IN his letter to the Editor of 2nd July, Mr. Bill Watson accuses the Catholic Church (the Vatican) of being insensitve to world poverty because of what was spent in the funeral of Pope John Paul II. The funeral of Pope John Paul II followed the simple rites of the Catholic Church, the viewing of the body in St. Peter's Basilica, the funeral mass in St. Peter's square, and the burial in a simple tomb in the Basilica dug in earth and covered by a marble slab with his name and the years of his papacy. What was extraordinary in the funeral was the millions of persons that came from all parts of the world, ranging from kings and queens, heads of States, and most of all, ordinary people, Catholics and non-Catholics, who came to pay their last respects to one of the most extraordinary personalities of the 20th century. They all came voluntarily, on their own, and paying their own expenses, and most of them had to stand in line for hours for a chance to look at his body for less than a minute. One of the dignitaries who attended this funeral was Jose Rodriguez Zapatero, Prime Minister of Spain and Patron of Spain's Gay Marriages Law.
There were no parades, concerts, no state banquets, no fireworks and after the ceremonies, most of them returned home the way they came.
Yes, there were expenses mostly in crowd control and security, most of which were provided by the Italian government, which did an outstanding job in handling the biggest concentration of people and world dignitaries ever assembled in Rome. As to the Catholic Church commitment to fighting world poverty, may I cite the efforts of the tens of thousands of Catholic religious and lay missionaries spread throughout the world who man the charity schools, clinics, and hospitals that take care of poor, many times risking their lives. May I cite as one example, the Missionaries of Charity founded by Mother Teresa of Calcutta. I do not understand what Mr. Watson is trying to say in the last two sentences of his letter. If he refers to the Catholic Church, may I inform your non-Catholic readers that Catholics have never labelled unmarried men who are thirty years or above as gays. In fact, the church requires celibacy of its clergy which is something being criticized by some of the so-called progressive groups today.
Pedro Picornell, Palma de Majorca
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