Saturday, April 23, 2005

Blogrollin' Friday (Saturday edition): Diderot's Lounge

It's the Saturday version of Friday again (the announcement of Judging the Future blog pre-empted this slot yesterday) and time to heed PSoTD's injunction to highlight another blog. This is a good one.

This week I received an invitation to visit Diderot's Lounge. Although not specifically a "public health blog" it seems inhabited (if I can use that phrase in this connection) by people with a public health interest, at least to the extent some are part of the Spirit of 1848 listserv, a venerable progressive public health medium of information exchange. What attracted my interest was a series of exchanges about the last pope from a public health and social justice perspective.

As might be expected it involved Catholics, who had some fairly strong (and not very complimentary) views. As a non-Catholic (and non-believer) I was aware of Wojtila's conservative reputation, but was unfamiliar with the extent and depth of his deeply reactionary history. The current pope, as the last one's enforcer, also comes in for some unfavorable comment.

Three lengthy posts on the subject can be found at Diderot's Lounge here, here and here. They begin with a statement from Johns Hopkins Professor Vincente Navarro, well known to many of us for his long history as a theoretician of progressive health care policy. Here is an excerpt from Vincente's first post:
Dear Colleagues,

It is not customary for me to write on Church affairs. Most of my work is concerned with how to eliminate poverty and reduce social inequalities in the world. But I am outraged by the way the U.S. media have portrayed the deceased Pope. I am enclosing an article I have written recently published in Counterpunch which aims at setting the record straight. Needless to say, my influence is remarkably limited, since my access to the media is nil. I hope, however, that people involved in correcting health and social inequalities will help to correct the record.

John Paul II's opposition to the war in Iraq should not mask his reactionary positions on both religious and social issues. Despite his portrayal as such in the media, he was no friend of the poor. He opposed those who tried to resolve poverty, such as the Latin American liberation theology movement. He supported regimes responsible for expanding poverty. When he visited Chile during the Pinochet regime, he never publicly condemned or criticized that horrible dictatorship. To the contrary, when Pinochet was detained in London at the request of the Spanish Judge Baltasar Garzon--who wanted Pinochet to be tried in Spain for the assassination of Spaniards in Chile--John Paul II's Secretary of State, Monsignor Soldano, pressured the British government to release him.

There is much else of interest in this three part airing of views. If you are interested in the papacy and its history and influence, or just want a palate cleanser from the diet of papacy pap being shoved down our gullets by the MSM, give it a look.

Diderot's Lounge seems an interesting site. I'll be checking it often and it now appears on my blogroll.