One of the things I don’t get

…is people who kvetch at the Pope as though he’s somehow to blame because he’s extremely popular with a lot of people. Yes, wherever he goes, he tends to evoke the typical responses you’d expect in a culture that is suckled on the cult of celebrity. But it seems to me to involve a singular obtuseness to *blame* him for that reaction or to dimly suggest that he cultivates it out of egoism. Mark Sullivan complains in this vein on his blog, but I can’t help but think of the crowds that surrounded Jesus, of the woman who struggled to touch the hem of his garment, and the weepy “fan” who washed his feet with her tears and dried them with her hair. Shall we condemn them for their lack of “progress” too? It’s what people do and have always done when they are in the presence of somebody they deeply admire and love. In a world bereft of heroes, John Paul is practically the only one there is. Tut-tutting this sort of thing seems to me to be priggish. It would be a different thing if the Holy Father, like Clinton, was desperately running around gulping this sort of thing down in the service of his ego and urging acolytes to adore him. That would be revolting. But he’s not. Indeed, as the piece Sullivan cites mentions, it is more of a trial than a pleasure for him. Mother Teresa had to put up with the same thing. But both the Holy Father and Mother T always refer their admirers to Christ and Our Lady. They do not clutch love to themselves like our adolescent former Prez.