In 1998 Murdoch was awarded a papal knighthood. A Papal knighthood is not a courtesy title. The Pope was saying that Rupert Murdoch is the man your children should follow. After all, if you wish to please God … who better to emulate than a man with an “unblemished character”? An “unblemished character” suggests a sin free soul. This is a serious, heaven or hell assessment with crucial implications as to how human beings should behave in the eyes of God.
Perhaps Murdoch’s $10 million contribution toward the construction of a Catholic cathedral in Los Angeles suggests to Pope John Paul II that Murdoch has lead a blameless life – or perhaps it is that Murdoch, as Chairman and Chief Executive of News Corporation and owner of Zondervan Publishing House, is the publisher of the New International Version of the Bible (NIV). Although the NIV copyright is held by the International Bible Society, Zondervan has exclusive publishing rights.
But we now know Rupert Murdoch made his fortune by encouraging and preying upon base human instincts, through his ownership of newspapers such as the UK publications The Sun and (now defrocked) The News of The World. But Murdoch continues to promote racism, contempt for women (something Rebecca Brooks, nee Wade, appeared to have missed), homophobia and, in general, the hatred of those who are different from him by encouraging the base instincts of the mob.
Pope John Paul II is promoted as a man of morals, a moral arbiter whose opinions on ethics we are all encouraged to respect. In addition, a billion Catholics consider him to be God’s representative on earth. In light of John Paul II’s assessment of what constitutes an unblemished character, I suggest his admirers should re-examine some of his other pronouncements on moral issues such as condoms and HIV/AIDS, celibate priests,women priests, the family and sexuality in general.
Take sexuality for example. For human beings, intimate, mutually caring, relationships are not a matter of preference or lifestyle. I would affirm that, with few exceptions, at least one intimate, mutually caring relationship is a vital imperative for a human being, and the absence of such a relationship is unhealthy, damaging to the individual, and ultimately damaging to society, a society that Murdoch’s feeds his readership with. We should expect more than that from a much promoted moral leader with the political power of a billion followers.
Incredibly, a large numbers of people (who read Murdoch’s press) insist that homosexuals should abandon the search for love and should instead, like fish out of water*, struggle in pain as pretended heterosexuals or suffer a frustrating celibacy. I suggest that the equivalent, loving, heterosexual relationship is an equally vital imperative for homosexuals. People who commit to an intimate emotional and sexual relationship, have accepted, even embraced, responsibility for someone else’s happiness and wellbeing. Love is love, and such people, regardless of their sexuality, regardless of the gender constituents of that relationship, are the bedrock of an emotionally stable and responsible society and should be supported, nurtured and encouraged for the benefit of all.
* Several species of fish (spotted hand fish, stonefish…) are capable of “walking” and some (mudskippers, some species of catfish and eels) are able to survive prolonged periods on land. However, the ability to move on land “like fish out of water” does not validate the opinion that living in water is an environmental preference, or lifestyle, for fish. An accurate, honest, informed assessment would be that for fish, living in water is an obligatory, natural, necessary and appropriate requirement for the fulfilment of a healthy and environmentally useful life.