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What was the Vatican thinking inviting Robert Mugabe to the beatification of JPII?

Talk about being 'tone deaf' to the public voice! Yikes! The British royal family withdraws the Syrian invitation in moral outrage over atrocities in that country yet Mugabe, who has the blood of tens of thousands on his hands is welcome within the Vatican? He is rightly vilified by the global community for his crimes against humanity. And he gets an invitation to the beatification of Blessed Pope John Paul???

Instead of rejoicing in the glow of a massive display of religious fervor in which 1.5 million people gathered together in prayer and celebration, this insensitive diplomatic demonstration of the Vatican's 'tin ear' is spreading across the internet. When it comes to understanding the real world, this Vatican administration continues to stumble from one distracting faux pas to another.

This is pretty troublesome when you consider that managing your 'brand' (message) is everything in today's western culture. Currently, the Vatican makes Donald Trump look good when it comes to using the media and a 'moment' to put your put your brand before the public. We take a glorious grace filled event as the beatification and somehow turn it into something that makes us look bad. Trump has parlayed a 2nd rate reality series into becoming the current leader among Republicans in the presidential election of 2012. 

Before anyone slits their wrists over that prospect, remember that at this point prior to the 2008 election, Rudy Gulliani and Hillary Clinton were the consensus favorites to carry their respective party's banner. Trump has zero chance of being on the ballot and even less a chance to win! He should have followed my advice and won the Nobel Peace prize. Then he might have had a shot :-)

Mugabe | Zimbabwe | Vatican | Pope John Paul II | Grace Mugabe


  1. i hope what it really means is that Pope Benedict did not see the guest list.There needs to be some re-appointments in the Vatican...there must be men and women there with some media smarts and their skills should be used.

  2. I think it was Richard Dawkins who said in a less charitable moment that the choosing of this pope was one of the best things to happen to the cause of atheism. I disagreed with that at the time but I find it hard to fathom the stupid PR moves this administration has made.

    I truly believe the lack of common sense displayed in some of these bone headed moves comes from the fact that most bishops and all popes (that I can think of) have never had to put in significant time in a parish.

    Imagine if before you became a bishop a priest had to put in 10 years as a pastor, not an assistant or an In Residence priest, but a real pastor with real contact with real people.

  3. Yeah, the Mugabe thing is awful.


  4. Errr...It's precisely because Mugabe has done some evil deeds that he SHOULD attend the Beatification Mass.

    The grace of God at Mass is real and who knows, may change him and result in his conversion.

    The Church is a hospital for sinners. The Sacraments are vehicles of grace.

    The presence of a person at Mass does not indicate saintly status, it is precisely because we are sinners that we attend Mass.

    Mugabe may have unscrupulous reasons for wanting to attend the beatification. But do we not all have different motives for wanting to attend Sunday Mass - music, family, social gathering? The Church should never deny one of her own, the grace of attending Mass, just because we are sinners. Even those of us who have sinned gravely are in need of the Mass.

    The Fatima prayer sums it up wisely - "O my Jesus, forgive us our sins and save us from the fires of hell, lead ALL souls into heaven, ESPECIALLY those MOST in need of thy mercy."

    May his attendance at this grace-filled occasion spark the seed for a true and lasting conversion of Robert Mugabe, a son of God, a child of the Church his Mother.

  5. Just to explain also the way Vatican invitations to world leaders are issued.

    No individual invitations are issued. All governments are issued with a general invitation and they can choose to accept it by sending a representative (a head of state - Italy, and many Catholic countries will send a head of state, or a representative - Western non-Catholic countries will send a rep who is not a head of state), or they can decline the invitation.

    In this case Mugabe as the President of Zimbabwe accepted this general 'world leaders' invitation (likely for unscrupulous reasons - he also accepted the invitation for the funeral of JP2) and the Vatican cannot BAN people from attending Mass, unless they are deemed a security threat to the gathering, no matter how sinful they are (what message will this send to sinners everywhere??!).

    The question as to his reception of Holy Communion for the sake of his immortal soul is another matter altogether (and not one I have seen discussed).

  6. Anonymous02 May, 2011

    I was just about to jump on the bandwagon of condemnation but your comments gave me second thoughts. You've made a good point.



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