Cognitive Dissonance from George Weigel?

Cognitive Dissonance from George Weigel? March 23, 2011

In a review of Weigel’s new book on John Paul II, Bernard Prusak notes the following:

” There is an extended analysis of differences between the curia’s opposition to the U.S. invasion and occupation of Iraq and JPII’s supposedly more sympathetic views toward President George W. Bush and his decision to go to war. “John Paul would certainly have welcomed regime change in Baghdad as a way to relieve the suffering of the people of Iraq,” his biographer writes. “He was committed, however, to promoting such change through nonmilitary means.” Weigel, of course, was a very public apologist for the Bush administration’s policies”

This is a remarkable statement. Since John Paul II was an outspoken critic of the Iraq war, does this mean the late pope was being dishonest? Of course, if the review is accurate, Weigel doesn’t provides any real evidence of conflict between the pope and advisors (a favorite Weigelonian theme). Instead, all we are told is that John Paul would have liked to see the removal of Saddam Hussein by non-military means. What a vacuous statement! There are many world leaders that I would love to see thrown out of office tomorrow by peaceful means. I’m sure all people of good will, including popes and curial officials, would share this view. Of course, it does not follow that we should bomb the crap out of their countries to hasten their departure. Weigel is grappling with the dissonance of refusing to admit error on the Iraq war while not wanting to disagree with the pope he so plainly idolizes. To do this, he creates artificial divisions. The result is not pretty.

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  • Another disconnect is his latest post on unions:
    http://www.insidecatholic.com/feature/the-church-and-the-unions.html

    It’s always the common theme: it was different in the past, but unions today are bad (of course, in the past, the same people were saying unions were bad for same reasons we hear today).

    • SB

      The same people? Can you cite some of Weigel’s pre-1920 writings? I’d love to see those.

      • “The same people,” what people? “Critics of unions.

  • I have not been over here lately and just popped in. And I have been rewarded with another of your fine posts. Thanks for saying what you do… it is important. Grappling with dissonance often means for me, letting go what I want, what I think, what I need. It makes me want to be the god of myself and that is so not the way to go.

    It is hard when we have to grapple with things that go against our own worldview and in this case, Weigel is once again confronted with how he sees things and frames them and how they are. Always a challenge.

  • Dissonance? I don’t see it. He says that JP2 didn’t like Saddam. Is that hard to believe? Not liking him, he would have liked to see him gone. Makes perfect sense. He opposed removing him by military means; not the least bit surprising.

    Where exactly is the dissonance?

    • It comes from loving the Iraq war and loving JP2 (and not wanting to go against him) at the same time.

      • Well, OK. But Weigel apparently does admit straight out that JP2 wished him removed through nonmilitary means only. So he is not trying to hide the disagreement between JP2 and the pro-Iraq War faction, from himself or from anyone else. So I guess I still don’t get it. But that’s OK.