Dr. James Fisher, Fordham University & Michael Cromartie, U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom
"Pope John Paul II had two big problems with the USA. He saw our quest for material things as foolish and anti-spiritual, especially in the face of so much world poverty. And he despised the culture of death that some secular Americans have embraced, things like abortion and euthanasia. The Holy See regards this country as headed in the wrong direction spiritually, and that assessment may be correct. Imagine you are Pope John Paul and you read about a Kansas doctor named George Tiller. This man performs about 500 late term abortions every year. Here in the USA, there is no oversight on Tiller. His records are sealed. We only know that 500 babies are dead by his hand each year. So the Pope's reading that in the New York Times and that paper, along with most in the media, is fine with Tiller. So is the ACLU, Planned Parenthood, and the National Organization for Women. What do you think a man like Pope John Paul is going to think about our system of justice in America? That kind of culture has alienated the Holy See, and all the good things America does are overshadowed. Pope John Paul II admired the freedom we enjoy in America, but he felt our country was being hijacked by secular forces bent on anti-Christian policies. The Pope was right about that, but didn't really deal with it directly. Perhaps the next Pope will."
The Factor was joined by two observers with their own views of American Catholicism. Michael Cromartie of the Ethics & Public Policy Center agreed that John Paul saw the US as a nation in crisis. "He had great concerns about the state of American moral culture and moral insanity that has taken over our culture. It's the influence of secularism over the past thirty years in our society." Theology professor James Fisher suggested that one of John Paul's legacies may be a stronger Church in America. "The consistency of the message he represented was really compelling to lots of young people. There's no question the Church faces extraordinarily shortages of manpower, but we may be in the early stages of a revival of Catholicism. Christianity is about the spirit of hope that will renew the Church." The Factor put forth statistics showing American Catholics are less observant than ever before and there are severe shortages of priests and nuns. "It's a catastrophe. People are walking away from the Catholic Church and things are going south fast. I think this Pope was a saint, but I'd like to see a more practical Pope."