Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Pope in Holy Land: orthodoxy bad

Abroad in the Holy Land, from which Christians, a minority there for centuries, continue to flee, the Pope has a Paul-on-the-road-to-Damascus conversion on the virtues of diversity and the vices of "extremism" and "orthodoxy":

He said: “While understandable reasons lead many, especially the young, to emigrate, this decision brings in its wake a great cultural and spiritual impoverishment to the city. Today I wish to repeat what I have said on other occasions: in the Holy Land there is room for everyone!”

On Sunday in Jordan the pope argued that Christians had a role here in reconciliation, that their very presence eased the strife, and that the decline of that presence could help to increase extremism. When the mix of beliefs and lifestyles goes down, orthodoxy rises, he implied, as does uniformity of the cultural landscape in a region where tolerance is not an outstanding virtue.

So, "tolerance" is now a virtue, while "orthodoxy", "extremism", and "uniformity of the cultural landscape" are now bad? Pretty shocking stuff from the former Head of the Office of the Inquisition, responsible for forcing Roman Catholic orthodoxy. I imagine this new-found appreciation for tolerance and diversity will last as long as it takes for the pope to board his private jet back to Rome, but at least it provides a basis for Christians of alternative views and cultural environments to throw the pope's words back at him when his holiness reverts to the demands of religious conformity.