: On the front page of The New York Times today is a picture of pilgrims/tourists/mourners with their cameras aloft to get snapshots of the pope’s body as it passes by. I don’t get it. It’s a cultural thing.
All these pictures of the pope’s corpse brought back memories of seeing Pope John, who died in 1963, when I was 9. I was haunted, even freaked by all the pictures and TV images of a dead person. I’d never seen a dead person. I hadn’t been to a funeral and even if I had, my family doesn’t do open caskets. When you’re dead you’re gone. Dead bodies are scary. That’s how I was raised. As I said, it’s just a cultural thing.
I also remember how we were struck by the people applauding a dead man. Death was a silent thing, all somber and mournful where I grew up. It’s a cultural thing.