It looks like the Pope is actually going to die this time. I've had my problems with John Paul II; I can deal with all his positions, though, except for the ban on condoms. I can deal with being anti-abortion, anti-divorce, anti-chemical contraception, pro-having 10% of your priests being major freakazoids--no, wait, that's a major problem I've got with the American Church, the small percentage of priests who are weirdos and the hierarchy's coverup. But, still, you can't blame the Pope for that one, and the Protestants have had their share of freakoids, too, from Jimmy Swaggart to Jim Bakker to your local scoutmaster. Being against condoms, though, is dangerous. I don't see why the Church can't allow sinners to use condoms so their sins don't rebound upon other innocents. Allow the condom-user to be no more of a sinner than the fornicator. I mean, right, sin is bad, but if you're gonna do a sin no matter what, and having sex is something that people are going to do, shouldn't you at least do it the safe way so that nobody gets hurt? That's why fornication is merely a venial sin, because the Church knows people are going to do that. It's adultery, cheating on your spouse, that's mortal. And if you're committing adultery, it ought to be obligatory to wear a raincoat so you don't infect your innocent spouse later. The raincoat seems very minor compared to the breach of trust that adultery is. Getting drunk is a sin, I suppose, but if you are bound and determined to get loaded shouldn't the Church be in favor of your doing it safely at home rather than going out and driving to a bar and then risking a major wreck?
100 years from now, when historians are writing about the end of the 20th century, Pope John Paul II is going to be right up there with Reagan and Thatcher and Kohl as a key civilized leader who helped cause the fall of Communism. His stances on sex-related social problems will be forgotten, because they'll be no different from those of other Popes. What will be remembered is John Paul II's gutsy stand on the correct side of history even after the KGB, the Stasi, and the Bulgarians got together to murder him. He'll go down in history as a great man.