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Pope John Paul was a great pope – but that doesn’t mean he never made mistakes

His beatification is a declaration of his holiness, not his achievements

By on Thursday, 20 January 2011

John Paul II during a visit to Paris in 1980 (Photo: CNS)

John Paul II during a visit to Paris in 1980 (Photo: CNS)

The speed of Pope John Paul II’s beatification (as well as other, I suppose predictable, criticisms) have led to a wave of opposition to it which I have to admit I find deeply depressing, predictable or not. The late pope’s pontificate had a great deal to do with my own conversion: I didn’t cross the Tiber because I was all that impressed by the English Catholic bishops; I came for papal authority, out of a church which had no means of coming to a mind about what it believed about anything.
 
The late pope did more than any pope of the last century to defend and reassert beyond any doubt the stable and objective character of Catholic teaching – more even than Pius X with his great encyclical Pascendi Dominici Gregis, since modernist incursions had become much more powerfully established during the pontificate of the unhappy Pope Paul than they had been in the early years of the century. Pope John Paul firmly re-established the fact that the Magisterium was given by God and not invented by theologians, after a period of utter doctrinal chaos. He saw off once and for all the so-called “alternative magisterium” of Küng, Schillebeekx and their ilk: and as a result he made it possible for hundreds of thousands of non-Catholics like myself, tired of the uncertainties of secularised versions of Christianity, to come into full communion with the Holy See. So I greeted news of his beatification with great joy: because of this great pope, I had been enabled at last to come home.
 
Opposition to the beatification of Pope John Paul comes from three main sources: from secular anti-Catholics; from “liberal” Catholics; and from Lefebvrist nutters (rude, I know: but even members of SSPX who are relatively sane have nevertheless to be seen as committed opponents of the late pope).
 
To take them in order. Secular anti-Catholic opposition may be exemplified by USA Today, which contemptuously characterised the process of canonisation as being a recognition, in the words of one Cathy Lynn Grossman, “that someone who has lived a life of exemplary holiness is now in heaven, whispering on humans’ behalf in the ear of a miracle-working God”: she drew her readers attention to We Are Church, summarising their objections approvingly: “Their case,” wrote Ms Grossman, “is that he failed to confront the abuse scandal, that he squashed the Liberation Theology movement, that he shut off discussion on gender equality and that he did not recognise… that use of condoms can be a moral choice for preventing the transmission of of HIV/Aids.” Her final sentence was set in bold, making clear enough her own personal view of all this religious mumbo-jumbo: “Do you pray to saints to take your cause to God? Or do you see miracles as great human accomplishments of science, strength or personal will?”
 
We Are Church, to look at their objections at greater length (since they are virtually identical with the secular objections, this will do as an elaboration of the anti-Catholic view as well), said this:

“It was John Paul II’s … need for hierarchical control that … lead [sic] to the constriction of theology with scarring impact on people’s lives. His attempt to discredit liberation theology left thousands working for liberation without the full theological and ecclesial support they deserved while suffering under brutal political regimes.
 
“Spiritual authoritarianism was also seen in John Paul II’s attempt to suppress discourse on gender equality which, in turn, deprived the Catholic world of the gifts women would bring to church leadership. His stance against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people places him in complicity with local churches and governments who continue to deny the civil and moral equality of LGBT persons. Additionally, his repeated denouncements of condom use complicated the moral choice of millions around the world attempting to prevent the spread of HIV/AIDS and promote sexual health.”

On top of that, says John L Allen, “…some Catholic liberals who saw John Paul II as overly conservative have suggested that his cause is being fast-tracked in order to score political points in internal Catholic debates”.
 
“Overly conservative,” however, is not what the Lefebvrists think he was. I quote just one of them briefly (this is from the copious vitriolic comments of one correspondent after my Monday blog): “Pope Benedict is bringing the Church into disrepute by beatifying a Pope who presided over the almost total collapse of the Church on his watch. Far from being a great pope, history will show him to have been one of the worst popes in the entire history of the Church.”
 
History, I believe, will show on the contrary that he was one of the greatest (incidentally, “on his watch”, membership of the Church worldwide grew from around 700 million to 1.2 billion: there was no collapse, despite the doctrinal chaos in Europe and America that he did so much to overcome). But achievements aren’t what a beatification is about. It doesn’t mean that someone never made mistakes. Pope John Paul clearly did (think of his trust in Cardinal Sodano and all that led to); though on any reasonable view his mistakes were surely greatly less significant than his massive achievements.
 
But Pope John Paul is being beatified because of his heroic sanctity, a sanctity so evident (especially to those close to him) that it led to a popular eruption of demands that he be canonised, not after a five- or ten-year waiting period, but immediately: “santo subito”, the banners demanded. The five-year waiting period to begin the Cause was waived on account of what the Congregation for the Causes of Saints described as the “imposing fame for holiness” enjoyed by John Paul II during his lifetime: in all other respects, the usual procedures ran their course.
 
I believe that he was a great as well as a holy man: but holiness is always more important. We can surely agree about that: and perhaps we should focus on it a little more.

  • Anonymous

    I like your classification of four; I think that makes sense. (From the perspective of a liturgist/NFP teacher.)

  • Anonymous

    This is really interesting, and just goes to show that saintliness (not of this world) can cause major headaches in temporal matters (like the administrative mess). Thanks for the perspective.

  • Anonymous

    AnthonyPatrick, you have created a new context. I was responding to this from kathleensomuchtosay:

    “I believe that God is in the middle on most matters.” This, of course, will be news to God.

    There is a philosophy which argues that we should hold to “the middle way.” I was once instructed by a bishop to “teach the middle way” When I asked if he could define “the middle way” as it applies to various doctrines and matters of morality, he was unable to do so.

    That’s because, of course, there IS no “middle way” in religion, any more than there is right or left in religion. These are political terms. It’s a “compromise term”and there can be no compromise with the truth. There would be no question of the martyrs taking up a compromise position – indeed, examples abound of the saints refusing to compromise – St Thomas More springs to mind.

    In religion, there is only right or wrong, truth or falsehood, fidelity or infidelity.

    Hope that helps clarify things, AnthonyPatrick.

  • Athelstane

    Well, it’s certainly true that Karol Wojtyla inherited the papacy at a moment when the Church was in a catastrophic state – massive, unrestrained dissent throughout most of the West and the Catholic academia, a drifting curia, collapsing vocations, a Church stricken by the cultural revolution which had swept the West. Let us be fair in recognizing that these disasters came before John Paul II – and even a Gregory the Great would have been hard pressed to hold the ship together.

    John Paul’s strategy was to confront this disaster with massive, relentless personal evangelization – to go over the heads of enervated bishops and dissenting theologians to the public at large. He was certainly gifted at that (the tacky outdoor liturgies notwithstanding). But I think he really failed to appreciate how much his own message was very badly undercut by leaving in place, intact, these same leaders, and leaving the newly roused Catholics at their mercies once he stepped back onto the plane.

    It’s true that he could not simply sack at will without running the risk of massive disobedience and even schism, but it’s also true that he could have spent more time and energy getting better bishops appointed when opening appeared. He could have taken more hand-on attention to growing allegations of sexual abuse scandals in dioceses and orders (including the Legion, by whom he was entirely deceived with disastrous results). But administration was never his strong point, and that was true even in Krakow. I think even Weigel would concede that point (to some degree, at any rate).

    Though it is true that he did inject new morale into the Church at a very traumatic moment, I think his greatest achievement must remain his role in the collapse of Communism. I am not sure it warrants the title “the Great,” but it must be considered on his ledger against the failures that we are all better informed of now. Beatification? Sure. But perhaps more time (decades) and better perspective is needed before canonization, let alone final, popular bestowal of the title “Magnus” upon him.

  • Gotty

    This guy has een at it again – have you seen his latest attack on the Pope at http://dioclese.blogspot.com/2011/01/papal-bull.html? Appalling!

  • Bluewarrior1988

    Thanks again Mr Oddie for a well-written article

  • Anonymous

    Great article, William Oddie. But I felt that you would do better to write more on subject. I felt that the article finished too soon.

  • Anonymous

    Thank you for the reply, EditorCT.

    St. Thomas More was exactly the type of the good and faithful servant I had at the forefront of my mind as I was writing my comment. I appreciate the thrust of your argument that ‘there is no “middle way” in religion’, in as much as holding with the Truth is not the same thing as walking the middle way of psuedo-oecumenism, but I stand by what I wrote before, in response to your reply to Kyriacos.

    I am sure you would agree that, unlike Muslims, we Roman Catholics are not followers of a book, or words. We are followers of The Word, Our Lord Himself, whose crucifixion is the sign of contradiction par excellence, and whose teaching contradicted both the traditionalist and the liberalist of the day. I am not a modernist, but neither am I traditionalist for its own sake: I am a devout Roman Catholic and I adhere to the tradition and magisterium of the Church – neither of which are ‘isms’.

    The problem with many of the responses to the article by W. Oddie, including some of your own, is that the petitio principii nature of much of the debate betrays the very thing it pretends to be above. Nevertheless, perhaps you would concur that personal convictions we might have about the True Faith ought not blind us to the Truth of the Gospel of The Christ who reminded us that the Law was made for Man, not Man for the Law – a point not lost on St. Thomas More: nor on Pope John Paul II.

  • Hof

    Please explain how “Being in the middle is not the same as being lukewarm” Absolute Truth is binary, it is not relative to the person.

    Also I didn’t mention JPII, I was merely addressing your statement that God is in the middle.

  • Paulmck

    I’ve read accounts of the ‘miracle’ and I find it embarassing. Sounds like a faith healing! Can’t we wait until we have a real, indisputable miracle. To proceed on such a basis risks making a laughing stock of the Church and undermines every saint ever canonised.

  • Anonymous

    AnthonyPatrick,

    There’s a lot of fancy footwork in your comment but this recourse to “we follow The Word, Our Lord Himself…” is a Protestant argument against the authority of the Church.

    Christ bequeathed to His Church, His own authority to teach: “He that hears you, hears Me” so let’s not fall into the trap of by-passing the Church in the name of following Christ more closely. As Blessed John Henry Newman said: “Christ gave us the Church to save us from ingenuous speculations and reasonings of our own.” Once we find we are separating Christ from His Church, we know that we have taken a wrong turn.

    I do agree about the labels and I never describe myself as anything but “a Catholic.” These days, however, I find myself adding: “I’m one of those oddballs, though, who believes it all!”

    The fact is, AnthonyPatrick, that at one time Catholic schools clearly taught the key role of Tradition in checking if we are being faithful to the Church’s teaching. Nowadays all reference is to “the Gospel” without invoking St Augustine who said “I would not believe in the Gospel if I did not first believe in the authority of the Catholic Church.”

    And remember, your quote of Jesus’s words about the law bing made for man, cannot be read out of their original context. These words are used by “liberals” to allow them to do whatever they want, usually contracept. Christ was not talking about the moral law when He said that. Can you remember what it was He was talking about? Quite.

    I would refrain from mentioning Pope John Paul II in the same breath as St Thomas Aquinas. I really would. St Thomas Aquinas was banished from seminaries the world over during the pontificate of Pope John Paul II and like every other aberration on his watch, this “saintly” pope did sweet nothing about it.

    Finally, in order to demonstrate “a problem” with my posts on this blog (or any other blog) you would have to quote me anything that I’ve said that is incompatible with Catholic teaching. Let me save you the trouble. You won’t find anything.

    No, AnthonyPatrick, the real trouble withmy posts is that they are all too often read by Catholics,of various hues, who don’t like what I say. And that is just…

    Too bad!

  • Anonymous

    What a pity! You might not be inclined to believe it, but you really got it (and me?) wrong when you dismissed the notion that Catholics are not devotees of a book so much as they are devoted followers of the Incarnate Word. I’m sticking with St. Paul on that one. Protestant my left foot! You know, there is always the possibility that we differ more in the expression of our opinions than in the underlying substance of our understanding (and devotion) to the Faith. You have no need to doubt my orthodoxy.

    P.S. I didn’t mention Pope John Paul II in connection with St. Thomas Aquinas (an edited Summa Theologica is one of the books I keep on my bedside table, by the way), but with St. Thomas More: the parallel (not, I stress, analogy) being their respective stances vis a vis the totalitarian state and the Church (nothing more!).

    God bless

  • Anonymous

    Well, it’s a pity, all right, that you did not make any reference to the quotes I supplied from Blessed John Henry Newman and St Augustine, because your acknowledgement of those truths about the Church and the importance of a Catholic interpretation of the Gospels would, indeed, have affirmed your orthodoxy.

    I see I did mistake your reference to St Thomas – you did say St Thomas More but I speed read it as St Thomas Aquinas, for which I apologise but again, although I can see your point about your limited parallel between the two, I would argue that to equate St Thomas More – who gave his life for the supremacy of the papacy – with Pope John Paul II who sold it down the river, with his prayer meetings with leaders of other “churches” and world religions (among other ecumenical scandals) is a stretch of the imagination too far.

    My final word about this “we follow the Word Incarnate…” is this. What is the point of saying that? I often see/read Catholics saying this. I never say this. Why not? Because, it’s rather like saying “I drink water and eat bread” – it is elementary my dear AnthonyPatrick. Of COURSE we follow Our Lord! But the Sacred Scriptures are inerrant, they contain the inspired (in the proper sense) word of God. They bear no comparison to the writings of the pagan religions. It is a mistake to take up an either/or mentality with regard to Christ, the Sacred Scriptures and the Church. Christ Himself showed his allegiance to the Scriptures, saying “not one jot or tittle of the law will pass away…Heaven and earth will pass away, but My word will not pass away.”

    I hope I’ve not misunderstood anything in your post this time, AnthonyPatrick – forgive my carelessness, but I’m always rushing here, there and everywhere!

    Luv ‘m stuff…

  • Anonymous

    Thanks for the reply, once again.

    Let me assure you that I am 100% in accord with your quotations from both the Blessed John Henry and St. Augustine (who also jostle for space on my bedside table, so to speak!).

    Now, if we are in agreement in being guided by both St. Thomas Aquinas and St. Augustine of Hippo – and I’ll throw in the English translation of St. Thomas’s Catena Aurea, as prepared under the auspices of the Blessed J.H., as my Desert Island Discs castaway’s book of choice alongside the Douai and the complete works of the world’s greatest Catholic dramatic poet – we’re probably not only batting for the same side but using the same shin pads.

    Divinum auxilium maneat semper tecum.

  • Anonymous

    “Absolute Truth is binary…”: no it’s not, it’s absolute! Metaphysically speaking, it’s at the apex of the heart of the matter, which puts it paradoxically and metaphorically in medias res, wouldn’t you think?

    (Your turn!)

  • Hof

    What you have just said is a lot of nothing. By binary, something is either true or it isn’t, truth is not relative to ones own individual interpretation or life experiences, that is where the “Absolute” part comes in. The truth remains regardless of what you or I believe, because God is truth.

    As far as being the heart of the matter, that is an allegorical expression, meaning the root cause, having nothing at all to do with some, strange notion of truth being politically neutral and therefore in the middle, because biologically the heart is somewhere close to the center of our bodies..

  • Nutter

    nutter here……this beatification mocks the saints of the Church

  • Anonymous

    Had a humour-(heart-)bypass, Hof? On the other hand…

    As you are the one who brought up Absolute Truth (Remember…? Try sticking to your own terms: it’s good manners as well as being intellectually coherent…) as distinct from the mere ‘truth’ that you sloppily slide into and which is indeed binary and may of course be relative, allow me to correct you in this respect: “the heart of the matter” is not allegorical, it’s metaphorical. You seem to be o.k. with paradox, though I suspect the irony of your opening dismissal really is unintended.

    “A little learning is a dangerous thing; drink deep, or taste not the Pierian spring.”

  • considerandhearme

    Holy men do not kiss the Koran.
    https://considerandhearme.wordpress.com/

  • Freda

    Anyone who dares to criticise a saint, as Pope JP II the Great showed he was in his lifetime, will have to answer to God for it. You seem to pay no attention to the fact that miracles have occurred as a response to prayers for his intercession. What have you, Christina, done in your life that gives you the right to criticise a holy man like that?

  • Freda

    Ex Pius X priests have left the SSPX because that group is itself granting anulments to marriages.

  • Anonymous

    And your point is?

    In 1969, there were only some 700 marriage annulments worldwide. By the 1990′s, there were in excess of 50,000 in the U.S. alone. If you want scandal over marriage annulments, there it is.

  • Freda

    You all know of the new Society Ordinances that appeared this year. You know of the granting of annulments by the Society, a thing which shows that the Society has entered dangerous ground. I was taught at the seminary that the Society could not give validly such annulments. Yet that is now official policy. Then there is the canonical commission with its “dispensations,” some or which Rome alone can grant. I reject and will always reject any pretensions on the Society’s part to “play the pope.” All of this is very untraditional and un-Catholic. I must remind you that never in the history of the Church has any group of priests claiming to be Catholic taken to itself the authority to grant annulments. Only Rome or a diocesan bishop can validly do so. To receive such an invalid annulment and then to attempt to marry afterwards would certainly constitute a sacrilege. As to the “dispensations,” the Church requires them in many cases for the validity of the marriage. Some of these have never been given, save by Rome. They are reserved to Rome by virtue of the Pope’s authority. Yet the Society does not scruple to claim to be able to loose what Peter has bound, quite contrary to Our Lord’s words, “Whatsoever you bind on earth will be bound also in Heaven…” The Society pretends that it is a case of necessity, but such is not the case unless one claims that the Pope is incapable of exercising his authority for the good of the Church, which would be tantamount to saying that he is not really the Pope. It is to set up another authority equal to Peter’s in the Church.

    http://www.whyiamacatholic.com/SSPX/Roberts.htm

  • P. Duncan

    Why, pray tell, is offering rational criticism of his late Holiness considered “nutty.” And in exactly what sense is this criticism nutty? Is it “nutty” to criticize Pope John Paul II for openly endorsing protestant philosophy (Augsburg confession)? Is it nutty to suggest the Church should restore its devotion to sacramental theology and St. Thomas Aquinas? Is it nutty to believe God authored a law and order for the manner in which man relates to Him (Mass), a law and order written in the very fiber of creation, discovered over thousands of years of organic Tradition, independent of the fickle opinions of man? Is it nutty to point out that Mass attendance, confessions, and calls to religions life are at all time lows? Is it nutty to suggest that John Paul II was misleading the faithful with his liturgical relativism, seen in the dancing, horrendous music, questionable attire, and general chaos that frequented his liturgies? Is it nutty to suggest he should have appointed better bishops? Is it nutty to question his John Paul’s convergence ecumenism, a position that questions the very definition of religion itself? Perhaps the Traditionalists critique John Paul II wrongly, but it behooves us to gently prove they are wrong, not mock them to mask our willful ignorance. Remember, we are able to oppose philosophically dubious acts of our popes without compromising our Catholic faith. Tradition itself judges our hierarchy, and our popes are bound by Tradition. They are princes who defend the law, not dictators who arbitrate their own law.

  • Hof

    I apologize if I missed the humor, I’m not British…

    An analogy would be “Absolute Zero” is a binary concept, it either is or it isn’t as is “Absolute Truth”, there is no middle ground, it transcends the subject. Truth by definition excludes error. I want you to expound on your beliefs on relative truths, I’m listening? If I’m understanding you correctly you are saying 2 oppsosing beliefs can both be true at the same time?

  • kieran

    SSPX were offered numerous times many opportunities thanks to Pope John Paul II to return to full communion with The Church. However Archbishop Marcel and his fellow priests chose not to accept several generous offers. Even after Archbishop Marcel died there was more attempts made by the late Holy Father to reunite the SSPX with The Church and most especially in the deal that was offered by Pope John Paul II to Bishop Fellay and the SSPX in the Great Millennium Year 2000. I personally know of a priest of the FSSP who was an SSPX priest until the year 2000. He spoke with several of the senior priests of SSPX who knew Archbishop Marcel and they personally thought that the late Archbishop would have taken the deal offered by the Holy Father. This priest in his own conscience could then no longer stay separated from Rome. He was welcomed into full communion with The Church with open arms.

    I know move to Dec 2010. I witnessed a talk given by Bishop Fellay where he labelled the College of Cardinals and the Curia as being “full of homosexuals and masons.” He went on to say that this Holy Father is a good and nice man, and then tear him to bits. I’m sorry but it is simple you are either with Peter or you are not. Let’s not try and play clever with our souls.

    Jesus said “And I say to thee: That thou art Peter; and upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” Mt 16:18. With the Holy Father you know with certainty that The Lord has established him as head of The Church. You know with certainty that you are part of Christ’s Church, you are part of the Body. With SSPX you are in question… Why risk your soul? If you love the Latin Mass then you can attend an FSSP chapel or another Latin Mass which is in full communion with The Church. I think there is a serious question of pride here.

    I have sympathy with the SSPX and I do understand and know of the history of the struggle and the injustices which many members of the SSPX have suffered. However we are called to be with Christ. If you are not with Him then you are against Him, and I pity the soul that is found to be dividing the Body of Christ. Union is what Christ wanted not division. If you believe in the One True Church, you believe in the Papacy, you believe in the Eucharist and in the place of Our Blessed Mother then be part of His Church and don’t be found guilty on judgement day of causing division.

    Pride is the greatest sin of this age. May pride not divide The Church, may The Church never be found guilty of suffering from pride.

    Lord grant us humility, Lord grant us all an abundance of humility.

  • Anonymous

    Hello, Hof.

    Nice try but, no, that is not what I said.

    When I used the phrase ‘in medias res’ (in what was intended as a good-humoured reply in support of the Catholic sincerity of kathleensomuchtosay), I did so in the sense of ‘into the thick of it’, so I suppose I have only myself to blame! Oh, well, here goes…

    The person in the street having already picked up more than a smattering of the latter 20th century’s love affair with the language of pseudo-truth, the general commentary of the times is now littered with the clichés of ‘digital’ computer-speak, of the self-limiting binary intellect of the on-off switch, even of blind-faith in the gods of genetic-codes.

    How did we get here?

    Defining objectivity as the basis to ‘absolute’ truth, 19th century scientific positivists believed that a complete and exact understanding of the physical universe was ultimately attainable.

    During the 20th century, in the wake of Freud and Marx, psychologists and social scientists pressed the case for complete determinism: free will was simply an illusion.

    Where did that get us (apart from Nazism, Stalinism and Man as God)?

    - An intellectually black and white universe in which Science is right and Faith is wrong.

    Should this worry us?

    I should say so.

    But not unduly: the validity with which the so-called scientific/objective approach concerns itself is limited to those aspects of (human) nature which can be ‘observed’ and ‘measured’, analysing ‘hard facts’ in order to arrive at systematic ‘laws’.

    Furthermore, against this total reductionism, philosophers (and other psychologists) have insisted on the individual’s autonomy; the subjective/exploratory approach adopted by psychoanalysts and existentialist philosophers, for example, concerned itself with experience and perception. Aligned with phenomenology, this allows that all issues of substance are issues of perceived meaning.

    The one way of thinking, usually said to stem from the empiricism of the so-called Enlightenment, limits itself to the formulation of laws of behaviour; the other, supported by early 20th century physics, shows that the closer the analysis, the greater the tendency for the hard facts and objects to dissolve into a much more elusive complex of events and processes.

    So where does all that leave us?

    I don’t know about you, but for me as a Catholic, however, there is such a thing as Absolute Truth which both can be distinguished from the ‘absolute’ truths permitted to the rationalist-scientist and is unaffected by states of mind on the part of those who attack or defend it. Allow an example that suggests itself to me, prompted by a treatise of Ronald Knox in consideration of the theological term martyrdom: now a psychologist, (and I might add geneticist or atheist, or an atheist-geneticist, for that matter) might be minded to refer to this as being in reality little more than something to do with a ‘martyr-complex’; if so, writes Knox:

    I should very much like to have the persecuting of these modern psychologists. Either they
    would recant, or I would send them off to be psychoanalyzed until they could get rid of their
    martyr-complex.

    In other words, we could soon cure them of dogmatic false-belief in such a conviction by (ironic!) recourse to persecution (or psychoanalysis). On the other hand, the state of mind in which someone dies in the name of a false religion may be substantially the same as that of one who dies for the true religion. But this is not the point, either. Martyrdom, Knox reminds us, is (paradoxically) “a matter of plain supernatural fact”:

    … nothing in martyrdom symbolizes the grace which martyrdom wins… it is a transaction
    in the natural order which produces its direct effects in the supernatural order. Something
    which happens to a man’s body has made a difference to the status of his soul.

    An ugly death that is a beautiful life, one might say.

    In much the same way, birth is death – the one cannot be independent of the other – which, incidentally, is also why I have no personal doubt about the hereafter: death is birth. That (here and after) brings me to the paradox of time, which is that the present does not exist, and time, if it exists at all, is simultaneously the past and the future.

    The Absolute Truth is, of course, God whose Trinitarian Nature is The Divine Unity. Ultimately (limited as I am to writing as a finite mind with finite words, sorry) that Truth is paradoxically at the infinite apex of the infinite heart of what we call the universe. Which reminds me: I have never (hyperbolically speaking) understood why atheists are determined to prove that God does not exist, as though to do so would prove anything at all. God does not exist: God Is. You and I exist. Things exist. And things, like you and I, die. God is not a thing. God is no thing. Nothing is real.

    Mysterium Fidei. Absolute Truth is a paradox.

    Just ask Jesus. And Mary. And Joseph.

    Nunc scripsi totum pro Christo da mihi potum.

  • Profidebookstore

    “Catholic moral teaching, the Pope in question was indirectly at fault for abuses that crept in as a result of his almost permanent absence from the Vatican.”
    COMMENT: sweeping. It would be much the same as claiming that all that he had to face was well prepared by the previous Popes’ permanent absence from the world, inclusive of Pius IX’s sending out syllabuses condemning the world while never taking trouble to face it.

    “Clerical Sexual abuse crimes, for example, are almost exclusively confined to this Pontificate” – COMMENT: exclusively to the recent popes was a developed media communication, while in good old days even the primitive telegraph communication was not so available. We would not have had a Communism had the Catholic population of the last three centuries been angelic.

  • Profidebookstore

    Scandals in all massive gatherings are inevitable. From the view point of Moral Teology it is always necessary to strike a balance between staying in a corner for fear of mortal sin and do nothing, or go out and do good while accepting the side effects as not chosen by inevitable.

  • Anonymous

    “Scandals in all massive gatherings are inevitable. From the view point of Moral Teology it is always necessary to strike a balance between staying in a corner for fear of mortal sin and do nothing, or go out and do good while accepting the side effects as not chosen by inevitable.”

    With respect, that’s a load of old tosh that has no basis in moral theology whatsoever.

  • Profidebookstore

    “Pope John Paul II kissed the Koran”
    Here is the opening prayer (Sura (Chapter) 1)

    Praise be to Allah (=God), the Lord of the worlds,
    The beneficent, the merciful,
    Owner of the day of judgement,
    Thee alone we worship;

    Thee alone we ask for help,
    Show us the straight path,
    The path of those whom Thou has favoured,
    Not of those who earn Thine anger nor of those who go astray.

    I suggest to every Catholic to say this prayer occasionally. The first part is very similar to the first part of the Lord’s prayer; the second to the second part starting with “Give us…”

  • Anonymous

    “Here is the opening prayer (Sura (Chapter) 1)

    Praise be to Allah (=God), the Lord of the worlds,
    The beneficent, the merciful,
    Owner of the day of judgement,
    Thee alone we worship;

    Thee alone we ask for help,
    Show us the straight path,
    The path of those whom Thou has favoured,
    Not of those who earn Thine anger nor of those who go astray.

    I suggest to every Catholic to say this prayer occasionally. The first part is very similar to the first part of the Lord’s prayer; the second to the second part starting with “Give us…”

    You don’t even seem to be aware that this is heresy! It’s little wonder you were treated with suspicion by SSPX folks if you were quoting Koran prayers to them.

    “No one, speaking by the Spirit of God, sayeth anathema to Jesus.” (St. Paul).

    I would prefer not to have further exchanges with you. You’re not Catholic.

  • Profidebookstore

    “that’s a load of old tosh that has no basis in moral theology whatsoever”.
    COMMENT: How many manuals of Moral Theology did you consult if any, and could we have the titles?

  • Profidebookstore

    “I would prefer not to have further exchanges with you. You’re not Catholic”
    COMMENT: Yet another infallible definition.
    If you are not able to say this prayer with full peace in your conscience, the “god” in whom you believe is not God at all.

  • Profidebookstore

    “If you want scandal over marriage annulments, there it is.”
    COMMENT: Nobody can deny it, but equally, nobody can deny that the previous procedures have demanded from couples in materially invalid union to live together or separately for ages with consequent personal tragedies.

    The only alternative to that situation was to increase the staff in Rome to meet demands within reasonable time, which staff would have to be accommodated there; or to decentralise it, and in the latter case to make of bishops the papal clerks, or to give them instruction and leave decisions to them, in which case various interpretations of the instruction are inevitable and open to abuse; not to mention those bishops who are determined to have it their way regardless of what the Pope says.

    The Pope can’t handle an uncooperative hierarch. In any management it is generally held that one individual can effectively manage five subordinates at the most, and the Pope is supposed to manage 2000 bishops. If he wants to remove the uncooperative bishop he has to go through the canonical procedure, which if the bishops challenges it, can take years to complete.

    So, whatever the Pope chooses, he must accept as inevitable the side effects, as I have explained in another place. It is well known tenet in classical moral theology, not known only to moral theological dilettantes.

  • Profidebookstore

    “placed a prayer of apology into the Western Wall of the JewishTemple in Jerusalem for supposed past wrongs of the inviolate Church”
    Yet another misinterpretation, which doesn’t make difference between the Inviolate Church and the churchmen in it. If the Pope placed the prayer of apology on behalf of the Church, it was the apology for what her sons and daughters have done, which can’t be denied. They are still a mar on her face, and that is why she is on pilgrimage, with sinners in her bosom as the Dogmatic Constitution teaches us.

  • Profidebookstore

    “generally permitted liberal clergy everywhere to commit the most horrendous sacrileges during countless novelty adaptations of the Holy Mass.”
    COMMENT: If it is suggested that he was asked and permitted horrendous sacrileges, and if there is no evidence for it, it is a calumny pure and simple.

  • AJ

    • Yea right! Look who’s talking. All you care about is liturgy…..are you are RadTrad? you guys are single-issue campaigners. Really.

    Was JPII flawed? Yup. So was Peter. Oh, so was St Paul. He still did more WORLDWIDE to push evangelism and spread the Gospel to the very ends of the earth than any Pope I know in history! And he carried on in great personal pain to the end of his life. Heroic virtue? Oh yes. Great deeds? Brought down communism, liberation theology, saw through Revival in Africa and the East… Sounds like more than I have done! Plus travelling around the world seven times trying to win souls, yea, even of those of other faiths, with a Catechism to correct any ‘confusion’ among the faithful. (The confusion, as I say, comes from corrupt, liberal Bishops of the West who constantly undermine the faith.) established Divine Mercy, shelters, food to all that hunger the Word of God and a lot more not enough space in here, Heroic virtue? Oh yes. Great deeds? oh Yes.

    Finally, I do not see that JPII need to apologise to Rad-Trads. Whenever I see their like online I notice they are forever obsessing about liturgy and just, well, complaining. I never see the Rad-Trad evangelistic outreaches, the Rad-Trad soup kitchens, the Rad-Trad medical boats… Oh no. It’s always Latin, liturgy and ‘reverence’ (as if reverence was the only permissible human state sometimes.) JPII did things! Pope B16 is doing things. The Church moves on doing things. The Catholic Church in Indonesia is booming! Oh, and up until recently both my wife and I were involved with the Evangelistic community “Couples for Christ.” It’s a lay community founded in the Philippines committed to evangelism and family support. It’s a high commitment community I can tell you! But it is growing exponentially. Oh look, it was founded under JPII’s watch and given permanent Vatican recognition by him! ‘Cause, you see, real Pope’s are interested in people doing things and spreading the Gospel.

    Then how about you Mr. CStrain and your RadTrad group, have you done ANYTHING lately for your neighbor? Fill me. An advise from Christ Himself, so before you remove the splinter in JPII’s eyes remove the LOG in your eyes first so you could see better next time, ok?

  • Pdudek

     we would like to inform you, that the famous polish bestseller
    “He liked Tuesdays best. The story of everyday life of John Paul II”
    is now available in english version on the bookstore Amazon.com and website
    http://jp2books.com

  • Padre Pio Ireland

    The martyrs gave theirs lives so as to have ultimate power over evil, in doing this they followed in the foot steps of Christ Jesus. Noel Healy from The Padre Pio Centre Kilkee Co. Clare. Ireland

  • Padre Pio Ireland

    Judge not, less ye be judged, Pope John Paul II inspired so many in the same way St Francis inspired countless generations, actions speaks louder than words, we must Love our neighbours including family with all our hearts. Especially our poor mothers, who carried our burdens throughout our life’s, once gone we cannot say sorry for transgressions.

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