Don’t Punk the Pope!

This week, Pope Benedict XVI made his first visit to the United States since the start of his papacy on April 19, 2005, following the death of Pope John Paul II. Pope Benedict, the Catholic Church’s 265th pope, will spend the next five days in Washington, D.C. and New York, conversing with the president, convening with the United Nations and visiting Ground Zero. Although this event is one of immense importance for American Catholics, it has not been spoken kindly of by some members of the media.
People like America-hating journalist Maureen “United States of Shame” Dowd and “Real Time” host Bill “I’m so controversial and edgy” Maher have been taking jabs at the pope all week. Dowd got the ball rolling by calling the pope a “Nazi.”
Not to be outdone, Maher compared the Pope to the leader of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, whose polygamist compound was raided recently: “If you have a few hundred followers and you let some of them molest children, they call you a cult leader. If have a billion, they call you ‘Pope.'”
Maher went on to say, incorrectly, that Pope Benedict was involved in covering up the sex-abuse scandal when he was a cardinal. Maher stated that back when he was just Joseph Ratzinger, Pope Benedict had written a letter to the bishops telling them to “keep the sex abuse of minors secret until the of statute of limitations ran out.” What Pope Benedict actually wrote in this letter was a clarification of church’s ability to try clerics for abuses of the sacraments.
The Nazi label has also been thrown around by many members of the media. Pope Benedict has been called a Nazi because he was drafted as an assistant to a Munich Nazi anti-aircraft unit when he was a teenager. In fact, despite the danger, he deserted after two years and wound up in a Nazi POW camp for his disloyalty to the Nazi government.
While Maher and Dowd’s comments were abhorrent, they are not unusual. The thing that is really troubling is that this kind of humor