Thursday, April 07, 2005

The Pope and the Nobel Prize

Looking at the news and the millions of people around the globe mourning the Pope and the encomiums filing in from everyone, I can't help but to think that maybe the Nobel Prize committee made a mistake when they did not give the Holy Father the Nobel Peace Prize this past time. See story

What struck me was Senator Dodd's statement that he met the Pope in 1983 and gave him a message from Lech Walesa:(See Story)

"Lech Walesa wanted to know if his solidarity movement was overusing the church," said Dodd. He said the pope's answer was no, he was not concerned that the churches -- often meeting places for the solidarity movement -- were being misused.

"He was already sowing the seeds for the critical role he played in that," recalled Dodd, who still carries rosary beads that the pontiff gave him. "No one deserves more credit than the pope for bringing to an end the cold war."

Not that he brought down the Iron Curtain but his support for Solidarity certainly made the Soviet's keep from sending troops there, hastening the demise of Poland's communist government and from there the rest of Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union itself. see story

It was most certainly the fatigue of a unworkable system that eventually make the communist governments collapse but the actual events were spurred by international figures like Ronald Reagan and Pope John Paul II.

That is not the whole story. John Paul inspired so many people to heights of devotion and heroism from his example, teaching and leading that lit so many lights around the globe. These bishops, priests, religious and lay people are the true story of JPII's influence for peace in the world. In his role of "confirming his brethren" he strengthened the message and focus of the Church toward "a preferential option for the poor" while at the same time defending life from conception to natural death.

His reaching out to other religions and spiritual leaders, despite real differences of opinion should be seen as an example that people who fundamentally disagree can work and pray together for peace in the world.

Why should Arafat receive the Nobel Peace Prize for socking away billions in Swiss bank accounts while fomenting hatred in the middle east by paying suicide bombers and encouraging war to keep his own position of power. There are countless people around the globe like Iranian Human Rights crusader, Shirin Ebadi (2003 recipient)and Professor Wangari Maathai, of Kenya. And it is god that the Nobel Committee named them, but there was only one Pope John Paul II and he was clearly and publicly near the end of his life over the last couple of years. So if Ebadi or Maathai had to wait one year, what was the difference.

I assume that he did not get the prize because of his stand on contraception, defense of the unborn and a more conservative moral philosophy with regards to sex outside of a monogamous relationship between a man and a woman.

The great outpouring of grief and support for the Holy Father should give the Nobel Committee cause to pause and reflect that maybe they put themselves onto the margins of the 20th Centuries great currents and missed one of its greatest leaders.

After all, if he wanted to plant 10 million trees he would have just had to get 1% of the Catholics to plant a tree. Maybe then he would have gotten the prize. Instead he planted the seed of hope and peace in the hearts of millions of people around the globe that will replicate for generations.

1 comment:

hilary said...

"...a monogamous relationship between a man and a woman."

I think the term you are looking for is "marriage."