What a sorry bunch of creeps. That’s the only way I can describe the way I feel about those who mounted their little protest against the Pope. Pope John Paul II is arguably the greatest man of the 20th century and he is surely the most beloved person on earth today. Non-Catholics, as well as Catholics, have embraced him in a manner that is absolutely awesome. And that is why those who protested against him are so pitiful: it is they – not the Pope – who are strangely out of step with the masses.

Who are the protesters and what do they want? To begin with, I am not talking about those persons who, for whatever reason, have sharp disagreements with the Catholic Church. I am talking exclusively about the radical fringe, some of whom are pictured in this issue. The first thing to notice about them is that they are very bitter people. The depth of their hate is enormous and it is not just their hatred of the Pope that motivates them. They are unhappy with themselves, with America, with Western Civilization, with nature and with God. Is it any wonder they find it difficult to smile?

Notice who these people are. Their interests are abortion, homosexuality and atheism. Radically self-absorbed, what they want is a world where they can do whatever they want to their bodies, with no cost to themselves, and where they are accountable to no one, not even to God. That is why they are a pathetic lot.

Listen to what they say. Just prior to the papal visit, Frances Kissling of Catholics for a Free Choice called the Pope “a mean man.” I made sure to tell that to every journalist, TV commentator and radio talk show host I could find. I want them to know exactly what kind of person they are dealing with when they talk to Kissling. Even the Pope’s biggest detractors find him irresistible as a person, and that is why Kissling’s remark is so valuable: it shows that she is not just another critic, she is in a class all by herself. She is also a coward.

A few weeks before the papal visit, I was asked by PBS in New York if l would debate Frances Kissling on TV. Of course, I said yes. Kissling had already agreed to the debate, though she did not know whom it was she would be debating. The week before the papal visit, I got a call back from PBS. Kissling, upon learning whom she would be debating, canceled. I was told by the producer at PBS that when my name was mentioned, she was “literally terrified.”

So much for Kissling. She spends her life sucker-punching the Catholic Church but doesn’t have the guts to confront her adversaries. When CNN called, I recommended a debate between Kissling and me. The producer was excited about the idea and said she would try to arrange it. She never called back.

Radical feminist Gloria Steinem showed up at the protest march in New York and delivered this gem of a quote: “We will live to see the day that St. Patrick’s Cathedral is a child-care center and the Pope is no longer a disgrace to the skirt that he has on.” Dream on, Gloria, your time has already passed and you still don’t know it. Thirty years after her feminist movement began, women are more exploited in music, the movies, television and the theater than ever before, and now, having given up on her original goals, poor Gloria wants to bring her social engineering skills to bear on St. Pat’s.

Someone from the press asked if the Catholic League would be organizing a counter demonstration against the protesters. No, I said, not on your life: I would never do anything to take the spotlight off of them. I want the whole world to know what a sorry bunch of creeps they really are.

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