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The O'Reilly Factor
Monday, April 4, 2005
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Pope John Paul II on America
Guests: 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."

Transcript/Video: FoxNews.com

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."
Deliver us from evil
Guest: Professor Sally Vance-Trembath, Rev. Donald Sensing

Immediately after 9/11 Pope John Paul II urged restraint in avenging the attacks, and later condemned the invasion of Iraq. Those positions raised questions about how he would confront evil in the modern world. Professor Sally Vance-Trembath defended the Pontiff and his policies as being consistent with Catholic doctrine. "He advanced the idea of just war, which means you have to avoid violence and have to work on development in the underdeveloped world. We have to get at the heart of what is driving Islamic fundamentalists, which is poverty and lack of opportunity." Methodist minister Donald Sensing argued that Pope John Paul II spoke in idealistic generalities, but provided too few specifics. "One of the things I'm troubled by is that I see no comprehension of what the United States faces. We are not dealing with an enemy that has formulated its tactics and strategy on a Christian basis. John Paul's theology of war and violence was supremely Christian, but he was trying to build bridges when there was no place to put an abutment on the other side."
Michael Jackson case update
Guest: Crime reporter Aphrodite Jones

There has been a dramatic turn in the child molestation trial of Michael Jackson. 24-year old Jason Francia testified that Jackson molested him when he was just seven years old. "Francia was so credible," crime journalist Aphrodite Jones reported from the trial. "This is an upstanding citizen, and as he talked about the alleged molestation and got into the details, he started to break down. And you felt it was so real, and that jury was clinging to his every word. And Jackson, for the first time in this trial, turned and faced the jury trying to divert their attention."
Vatican & US: Past, present & future
Guest: Fox News analyst Newt Gingrich

Fox News analyst Newt Gingrich joined The Factor with more on Pope John Paul II and his opposition to the war in Iraq. "A Pope is always going to be very cautious about war," Gingrich contended. "His natural instinct is to try to find ways to accommodate. But John Paul II was certainly a courageous defender of freedom. I know of no Pope in history that has done more to liberate people than he did in Eastern Europe." The Factor expressed the hope that John Paul's successor will be more involved in worldly matters. "I'm looking for guidance from the Pope, and the new Pope is going to have to confront this war on terror. The Holy See has to get behind the US in this war."
Materialism & excess
Guest: Jack Welch, former CEO, General Electric

Pope John Paul II decried the runaway greed in America, where some CEOs earn tens of millions of dollars while their companies go bankrupt. Jack Welch, former Chairman and CEO of GE, agreed that corporate excess is a problem, but one without a simple solution. "There is no easy way in a free market to regulate salaries. A free market is going to have excesses and stupid things happen, but it's the best system going. The ability to have a meritocracy where you can deliver goods and get the fruits of your labor is just a great thing." Welch defended his own accumulation of vast wealth. "I earned every nickel of it, and a lot of people beyond me benefited. We spread stock options throughout the organization, and to see the success and the lives that were changed, there's nothing better than that."
Books Mentioned


Winning
by Jack Welch

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