After reading Mr. Castagnera's column in the 6/1/13 issue of the Times News in which he recounted the scandalous misdeeds of Pope Alexander VI, I was reminded of the familiar saying: if at first you don't succeed, try, try again.
In two previous columns, printed 3/23/13 and 3/30/13, both Mr. Castagnera and his daughter, Claire, wrote disparagingly of the Papacy in the person of the then newly-elected Pope, Francis, and in general of the Catholic Church of which he is the symbol by virtue of being its Universal Pastor as the successor of St. Peter.
These columns lacked any lasting credibility and persuasiveness because they were based solely on their personal peeves and prejudices served up with a huge dose of arrogance and hostility. The columnists were appealing to the emotive and not the intellectual side of their readers. Their scorn for all things Catholics was unmistakeable. Their content, style and bearing could have been the work of one of the writers of the Jerry Springer show.
Apparently Mr. Castagnera realized the shortcomings of that approach and switched to a different strategy. In his column last week he continued to smear the Papacy and, by intrinsic association, the Catholic Church, not by resorting to his personal hangups but by center staging Pope Alexander VI, who just might deserve to be called the worst Pope in secular and ecclesiastical history. No one inside or outside the Church could justify his abominable behavior. He stands as the example par excellence of the antithesis of what is expected of a Pope. To better grasp the difference, compare him to Blessed John Paul II and the present Pope, Francis.
But do you think Mr. Castagnera was trying to teach us a history lesson? Do you think he is trying to share with us his interest in the Borgia dynasty? Do you think he approached his subject matter in a fair and objective manner? In my opinion, the answers to all these questions is a resounding NO!
This is merely his most recent, flawed and clumsy attempt to bring disgrace to and engender mistrust toward the clearly divinely established role of the Pope within the Church and the world. (Our Protestand Brethren are free to object if they are as passionate about their Faith convictions as I am.) Mr. Castagnera, and his daughter who cowardly refused "to take the bait" and so avoid "trouble," should realize, slowly if necessary, that no one can mask their obsession to discredit the Church even behind the facts of the worst of times in the Church.
As I wrote in previous responses to columns written by the Castagneras, the sins and failings of Church members, Popes included, cannot destroy the Church, or enfeeble it from accomplishing its divinely instituted and divinely empowered mission to announce and bring salvation to humanity.
In the words of Jesus himself addressed to Peter exclusively; You are 'RocK,' and on this rock I will build my Church and the jaws of death shall not prevail against it (Matthew 16:18.) In light of this promise, I say to the Castagneras and all those like them who seem hell-bent on destructively criticizing the Church and thwarting its mission to proclaim the unadulterated Gospel of Jesus: Give it up! You don't have a fighting chance!
Jim Gmitter Lehighton, Pa. firstname.lastname@example.org