Monday, April 11, 2005

Miriam, Steven, the Pope and Me

Miriam is reporting that the campaign to cannonize JPII has begun, with the preposterous claim by his longtime secretary Archbishop Stanislaw Dziwisz that Pope John Paul II once cured an American Jew of terminal cancer "in just a few hours."

Miriam is rightfully appalled, and though Steven I Weiss is clever enough to suggest that the man the Pope cured was Marc Rich, he can't seem to understand the source of Miriam's indignation. (Hint: Jews take it badly when unofficial Vatican campaign are launched to suggest that Holy See has something essential to offer Judaism, which, as you may not have noticed, is this story's subtext.)

Making matters worse, Steve demonstrates a rather precious naivete, writing, "[H]ow many American Jewish millionaires are there? Add in that he would've had to have cancer (which may or may not have been reported) and, most significantly, that at any given time he would've been in a country other than the U.S. at the same time as JPII during 1998, and it can't be all that difficult to find out his identity."

"How many Jewish millionaires are there?" Are you serious? Tens of thousands is my quick guess. Between Great Neck and the 5 Towns there must be over 1000 in Nassau County alone. Also, very third house in Flatbush between Avenues L and M is worth over a million, making their owners, paper millionaires - at least. And what about the Hollywood Jews? And the Wall Street Jews? No, Detective Steve, this won't be an easy case to crack.

As for his other "clue" Steve has it exactly backwards. "Add in that he would've had to have cancer?" No. Odds are the mystery millionaire was always cancer-free. That's the how the law of parsimony would explain the vanishing tumors: They were never there.

In fact, if you behave like a Jew, or even like an ordinary thinking person, and refuse to accept that that the Pope and his magic Communion wafer cured the man, you're left with just two explanations: Either the Pope was fooled by a man who claimed he had cancer when he did not, or the Pope lied about the facts of the case or the results of his intervention.

Neither scanrio is an argument for sainthood, and both put rather substantial dents in JP II's much vaunted infallibility armor, wouldn't you say?