Stunning negativity toward pope

On reading Kevin Rafferty’s March 20 opinion titled “Stunned pope asks for prayers,” I myself feel stunned by the negativity of his words. So much has appeared in the press during the past few weeks, both on the positive and on the negative side, concerning the former (emeritus) Pope Benedict XVI and now his newly elected successor Pope Francis, not to mention the Catholic Church in general and the Society of Jesus (Jesuits) in particular.

But few opinions have been quite so negative as that of the presumably Catholic writer Kevin Rafferty. Naturally not a few of the negative comments concern the strict teaching on sexuality and the laxity in its application, not least by priests and bishops and now by the popes as well.

Yet, in these comments, I find an all too common laxity when it comes to sexual morality and the question of whether the church could not stoop to embrace the standards of the modern world.

It is in the face of such strictures and comments that the words of Jesus, echoing from Sunday’s Gospel, occur to my mind, “Let him who is without sin among you cast the first stone!” They also echo from one of Shakespeare’s plays in which the pious Henry VI exclaims, “Forbear to judge, for we are sinners all!”

peter milward

The opinions expressed in this letter to the editor are the writer’s own and do not necessarily reflect the policies of The Japan Times.

  • Mints

    “Let him who is without sin among you cast the first stone!” is indeed a great line from Jesus, with enough rhetorical punch to quiet a hot-blooded mob, but it is a completely useless principle in practice. First of all, anyone can use this saying to try and suppress criticism or judgment. Second of all, it undermines the basis for appointing judges and legal scholars since, after all, nobody is perfect.

    The assumption that the Catholic Church would have to “stoop to embrace the standards of the modern world” is incredibly arrogant and misguided, not only in light of the growing number of sex abuse cases and scandals that are being uncovered every day, but also the church’s opposition to family planning, which is contributing to poverty and overpopulation in developing countries. No, it is the church that has a lot to learn about sex and morality from the modern world.