beatification ceremonies, and many other Catholics troubled by this use of the symbol of Bl. JPII to bless the taking of a human life.

And it's clear to me that one of the reasons some of the mainstream/centrist Catholic blogs are engaging this discussion today is to offset some of the more noxious statements now being made by some Catholics (and others) about the assassination of bin Laden as Bl. John Paul's second miracle.  I expect much more of this talk at the popular level in coming days, despite the attempt of some Catholic leaders (and the Vatican itself) to combat it.  

And in some key respects, it's a bona fide manifestation of the very cult of Bl. JPII that these leaders have worked so hard to rev up.

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