Cleansing Fire

Defending Truth and Tradition in the Roman Catholic Church

Be Not Afraid

August 27th, 2010, Promulgated by Nerina

This is probably the most often associated Scripture passage with our late Holy Father John Paul II.  I know it has brought me comfort many times and it defined so much of his papacy.

I found this lengthy, but fascinating article about JPII’s contribution in changing the political world during his pontificate over at  The author, Robert Reilly, goes to great lengths to develop a fuller picture of the influences upon the pope and explain why he so often appeared as a political contradiction.  He personally opposed the death penalty but never said that capital punishment went against Church doctrine.  He refused to visit South Africa during the reign of apartheid, but went to Cuba where Christmas celebrations are prohibited.  He applauded the U.S. for it’s efforts in WWII, but warned about “totalitarian” democracy.  In short, our late Holy Father “was not a politician,” Mr. Reilly writes, but a “metaphysician and more.”

My favorite paragraph:

What, finally, enabled this man to do what he did? No conventional explanation suffices. There is an illustrative episode from his last months that hints at an answer. This was, recall, a period when the focus was on the pope’s suffering and when, one would think, he would be consumed by it. One of his closest senior aides was looking for the pope in his apartments. Not finding him, he went into the private chapel. There he found the pope in his altar chair, with his arms around the tabernacle, singing in Polish. The aide fled. Later in the afternoon, he asked John Paul II what he had been doing in the chapel. The pope responded that he had been singing a song his mother used to sing to him when he was sad as a boy, and that he had been comforting our Lord.

I know that some people have mixed emotions about this man.  They wonder how he could not have known the magnitude of the abuse scandals.  They wonder how corruption could go uncorrected under his watch.  I certainly have no answers, but I know he was the instrument of so much good.   I beg his intercession for the Church.  John Paul II, pray for us.

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