It’s not really fair to compare Peggy Noonan to Maureen Dowd. One is an intelligent, insightful observer of events and a graceful writer; the other is a New York Times columnist. Clearly, it’s like staging a duel between d’Artagnan and an unarmed man.
Still I couldn’t help noticing that each lady wrote a column about Sunday’s canonization of Popes John XXIII and John Paul II that was indicative of her political philosophy. The center-right Noonan was warm and wise; the leftist Dowd was ridiculous.
Now let me say that my interest in Vatican matters is only that of a friendly outsider. I have many Catholic friends and have read a lot of Catholic theology with awe and admiration but I don’t have much of an emotional connection to the church part of things. In fact, when I heard there was an event involving cannons and Roman numerals, I figured it was a replay of the Super Bowl. (Hahahaha. Ah man, I crack myself up sometimes!)
But I did live through the Pope-hood or Popedom or Popitude or whatever it is of John Paul II, and I thought he was one of the greatest heroes of the second part of the 20th century, a giant among men. It would be wrong to say he brought down the Soviet Union single-handed, but (as with Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher) it’s perfectly fair to believe that that massive, murderous and imperialist slave state might well not have fallen without his efforts. That’s, like, 300-million people set free. I don’t need the church to tell me the guy was a saint.