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Sunday’s beatification will be of a holy pope who began the fightback against the smoke of Satan

It will take 100 years to recover from the 1960s and 70s: but John Paul set us back on course

By on Thursday, 28 April 2011

John Paul II's greatest achievement was to defend the stable and objective character of Catholic teaching (Photo: CNS)

John Paul II's greatest achievement was to defend the stable and objective character of Catholic teaching (Photo: CNS)

We have short memories; we take our recent history too easily for granted. Few people, it seems – at least among those who imply that the problems we still face as a Church were actually Pope John Paul’s fault – remember the state of the Catholic Church at the end of the reign of the unhappy Pope Paul VI, during which forces of disintegration were unleashed within the Church which brought it to the edge of losing all credibility as a defender of basic Christian orthodoxy.

This work of darkness was brought about, not by the Council itself, but by some of those, certainly, who had attended it. It was certainly not the work, as some still confidently claim, of a liberal pope: for if Pope Paul was such a convinced liberal, what about Humanae Vitae? What happened during his pontificate was clearly far from his intention. At a homily he preached in 1972, he is reported as saying, now famously, that he had “believed that after the Council would come a day of sunshine in the history of the Church. But instead there has come a day of clouds and storms, and of darkness … And how did this come about? We will confide to you the thought that … there has been a power, an adversary power. Let us call him by his name: the devil. It is as if from some mysterious crack… the smoke of Satan has entered the temple of God.”

He was speaking particularly about the liturgy: but just as disastrous was the unchallenged rise during his pontificate of the so-called “alternative magisterium” of Küng, Schillebeeckx and the rest of their malign brood. It was a time of great destruction; and to destroy is always easier than to rebuild. Recovering from the aftermath of the Council will take 100 years. But Pope John Paul began the fightback: he set the barque of Peter, and the Church with it, firmly back on course.

His greatest achievement, as I have already written in this column, was that he did more than any pope of the last century to defend and reassert beyond any doubt the stable and objective character of Catholic teaching. He saw off the alternative magisterium, not by suppressing individuals (though Küng, for instance, had his licence to teach Catholic doctrine removed) but by clear and unequivocal teaching: and as I wrote when the beatification was announced, 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.

If you doubt me when I say that he made it possible for many to become Catholics, despite their own perception of the deep attractions of the Catholic tradition, consider the case of Malcolm Muggeridge. In Something Beautiful for God, an explanation of why he resisted becoming a Catholic, despite even the urging of Mother Teresa, he pointed to the circumstance

“…that the Church, for inscrutable reasons of its own, has decided to have a reformation just when the previous one – Luther’s – is finally running into the sand.

“I make no judgment about something which, as a non-member, is no concern of mine; but if I were a member, then I should be forced to say that, in my opinion, if men were to be stationed at the doors of churches with whips to drive worshippers away, or inside the religious orders specifically to discourage vocations, or among the clergy to spread alarm and despondency, they could not hope to be as effective in achieving these ends as are trends and policies seemingly now dominant within the Church.

“Feeling so, it would be preposterous to seek admission, more particularly as, if the ecumenical course is fully run, luminaries of the Church to which I nominally belong, like the former Bishop of Woolwich, for whom – putting it mildly – I have little regard, will in due course take their place in the Roman Catholic hierarchy among the heirs of St Peter.”

But then, Karol Wojtyla became pope. The old indiscriminate ecumenism was allowed quietly to run into the sands; the mists of uncertainty were blown away, and the Magisterium was revealed, still standing, firm on the rock of Peter; and within a very few years, Muggeridge became a Catholic at last. So did many others, including myself.

That is why I was elated at the news of his beatification: because of his re-establishment of the simple fact of the Church’s authority to declare the objective truth of Catholic doctrine (Veritatis Splendor, The Catechism of the Catholic Church and on and on), I had been enabled at last to come home, to escape finally from a Church in which there was absolutely no means of coming to a mind about anything, a Church which actually requires of its clergy no more than a formal acceptance of the creeds – not as declarations of beliefs held to be actually true, but as what the C of E sanctimoniously calls part of a “heritage of faith”. That is why I was at first so depressed by the hostility in some quarters, even within the Church, to the announcement of Sunday’s beatification. I had thought, in Pope John Paul’s final years, that we had moved beyond all that.

Simply remember. It wasn’t just that he recalled the Church to itself: he showed the power of the faith by his astonishing geopolitical achievement in finally giving the answer to Stalin’s contemptuous question “how many divisions has the pope?” This is how George Weigel summed up this part of his achievement:

In 1978, no one expected that the defining figure of the last quarter of the 20th century would be a Polish priest and bishop. Christianity was finished as a world-shaping force, according to the opinion-leaders of the time; it might endure as a vehicle of personal piety, but Christian conviction would play no role in shaping the 21st-century world. Yet within six months of his election, John Paul II had demonstrated the dramatic capacity of Christian conviction to create a revolution of conscience that, in turn, created a new and powerful form of politics – the politics that eventually led to the revolutions of 1989 and the liberation of Central and Eastern Europe.

We know that he made mistakes: all popes do. But on any reasonable assessment, both in the Church and in the world his achievements were immensely more significant than his errors. His was a flawed greatness, perhaps; but it was greatness, nevertheless.

As I wrote when Sunday’s big event was first announced, however, Pope John Paul is being beatified not because of his greatness but because of his heroic sanctity. 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. And on Sunday, that holiness (undisputed by any who really knew him, and affirmed most clearly by the present Holy Father, who knew him better than most) will be all that we need to remember.

  • Shane

    William, I respectfully disagree. John Paul II inherited a church that had comprehensively razed its own traditions and instead of undertaking a campaign of restoration, the pope substituted a Mao style cult of personality to fill the gap. Indeed for many conservative young people Catholic orthodoxy was synonymous with the very person of the pope. He also did very little to address the sex abuse crisis now destroying the reputation of the Church in the world (eg. his protection of Fr Marciel). To beatify him will cause grave scandal and reconfirm the widely held impression that the Church is not taking the sex abuse scandal seriously. The pope’s glitzy voyages around the world were more appropriate to Beyonce than the successor of an illiterate fisherman. Don’t even get me started on Assisi or the World Youth Days, or the heavy handed treatment of traditionalists under his watch. His tactics were reminscient of Kim Jong II in North Korea.

  • Michel Roi

    I rejoice that you found your way to the Church and for every way in which Pope John Paul II was of help. I was impressed with his evident depth of prayer, intellect and virtue. However, as someone who had grown up in the Church and had been formed in orthodox Catholic teaching from youth, I often found the last holy father confusing and contradictory. There were wonderful documents published by or under him , that reaffirmed traditional teaching (for example The Splendor of Truth). Yet there were also strange actions like giving the pectoral cross to the Archbishop of Canterbury, kissing the Koran, asking St. John the Baptist to “protect Islam” (how about asking the Baptist to intercede for the protection of middle eastern Christians FROM Islam?). As well, I fear his lack of action with regard to the clerical sex scandals (about which he had detailed knowledge) and his refusal to even consider the credible accusations against Marcel Macial, will haunt his memory. As will his apparent lack of action regarding the Vatican Bank scandal and Archbishop Markincus. The liturgies at his public appearances were attrocious and violated the Church’s own norms. One leads not only by word but by example. At the popular level the prayer meetings at Assisi are perceived as an indication that one religion is as good as another, whatever nuanced protestations were made to the contrary.

    For great popes of the last century who stood strong against evil, and gave a witness to catholic faith that left no one wondering or confused, can we really do better than Pius XII (publically thanked by prominent Jews after the war for all he had done for the Jewish people)? Or even the much ignored Benedict XV? Did they not show towering virue in difficult times? Unfortunately (or maybe fortunately) they did not have the constant coverage of mass media. Nor did either have the natural charm and good looks of JP II. I fear the consequences of an image based demand for canonization (for anyone) and believe that it’s best to wait and get historical perspective on the lives and careers of popes and other public figures who would be raised to the dignity of the altar.

  • DBMcGinnity

    I would like you to elaborate on how Pope John Paul II could have done more to sort out the problem the problem of child sexual abuse. Please consider and include in our reply the rules of jurisprudence, rules of evidence, statutes of limitations and several other legal variables pertinent to each individual country, not to mention the financial costs and the length of time it would take to prepare each case.

    The ecclesiastical court does no supersede the law of the country where the alleged offence was committed, and any accused priest or cleric has the right to legal counsel. I am genuinely deeply interested in what you have proposed, and that is why I would like your judgement, thoughts and deliberations on what Pope John Paul II should have done

    I anticipate that you know very little about Kim Jong II in North Korea or Chairman Mao se Tung in China
    certianly not enough to justify such radical and unkind assertions. Are you saying that the Pope has killed people? Please justify you comment with some semblance of reasoning. Thank you!

  • Gamer5323

    The Holy Father, as the original legislator, is bound by none of the norms of the CIC and could promulgate what he wanted, when he wanted.

    The question is, whould the Bishops in a defaction (not de iure) state of schism follow his wishes.

    With a waive of his hand, he could have dictated the Bishops automatically laicize for those accused (never mind their guilt or innocence).

    Would this have changed anything? Probably ot.

    But your questions regarding process etc are so much fluff.

    I used to work at the NCCB in the US, and believe me, they knew about all of it dating from at least the 80′s. Not very much was hidden from the Conference..

    I always wondered why the Keating Commission didn’t dig into the Conference files….

  • Leticia Velasquez

    I was 17 when Pope John Paul II was elected. I was newly in Catholic school after 10 years of suffering persecution for my Catholicism at the hands of “liberal” teachers in public schools in New York.

    I also suffered through the tumultuous “renovation” of the Mass in the Catholic church in the early 1970s. We went, in a matter of months, from Latin hymns sung by a choir with an organ to “Blowing in the Wind” sung by a girl with a guitar. There were Vietnam protesters lighting up cigarettes during the consecration at Mass. My CCD teachers told me there was no heaven and hell. Nuns in my Catholic school taught us how to use birth control, in direct contradiction to Humanae Vitae, which they spurned. I was strife-torn and confused, yet still loved Jesus and his church. I was looking for a Catholic hero, a bastion of moral and intellectual clarity whom I could admire.

    During the Holy Father’s first visit to the United States, in 1979, I saw him in Madison Square Garden. It was there that I found my hero. John Paul electrified us teenagers, as we stood on our seats to cheer him. He told us to “look to Christ for the answers” to all our questions.

    In my 20s, I visited Poland during the Solidarity movement’s heyday, amazed at how John Paul II had energized Poland’s faith.

    Whenever I failed at living up to the church’s high moral standards as a young woman, I always felt Christ, through his emissary, gently calling me home. I never lost faith in him or his church, even during the “me” generation.

    I next was able to see the pope in 1995. I marveled at how far the church and Eastern Europe had come back to freedom and order during his watch.

    Now I miss my dear papa, and can’t wait to see him in heaven.

  • DBMcGinnity

    I do not claim to have the legal expertise in Vatican law or Canon law and that you seem to possess. Perhaps who would be kind enough to speculate as to why Pope John Paul II did not act differently.

    The Holy Father, as the original legislator, like you say, is not bound the norms of the C.I.C. ( what does this mean?) and could have enacted a new statutory or administrative law. Theoretically that is true, but the Pope can no longer do as he pleases with a wave of his hand. Those days are gone for good.
    Maybe these matters could have been dealt with by the laity in the Civil and Criminal courts, but the same rules of jurisprudence and the rules of evidence still apply in any court, in any country

    What does “are so much fluff” mean”? This term in this context is new to me.

  • DBMcGinnity

    “The Labourers are Few”.
    Please do not think me condescending or patronising but what you have written is very touching and very relevant, because many objective, thinking, rational people worldwide think as you do. John Paul II was a good man and did good things, and he refused to live in the past, and in a Byzantine world that has gone forever. Please do not be in any hurry to join “The Blessed” John Paul II in heaven, because there is much work to be done, and “the labourers are few”.

  • Michel Roi

    Shane, I agree with 90% of what you said but must side with DBMcGinnity in saying that the comparison with Kim Jong II was not fair. JP II was no friend of tradition but things could have been much worse. He at least opened a small door with the indult and the approval of Traditionalist orders like the Fraternity of St. Peter.

  • Nandapudo

    THis article should be published on April 1st. :) because it has to be a joke…a bad joke of course! This issue is serious….the generation JPII is completely lost by his bad example!

  • Ratbag

    Perhaps Pope Paul VI should have said ‘stink’ of satan, rather than ‘smoke’.

    Whose fault was it that a stink should have been let off in the first place? Those who took Vatican II like a rugby ball and ran to the wrong touchdown and scored a try for the wrong team.

    And who is still cleaning up the mess? Pope Benedict XVI.

  • AJ

    Shane is this the best form of sarcasm you throw to JPII comparing him to Kim Jong II? Are you even a catholic? Or are you one of those RadTrads?

    Look, let’s cut to the chase. Rad-Trads, at heart, believe that the ills of the Church are all down to the abandonment of the Tridentine Rite as the “Mass for all time.” That’s it. Everything since is just proof that the Tridentine should be made the world standard again.

    Want to get a Rad-Trad going? Mention the words “Mass”, “Liturgy” and “Reverence.” They can ‘bore for their country’ when the buttons are pressed.

    No Pope who accepts the Pauline rite will be seen as worthy in a Rad-Trads eyes. Period. Until, say, Pope Benedict, imposes the Tridentine rite as the Mass for all and does away with the Pauline rite , it matters not what he does in his reign he will always been seen as a liberal. The Rad-Trads, being utterly convinced that the rise of modernism, secularism and over other ‘ism’ going is all down to the submergance of the Tridentine, seek to find flaw in any and all Pope’s who do not force standardisation of the Tridentine.

    Which is why discussion about the flaws of JPII or any other Pope post Vatican II are irrelevant. They are red herrings because, for the Rad-Trad it’s all about the liturgy really. They hold that any Pope that does not restore the Tridentine as the world standard is going to be a hopeless liberal. Conversely, any Pope that did restore the Tridentine, no matter that he beatified Karl Marx, would be lauded as the saviour of the Church.

    Let’s cut through the tape. This is all about proving that the Pauline rite is deficient, indeed, downright demonic. A tool of Satan. The conclusion is known, this is all about (re)-establishing evidence to meet the pre-defined conclusion. “See! See! The Pauline rite has wrecked the Church and we are now led by liberals as a result!”

    Rad-Trads are single issue campaigners which is why defending JPII or any post Vatican II Pope is pointless because it is not really where they are coming from. Catholics are right not to engage with Rad-Trads because they cannot be satisfied on their own terms. Of course, they are not supposed to be satisfied by their own terms but that means changing the terms of the debate from liturgy and ‘reverence’ to more fundemental issues of obedience, humility and faith… which never happens.

    Eventually this discussion will reach the point of “JPII was a liberal who broke with Catholic Tradition and, thus, it’s proof, proof, I say that the smoke of Satan has entered the Church and Satan has brought us the Pauline rite by him and men like him!” The solution will be a return to the Tridentine.

    Been there. Got the T-Shirt and commemorative mug. Attempting to justify JPII now would be like pouring water on a duck.

  • AJ

    To Shane, your sarcasm to Kim Jong II comparing him to the murderous JPII is beyong belief. I wonder why didn’t the Holy Spirit didn’t choose you to lead His Church so we can avoid all this “trash” that you mentioned.

    Was JPII flawed? Yup. So was Peter. Oh, so was St Paul. He still did more WORLDWIDE to push evangelism 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. I had no idea what Catholics really believed until the internet appeared thanks to the Liberal Bishops here in the UK.)

    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.

    Odd that.

  • rodlarocque1931

    This article is way off base. It’s a pretty sad state of affairs for the Church when the only argument they can use to praise JP2 can be summed up as “well it could have been much worse.”
    Has the state of the Church in the western world become so pathetic that as long as the Pope doesn’t outright proclaim heresy, he will beatified?
    Well this seems to be the case. JP2 flirted with hetrodoxy and even blasphemy…and did the bare minimum of internal discipline… this is very clear to the unprejudiced observer.
    Catholicism is in melt-down mode and the Church is raising to the altars the one that could have solved the problems. The devil is having a major party right now.

  • AJ

    Nandapudo, could you enlighten us on your assertion that JPII’s generation is lost and alleged bad examples? Are you a RadTrad? Or even a Catholic? Please fill us in.

    It is rude to put accussation without bringing substantial evidence, don’t you know that, sir?

  • Justin Wong

    What generation? The new generation of young orthodox priests and thinkers that are known throughout the Church as the JP2 generation?

    Remember it was the generation brought up in the reigns of Pius XI and Pius XII who turned against Sacred Tradition and caused the chaos and havoc seen in the Church following the Second Vatican Council, and it is the JP2 and Benedictine generation who are re-building the barque of St Peter again.

  • Justin Wong

    JP2 and Benedict began the fightback. JP2 laid the foundations by which our present Holy Father, a truly great Pope – greater than JP2 – could begin his teaching and discourse.

    Much as I respect Pius XII, it was the generation that came to adulthood in his papacy that misinterpreted Vatican II and are responsible for the so-called alternative magisterium.

    Blessed John Paul II, pray for us.

  • Justin Wong

    Many Catholic commentators seem to believe that the Beatification of John Paul II is merely a political statement.

    The raising up to the altars is a THEOLOGICAL statement of the whole Church and as such the faithful are required to ASSENT to the judgment of the Church that this man displayed heroic virtues. As the present Holy Father said, “it is important to recognise dissent for what it is….”

    JP2, pray for us.

  • Fr Benjamin

    It is truly amazing how many times in history the “leaders of the world” announced that the Catholic Church could not possibly recover from the beating it had just received, only to watch as the Church emerged not only alive, but renewed and strenthened. It is not quite true to see Pope John Paul II as the author or the leader of this recovery, and the evidence of his flaws and faults only emphasizes this point – he was great, but not great enough to be the source of the remarkable recovery of the Catholic Church.

  • Jackie Parkes

    Wonderful post William..thankyou!

  • Peter

    The smoke of Satan still exists within the Church, in the form of liturgical abuse during the Eucharistic Celebration.

  • Paullikoudis

    William Oddie: Thank you. Your are 100% correct.

    In 100 years, JPII will be seen as another St. Augustine, architect of a new Catholic civilization. Just as Augustine gave a blueprint for the development of a Christian civilization, so did JP II.

  • Weary Convert

    “Küng, Schillebeeckx and the rest of their malign brood.” Oh dear Mr Oddie, what a nasty streak you have; what a loathing you have for some of the most intelligent members of the Church that you so belatedly joined, only to find it was not what you expected. These “malign” men will long be remembered for their contribution towards the creation of a hopeful Church when the collection of dismal, backward-looking Ultras to whom you pander have become a small, comic footnote in history books. Pope John Paul was indeed a generally good man but for years and years he let the horrors of clerical child abuse carry on while, like the Priest and the Levite, he looked the other way. No wonder he abolished the Devil’s Advocate – a bit too close to home. Beatifiy him by all means – it is a basically political gesture – but do not call these men and their contribution to the future of the Church “malign” without at least reflecting on what, if anything, people like you and your fans have contributed to the real Church, i.e. the people who meet Sunday by Sunday, understand English but have no interest in dead Latin, who support and love not only their own Church and its Priests but also their non-Catholic friends, neighbours and families, and never nit-pick whether this Mass or that is “valid” according to the resurrected views of long-dead, theologians. A living Church does not need such distractions and a man in your position of possible influence should realise this.

  • Chris L.

    “Much as I respect Pius XII, it was the generation that came to adulthood in his papacy that misinterpreted Vatican II and are responsible for the so-called alternative magisterium.”

    Wasn’t JPII formed under Pius XII? Why, yes. Yes, he was.

  • Anonymous

    “his re-establishment of the simple fact of the Church’s authority to declare the objective truth of Catholic doctrine (Veritatis Splendor, The Catechism of the Catholic Church and on and on)” The idea that you can wind the clock back to the 1950′s/early 1960′s is absurd and in any case morality cannot, in the 21 century, be based on an appeal to authority.

  • A6

    JP II hushed up the rape and abuse of children and facilitated its continuance. It is clear why he would be revered by the Church.

  • AJ

    Hello Peter, since you put some serious charges may I ask you dear brother to put forth some substantial written trustworthy and verifiable evidence that CLEARLY and explicitly say the “smoke” of satan in the Church is in the form of liturgal abuse?

    If by chance your so called “evidence” is from a hearsay, gossip or just plain opinions of men and thus have NO bearing and NO Authority whatsoever, then I must say forget about it.

    Why listen to them n the first place?

    2 Pet 1:20, “First of all, you must understand this: No prophecy in Scripture is a matter of one’s own interpretation”.

    Who is the proper Authority?Look in Matthew 16:19; Jn 21:15-17;Acts 5:3; 2 Peter 3:16

  • Brotherrolf

    Unfortunately, John Paul II kissed the book that denies Christ is God, the Koran.

  • Kennyinliverpool

    Yes! The response to the abuse of minors has been questionable. The church is meant to be persecuted and have a hard time – but for following Christ, not for breaking the law! It is sad, and not a liberal or conservative issue, just very depressing for all concerned. Hopefully lessons have been learnt and it won’t happen again?
    But a abuse scandal still seems to be simmering away. Hopefully Bene will sort it out? Or he is also a bit tarnished by the scandal? Not sure, but it makes Catholicism look ridiculous, even if you accept the doctrinal stuff.

  • Kennyinliverpool


  • Kennyinliverpool

    Converts from Anglicanism are ALWAYS the worst sort of Catholic…. lol

  • Weary Convert

    I know you have addressed your question to someone else but surely the first step should have been for Pope John Paul to insist that all records – in dioceses and the Vatican itself – that bear upon the scandal are made fully available to the criminal authorities. Instead, dioceses, in America and Ireland in particular, have employed lawyer after lawyer to cause endless delays in the hope that the secrets are kept hidden, the criminous clerics are not called to account and they can hang on to their money for just a little longer. As for the Vatican, as was seen in Ireland, the senior clerics have demonstrated that they are more interested in keeping their Ruritanian diplomatic status rather than the Nuncio assisting the enquiries. And in Ireland what else has happened? An ambiguous letter from Pope Benedict, assorted apologies, some money made available to the sufferers (but mostly by the now near bankrupt state) and a commission of Cardinals sent to investigate including one – Cardinal Murphy-O’Connor – who was himself implicated in just such a scandal, but got away with it. I think that even now opening the files would be a start, even if so belated.

  • Michel Roi

    Sorry Justin but beatification is NOT infallible. The common teaching is that canonization is infallible at least to the extent of certifying that the person canonized is in Heaven. Also, judgement is not teaching. Finally, many of us do not dispute that JP II was a man of sanctity. I will always remember the impact meeting him made on me and that his example of prayer, cherrfulness and kindess had on my own life. What many of us question is his governance of the Church. A pope’s governance is not covered by the charism of infallibility. Catholics have a right and duty to discern over time what the legacy of a given pope has meant to the Church.

  • Peter

    My evidence is from experiencing liturgical abuse at first hand, in the form of abuse of the homily where laypersons give it, in the form of abuse of the eucharistic prayer, either not properly spoken or joined in with by the congregation, and in the form of general abuse of the liturgy throughout Mass by improvised deviations from the liturgical text.

  • Peter

    Perhaps it was a recognition of the fact that without Islam, the Roman Catholic Church would not be the major global centralised religious force that she is today.

    In the seventh century, Persian Nestorianism in Asia was numerically far greater than Latin and Byzanytine Christianity combined. Although the Muslim invasion of Persia did not put an end to Nestorianism, it did slow down the expansion in Asia of a “Christian” religion which could have otherwise dominated the globe at the expense of Rome.

    In roughly the same period, Antioch, Alexandria and Jerusalem were centres of Monophysite and Monothelite controversy which threatened the unity of orthodox Christianity. These threats, although not entirely eliminated, were greatly diminished by the Muslim invasion which caused these major Partriarchates to lose their hitherto considerable influence in the Christian world. Rome and Constantinople effectively remained as the only two major Partriarchates in Christendom, until the latter was conquered by Islam seven centuries later, leaving Rome to mount her global expansion alone.

  • Vivian

    Pope John Paul 11 was a true Yogi.Electric power flowed through his veins, as anyone who shook his hand felt. His holiness radiated from as seen by the people wherever he went as he crisscrossed the globe.God in heaven had placed him as His representative on the throne of Peter and John Paul 11 truly played his role as ordained.

    We his people, now pray that Pope John Paul 11 assist the Church find the answers to the sickness of the Western world and the radicalism of the muslim world, both of whom are doing what the communists had earlier set out to do and failed.
    God be praised in such holy men.

  • AJ

    I symphatized with you, yes we admit there are some clergy who abused the liturgy for their own agenda as some other forms of abuses in any form in any government, church and organizations.

    However you have to clearly differentiate “personal sins” of men that doesn’t have anything to do with VaticanII or any Catholic teaching. Whether the guy disagree or being disobedient to a particular Church doctrine the doctrine is still True. So as when a priest disagree or abuse a Church Teaching on Liturgy it doesn’t necessarily follows the Teaching of the Church about Liturgy (say Novus Ordo Mass) is the cause of the abuse. Do you get me?

    Anyways, you still haven’t answered the question and what you put as “evidence” to support your charges was just from your experience…not an evidence, everybody can complaint even how legit. What I’m asking for is, WHERE is the written document either from Patristic Fathers or Bible or any truthful sources, that say the “smoke” of satan is IN the form of liturgical abuse?

  • Dr. Wolfgang Munster Schnoozle

    It is regrettable the damage done to Christianity by the Roman Catholics could not be undone by one good man. Perhaps Benedict will go the extra mile and undo forever the Romans unfounded and slanderous claims to be the universal successor to St Peter and G+ds equivalence on earth.

  • Oconnor17

    Many of the discussions here put me in mind of children arguing if they have to put out cookies or milk or porridge for Santa. But then, cow’s milk or goat’s. Choc chip or hazelnut. Salt or sugar in the porridge?

    Never trying to find out does Santa really exist. And if he does are his rules of good and bad worthy?

  • Lee

    Kung, Schillenbeckx and the rest of the malign board were exactly the that. Hast thou read any of their ‘nouvelle theologie’ ( as in ‘novel’). It is hideous and noxious to the Catholic faith. One example is the whole idea that ecunemism is a priority of the church in the sense that Rome must water down and accept others and that Rome needs to learn of heretics. It’s a simplification but is along the lines of the ‘maligned’ bunch of pseudo- theologians !

  • David Armitage

    Beatification and canonisation are recognition. All this hocus pocus, digging up his coffin, poking around a nun’s medical hirstory, is distasteful. Oscar Romero is, was, a saint. The church of El Salvador recognised this, even if he didn’t match Vatican criteria. I don’t much mind. There are many others. John-Paul 2 was repellant in much of what he did and said, even though he proved an inspiration to many. So much the better. I watched the beatification ceremony. Serried ranks of smug hierarchs in siily hats and fancy dress didn’t inspire me. Nor did Benedict, benignly smiling on his throne. Paradoxically, I find the Brits, unashamedly triumphant, do this nuch better.

  • Justin

    Well Michel – the Pope said that todays Beatification was the will of God. Go dispute with Pope Benedict and protest his decision all you like (there’s a name for that group..we call them protestants). I stand with Peter and trust the promises made by Christ at Caesarea Philippi.

  • Justin

    And according to the commentators on this post he was as bad as Kim Jong Il (in contrast to the divine Pius XII). By their fruits you shall know them and all.

    I’m not suggesting that Pope Pius XII was a bad pope at all. Just that the generation formed under him resulted in the disastrous Vatican II, while the generation formed under JPII and Benedict XVI are the people restoring the Catholic religion.

  • Justin

    Really??? Have you read the Gospels. Oh wait I forgot…Heythrop. Clearly not then. Back to Dawkins, Hitchens, et al for you.

    The rest of us can go on reading Matthew, Mark, Luke, John and the Pauline epistles.

  • Justin

    William said it and I’ll say it again – Kung, Schillebeckx and the rest of their malign brood.

    Long live the Pope, his praises sound, again and yet again, his rule is over space and time, his throne the hearts of men. Long Live the Shepherd King of Rome.

  • Michel Roi

    There has been no guaranteed inspiration since the death of the last apostle. That’s Church teaching and is contained in the recent catechism promulgated by JP II and Benedict.

    Catholic Theology distinguishes two aspects of God’s will: that which He wills directly; and that which He chooses to permit. The Holy Father could have spoken about God’s will in terms of the second aspect. He could also speak of it piously and sincerely in the first, but that would be his judgement, and in catholic theology judgement is not teaching. Good heavens, the pope is not an oracle like those found in pagan religions. He is THE GUARDIAN of the deposit of faith (which again, came to an end at the death of the last apostle), and has the protection of the Holy Spirit to not bind the Church to error when teaching, in a definitive and final manner, some matter of faith and morals related to that deposit (“In the Catholic Church, doctrines are not believed because they are defined, they are defined because they are already believed.`Blessed Cardinal Newman).

    Beatification is not infallible. That`s Church teaching. This teaching was not changed by Benedict at today`s beatification. I have been a Catholic since my baptism as an infant and assent to all the Church`s teaching on faith and morals. I have degrees in theology and psychology and work for the Church I am the friend of both priests and bishops and can tell you, I know the faith. So let`s not be too quick to throw the term `protestant`around. It seems that many catholics either bow to a kind of exagerated infallibilism or dismiss what they don`t like on the basis of secular and `liberal`ideas. Surely in the broad centre between these extremes is authentic Catholicism and sanity.

  • Michel Roi

    `He rules over space and time` Are we talking about the Pope or God. The centre of our faith is a man named Jesus Christ, a man who is also God. He is Lord of lords and King of kings. HE rules over space and time and the Pope, St. Peter`s succesor, is His chief vicar on Earth. Respect and due obedience to the Pope, by all means, but let praises resound to the God the Pope serves and let God reign in men`s hearts.


  • Michel Roi

    It was certain members of that generation. Incuding men who had been under suspicion during the reign of Pius XII and who were then invited to work as periti during and after the council.

    I am very impressed with many of the JP II generation“ and know some who have become fine priests and sisters. But there really were a lot of people from the `Pius XI and XII generation who never abandoned the faith or tradition.

  • Jamie MacNab

    I have long believed that, to enter Heaven, one must have been forgiven one’s sins ; and, to merit such forgiveness, one must, oneself, have forgiven all sins. It’s interesting to ponder on the future we desire ; and perhaps even more interesting to try to make our journey to that future a little easier.

    So, is John Paul II to be forgiven? or not? If forgiven, then when? If forgiven in fifty years, or in five-hundred years, it will make no difference to what he actually did in his life. And it is no good merely making excuses for his supposed failings, for that evades the crucial test.

  • Justin

    The Pope is God’s representative on Earth. Vicar of Christ and all that.

  • Justin

    Beatification may not be an infallible statement but it sure is AUTHORITATIVE. Humane Vitae is not infallible but it is authoritative. Both demand our obedience.

    You may consider yourself a friend of the Catholic Church, but I am actually a member of the Catholic Church and I do not consider your statements to be friendly to the Church of God divinely ordained. No matter, you can continue your false gospel for it is promised in Micah, that the Church will triumph over her enemies.