Okay, full disclosure…The editors asked us to write nice, long pieces on Pope John Paul II. That should be obvious when you look at all the awesome features gathered here.
So, I got nervous and all my brain could come up with was, “uhhh…do a top ten list or something.” I thought about pulling out my old philosophy notes and diving into Aquinas and personalism. That lasted about 5 minutes. How do you even write about the most important figure of the 20th century? I’ll save my incoherent manifesto on JPII for another day. Maybe I’ll have it done for his canonization. Who knows.
So, these are my top 10 moments. They might not be yours. They’re probably not. That’s okay. Feel free to post some of yours in the Comments section, if you like.
TOP TEN MOMENTS OF BLESSED POPE JOHN PAUL II:
10. The episcopal consecration of Raymond Leo Burke, a man not afraid to speak the truth and defend life. He articulates better than anyone how to be a Catholic in public life. God willing, this holy man will assist the Church for years to come.
9. Pope John Paul II praying at the Wailing Wall in Jerusalem. He places this prayer into the Wall:
“God of our fathers,
You chose Abraham and his descendants
to bring your Name to the Nations:
we are deeply saddened
by the behaviour of those
who in the course of history
have caused these children of yours to suffer,
and asking your forgiveness
we wish to commit ourselves to
with the people of the Covenant.”
Jerusalem 26, March 2000
- John Paul II
8. Legend has it that the new Holy Father was signing a document for the first time in the presence of the famous Vatican Latinist, Fr. Reginald Foster (commonly known as “Reggie”). Upon seeing the signature, Fr. Reggie observed, “Your Holiness, there’s no ‘J’ in Latin.” To which the Holy Father simply replied, “Quod scripsi, scripsi.”
7. The appointment of Joseph Ratzinger as the Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. He promotes the most gentle and lovable Rottweiler around, setting up the pontiff of the future.
6. Delivers a major league smackdown to proportionalist theologians by issuing Veritatis Splendor. It doesn’t matter if you use it to justify abortion, contraception, homosexual acts or Hiroshima, proportionalism is officially nuked.
Memo to Frs. McBrien, Curran, etc: The debate ended in 1993. You lost.
5. Under the watchful eye of communist officials, Pope John Paul II called on the people of Poland to witness to their Faith. And they responded, “We want God! We want God!” And the grip of communism began to be undone in the strangest way by a humble servant of the Lord.
4. The Holy Father meets with Mehmet Ali Agca, the man who tried to kill him.
Is there a better modern sign of Christian love and forgiveness?
3. “Above all, the common outcry, which is justly made on behalf of human rights-for example, the right to health, to home, to work, to family, to culture- is false and illusory if the right to life, the most basic and fundamental right and the condition for all other personal rights, is not defended with maximum determination.” – Christifideles Laici.
Yes, he’s talking to you Nancy Pelosi, and your friends who vigorously defend baby-killing. All your policy positions – war, taxes, healthcare – are falsehoods, deceptions, meaningless. Nothing you say can be trusted because you fail to defend the weakest among us.
2. Woooooo…The Pope meets with young people in Madison Square Garden.
Does it get any better? It gets really good from :32 seconds on.
1. “Do not be afraid. Open wide the doors for Christ. To his saving power open the boundaries of States, economic and political systems, the vast fields of culture, civilization and development. Do not be afraid. Christ knows ‘what is in man’. He alone knows it.”
Wow. Unpack that statement.
The new Holy Father, John Paul II, packs more into 45 words than pretty much anyone ever. And if that wasn’t enough, he then spends the next 26 years living it. Everyday.
Blessed Pope John Paul II, pray for us.