Oh Peggy

She is now comparing Pope John Paul II to Barack Obama in terms of leadership. Guess who wins! For some reason, she fails to acknowledge that under John Paul II, thousands of children were raped by members of the organization John Paul II ran, and the machinery he was in charge of not only failed to stop this, but actively perpetuated it and covered it up. Nowhere in her column does this come up – it’s yet another reality (like American torture) she wants to walk swiftly past (“Some of life has to be mysterious”). Noonan goes on to say:

Great leaders are clear, honest, suffer for their stands and are brave. They conduct a constant dialogue.

Whatever else one can say about the pontificate of John Paul II, the idea that it was about a constant dialogue is absurd. Under John Paul II and his orthodoxy-enforcer, Joseph Ratzinger, the scope for any dialogue within the church was essentially ended. Whole areas of theological debate were ruled impermissible; discussions about faith and morals were also discouraged and any hints of heterodoxy, i.e. thinking, were monitored and punished. John Paul II’s papacy was capable of detecting the most trivial form of theological dissent and punishing it relentlessly, while it found itself miraculously blind when it came to the endless rapes and abuse of children and adolescents that we know now were endemic.

This wasn’t leadership; it was the abdication of basic moral responsibility for the church John Paul II ran. And these were not only crimes of commission but also of omission. A monstrous figure like Marciel Macial was lionized by John Paul II even as he sold drugs, was a bigamist,  abused countless young men, and even raped his own son. Cardinal Bernard Law was rewarded for his own disgusting cover-up of child-rapists with a sinecure in Rome.

Of course, it’s sometimes hard to pin down what the fuck Noonan is saying because her favorite word is “seems.” Never “is” – but “seems.” The world is always described through her own fuzzy, soft-focus lens, where no objective truth can really penetrate. And so you stumble upon the only actual substantive claim she makes in the column:

How wonderful it would be to see an American president appreciate all the possibilities of becoming a great energy-producing nation—all the new technologies and jobs, all the rebound they’d bring. To have a leader who feels and conveys a palpable joy in the transformative nature of this new world.

Here’s what Obama recently said about “becoming a great energy-producing nation—all the new technologies and jobs, all the rebound they’d bring.” It’s from the State of The Union this year:

One of the biggest factors in bringing more jobs back is our commitment to American energy. The all-of-the-above energy strategy I announced a few years ago is working, and today, America is closer to energy independence than we’ve been in decades.

One of the reasons why is natural gas – if extracted safely, it’s the bridge fuel that can power our economy with less of the carbon pollution that causes climate change. Businesses plan to invest almost $100 billion in new factories that use natural gas. I’ll cut red tape to help states get those factories built, and this Congress can help by putting people to work building fueling stations that shift more cars and trucks from foreign oil to American natural gas. My administration will keep working with the industry to sustain production and job growth while strengthening protection of our air, our water, and our communities.

Here is the SOTU from 2013:

Today, no area holds more promise than our investments in American energy. After years of talking about it, we’re finally poised to control our own energy future. We produce more oil at home than we have in 15 years. We have doubled the distance our cars will go on a gallon of gas, and the amount of renewable energy we generate from sources like wind and solar — with tens of thousands of good American jobs to show for it. We produce more natural gas than ever before — and nearly everyone’s energy bill is lower because of it.

Open your eyes, Peggy. There is world outside your 1980s nostalgia-fest. And it’s as different from your reality as “seems” is from “is”.