The grateful dead

OK: I’ll admit the unpopular.

I was not keen on John Paul II. I think his pontificate was intellectually repressive, disasterous for women and gays, and a triumph of the dogmatic. The Catholic church in America is not in good shape.

I don’t understand the Protestant paroxysms of grief, and am disgusted by the media’s Reaganesque all-sunshine coverage.

That’s all I’ll say on the matter.

I’ll mourn Saul Bellow instead.

By Scott Wells

Scott Wells, 46, is a Universalist Christian minister doing Universalist theology and church administration hacks in Washington, D.C.


  1. Unfortunately 1 milion people on the streets of Rome don’t seem to share your concerns. Perhaps that’s why we’ll never be a numerically significant religion…

  2. I’m interested in the phenomenon of public grieving in general. Are all those millions thinking specifically about THIS Pope or are they jumping into a communal experience of grief that just generally serves a cathartic purpose?
    I’m not sure.
    I got no problem being statistically insignificant, of course.

    Saul Bellow died??

    P.S. Scott, do you and ChaliceChick think you’ll both be staying with me? Cawl me up. I have to go to a Circle Supper that night (frownie, frownie).

  3. I was raised Catholic. Scott, I agree with your assesment of the Catholic Church in America and of JPII’s pontificate. But I try to keep in mind that it wasn’t just him, but the entire church leadership that makes/made the Catholic Church what it is today. Other than that, I think PJII’s actions and behavior (the way he LIVED his faith) are far more important than any of his stances on theological or social issues. Sure, he wasn’t as friendly towards gays and women as I would have liked him to be, but it’s not what he THOUGHT that God will be judging, but what he DID, and he did ALOT of good that doesn’t get talked about among religious liberals, unfortunately. …..Scott, I LOVE your blog and ministry, keep it up for us lonely Universalists!

  4. Grieving Bellow fan here, too. Since our Apr 30 party will end in the early afternoon, I’ll happily provide later entertainment — possibly housing, if needed. We’ll work out some details about itinerary soon.

  5. I too mourn the loss of Saul Bellow. I am by no means a fanatical fan but I read one book (Henderson the Rain King?) that meant a lot during my high school years.

    My bedrooms are also open (to CC and Scott if they need it, that is).

    I too, am conflicted about the Pope…

  6. For what it’s worth, I quietly agree with you. I haven’t posted diddly squat in my journal about it because I’m trying hard to go with the “if you can’t say something nice” stance out of respect for several Catholic friends, but if anyone asked and gave me an opening, I’d be in agreement.

  7. Another person praises JPII and I’m gonna belt out all the verses to “A mighty fortress is our God.” Gratefully Protestant.

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