Anne Mikolay

There’s quite a lot about our current world that baffles me. Knowing full well that many will disagree with me, I’m just going to put the following out there as food for thought.

Hot topic number one: masks. Public health officials constantly state a mask is an effective way to curtail airborne transmission of the coronavirus. While I acknowledge and accept the necessity of wearing masks during this pandemic, I hate them. I have yet to find a mask that fits well and doesn’t lead to my glasses fogging up, and from a less practical and more vain standpoint, the mask’s elastic straps push my ears forward so I look like a monkey. More importantly, as an asthmatic, I can’t breathe well in a mask. But I wear it, and quite frankly, I don’t understand the opposition. I’ve heard the arguments and the claims of civil liberties being violated, etc., but putting on a mask to safeguard community health doesn’t seem like an unreasonable request to me. Thankfully, most Americans agree. According to the New York Times, 92% of 2,200 U.S. adults polled last month wear a face mask when leaving home. Great! Here’s a suggestion that won’t sit quite as well with many Americans, masked or unmasked: stay home!

Hot topic number two: President Trump’s failure to concede the 2020 election. I don’t know about you, but I’m sick of this election circus. Of course, there’s no law stating Trump must concede, but enough is enough! Democratic candidate Joe Biden won the presidential election fair and square; Trump’s recounting efforts are nothing more than narcissistic whining. That being said, a Monmouth University poll (released November 18th) clearly shows Republican Americans do not agree with me. 70% of Republicans said they believe Joe Biden won the election due to voter fraud – even though Trump’s accusations of fraud have repeatedly been debunked by legal experts. 70% of Republicans accepting conspiracy theories over fact is a sad and alarming commentary on the decline of our democracy.

Hot topic number three: the Vatican Report on Cardinal Theodore McCarrick. As a lifelong Catholic, raised and schooled in the Catholic tradition, I know my catechism. I know the Ten Commandments. I know the sacraments, including Holy Orders. I know about the saints. And I also know that none of what I was taught so passionately by Catholic nuns and priests squares in any way with what I read in the recently released Vatican Report. While Cardinal McCarrick’s behavior as described therein is undeniably criminal, cruel, and psychologically twisted, the failure of Pope John Paul II to stop McCarrick’s rampant sexual abuse raises serious questions. The Vatican report found that Pope John Paul II had rejected explicit warnings about sexual abuse by Theodore E. McCarrick and instead elevated McCarrick up the ranks of church hierarchy. Christians are not supposed to judge one another, but the words of Albert Einstein, “If I were to remain silent, I’d be guilty of complicity,” cast a shadow on the validity of Karol Jozef Wojtyla’s sainthood. Catholic Church officials set the standards for canonization, but it certainly is disheartening that in the case of Pope Saint John Paul II, much qualifying information was apparently ignored. (Is not silence in the face of injustice complicity with the oppressor?) The Vatican report is shocking, alarming. Perhaps we would be wise to put our faith in God alone, not in man, and that includes men in clerical collars.

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And there you have it, food for thought, something to chew on, to accept  or to spit out. As President Trump says, “it is what it is.” We just have to wear our masks and get on with whatever “it” is.

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Anne Mikolay

Anne M. Mikolay joined The Atlantic Highlands Herald as a columnist in 2008. Prior to penning “The Armchair Critic,” Anne wrote feature articles for The Monmouth Journal. Her work has appeared in national...