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A John Paul II Beatification Catechism
National Review ^ | 4/23/2011 | George Weigel

Posted on 04/23/2011 6:16:25 AM PDT by Servant of the Cross

1. Has the beatification of John Paul II been a rush job, as some have charged?

No one said that the beatification of Mother Teresa was rushed, despite the calumnies against her work and reputation promoted by Christopher Hitchens. This process hasn’t been “rushed” either. The only procedural exception Pope Benedict XVI made was the same exception John Paul II made for Mother Teresa: He allowed the investigation to begin without the normal five-year waiting period.

The investigative process produced a massive, four-volume study that offers far more detail into the life and accomplishments of Karol Wojtyła, Pope John Paul II, than the American electorate was offered about the life and accomplishments of Barack Obama, or the British electorate was offered about the lives and accomplishments of David Cameron and Nick Clegg. The people complaining about a “rush” are typically “progressive” Catholics who never had much use for John Paul II because he didn’t turn Catholicism into another liberal Protestant denomination; or ultra-traditionalists who lament the fact that he didn’t restore the French monarchy, impose the Tridentine Mass in Latin on the entire Church, and burn dozens of German theologians in the Campo dei Fiori; or ill-informed journalists who can’t stop playing “gotcha” with the Catholic Church. Their criticisms are not taken seriously by serious people.

And in any case, the people of the Church spoke on April 8, 2005, with their chants of Santo subito! (“A saint now!”). The official judgment of the Church is now catching up with that spontaneous popular acclamation. It’s rather ironic to see people who are usually clamoring for “more democracy” in the Catholic Church complaining in this case about the verdict of the Church’s people.

2. How did the beatification process assess John Paul II’s life? How does his record as pope bear on that assessment?

The purpose of this beatification process, as with any such process, was to determine whether the life under study was one of heroic virtue. Over 100 formal witnesses were consulted and the four-volume study includes their testimonies, as well as a biography of the late pope and an examination of what were termed “special questions” — issues that arose during the beatification process itself, such as the charge (likely planted by former Stasi operatives) that young Karol Wojtyla had been involved in the assassination of two Gestapo agents during World War II. The charge was ridiculous, and it was refuted.

Evidently, the overwhelming judgment of those responsible, including Pope Benedict XVI, was that this was indeed a life of heroic virtue. I think that judgment is correct. It doesn’t mean that, as pope, John Paul II got everything right. No pope does. The question is whether he made his decisions prudently, according to his best judgment, and without fear or favor. In The End and the Beginning, the second volume of my biography of John Paul II, I explored that question over some 90 pages. My judgment is that John Paul consistently used his best judgment, without fear or favor, even in decisions I think he got wrong.

3. What were the chief qualities of John Paul II? What were his principal faults?

John Paul II’s radical Christian discipleship, and his remarkable capacity to let that commitment shine through his words and actions, made Christianity interesting and compelling in a world that thought it had outgrown its “need” for religious faith. He was a man of extraordinary courage, the kind of courage that comes from a faith forged in reflection on Calvary and the murder of the Son of God. He demonstrated, against the cultural conventions of his time, that young people want to be challenged to live lives of heroism. He lifted up the dignity of the human person at a moment when the West was tempted to traipse blithely down the path to Huxley’s brave new world of manufactured and stunted humanity. And he proclaimed the universality of human rights in a way that helped bring down the greatest tyranny in human history.

He was, like many saintly people, too patient with the faults of others. His distaste for making a spectacle of anyone, and his willingness to give people a second, third, and fourth chance, were admirable human qualities that arguably worked against the efficiency of his governance.

4. Has the Church been making too many saints since John Paul II changed the process?

First of all, the Church doesn’t “make saints”; God makes saints, and the Church recognizes the saints that God has made.

Second, I don’t quite understand how there could be “too many saints,” since sanctity is what the Church is in the business of fostering.

John Paul II was convinced that God is profligate in making saints, and that the Church should recognize that. The world always needs examples of men and women who have lived their lives nobly, courageously, generously. The world especially needs such witnesses today, when a thick fog of cynicism hangs over the West. What’s wrong with lifting up such lives and celebrating the grace of God that makes such saintly people possible?

5. Is Pope Benedict XVI beatifying John Paul II as a way of vindicating his own record as John Paul’s successor?

No, he isn’t. Benedict XVI has, after all, done some things differently, although there has been an essential continuity of teaching. But that was to be expected, as both John Paul II and Benedict XVI are teaching the faith of the Church, not their own opinions.

I think Benedict XVI was wise not to accede to requests for an immediate and virtually spontaneous beatification or canonization; I also think he was wise to waive the normal five-year waiting period for the process to begin. He worked with John Paul II for more than two decades, and he knows the qualities of sanctity that John Paul II exemplified.

6. What about John Paul II and the sexual-abuse scandal? Does the fact that this broke into public view during John Paul II’s pontificate raise serious questions about his heroic virtue?

In 1978, when Karol Wojtyla was elected pope, the Catholic priesthood was in terrible shape: More than 45,000 men had left the active ministry, in the greatest wave of defections since the 16th century, and seminaries were, in more than a few cases, zoos. Over the next twenty-six and a half years, John Paul II became one of the great papal reformers of the priesthood, and in several ways.

First, he was the greatest vocations director in history, inspiring tens of thousands of young men to give their lives to Christ and the Church through the demanding vocation of the priesthood, in an exercise of the priesthood’s unique form of spiritual paternity. The priests whose vocations he inspired are very unlikely to be the kind of men who would abuse anyone.

Second, John Paul II recovered the essential idea of the priesthood in the Catholic Church, which has long believed, but had begun to forget, that the priesthood is a matter of iconography rather than functionality: According to the Church’s understanding, Catholic priests are men who act in persona Christi (“in the person of Christ”), making the power of the incarnate Word of God present through their preaching, making the body and blood of the Lord present through the Eucharist, and making the mercy of Christ present through the sacrament of Penance. In recovering this idea of the priesthood as a sacred vocation, rather than a bureaucratic career, John Paul II gave heart to priests who may have begun to flag in their commitments, as he did by writing an annual letter to priests every Holy Thursday and by inviting the priests of the world to share with him his 80th birthday in 2000.

Third, seminaries today are in far, far better shape than they were in 1978, thanks in no small part to John Paul II’s 1992 document on seminary reform, Pastores Dabo Vobis (“I Will Give You Shepherds”).

That is the proper historical context in which to evaluate John Paul II’s pontificate with regard to the priesthood. Now, having said that, it is also true that, as I wrote in the 2002 book The Courage to Be Catholic and more recently in The End and the Beginning, John Paul II and the Roman Curia were four months behind the information curve during the 2002 crisis in the United States, thanks to a remarkably inept performance by the Vatican nunciature in Washington. This allowed critics to promote the image of an uncaring pope, on which a lot of the media and the usual opponents of John Paul’s pontificate have been gnawing ever since for a variety of reasons. Yet the fact remains that when the pope finally knew, in April 2002, what he should have known in January 2002 (when the Boston crisis first broke), he took decisive action and made clear, as he put it to the American cardinals that month, that “there is no place in the priesthood for those who would harm the young.”

7. What are we to make of John Paul II and the sordid case of Father Marcial Maciel, founder of the Legionaries of Christ, a man whom the late pope supported and who turned out to have been a pathological personality?

As I wrote in The End and the Beginning, John Paul II was clearly deceived by Maciel, who was a master deceiver. The relevant questions here, in terms of John Paul II’s beatification and its judgment that he lived a life of heroic virtue, are whether John Paul II’s failure to see through Maciel’s deceptions was willful (i.e., he knew about Maciel’s perfidies and did nothing about the situation), or venal (i.e., he was “bought” by Maciel), or malicious (i.e., he knew that Maciel was a sociopathic fraud and didn’t care). There isn’t a shred of evidence that would sustain a positive answer to any of those questions. To even think that such could be the case is to utterly miss the character of the late pope.

To focus so much attention on Maciel at the time of John Paul II’s beatification, as if his case offered a privileged window into a 26-year pontificate that changed the history of the Church and the world, is rather like obsessing on the disastrous raid on Dieppe and the bombing of Dresden at Winston Churchill’s funeral. It’s grotesquely disproportionate, from any serious historical point of view.

— George Weigel is Distinguished Senior Fellow of Washington’s Ethics and Public Policy Center, where he holds the William E. Simon Chair in Catholic Studies. His two-volume biography of John Paul II comprises Witness to Hope (Harper Collins, 1999) and The End and the Beginning (Doubleday, 2010).

TOPICS: Catholic; Current Events; Religion & Culture
KEYWORDS: beatification; catechism; johnpaulii

1 posted on 04/23/2011 6:16:28 AM PDT by Servant of the Cross
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To: Servant of the Cross

2 posted on 04/23/2011 6:49:57 AM PDT by Servant of the Cross (the Truth will set you free!)
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To: Servant of the Cross

Just another reaction by the Blind Hierarchy who absolve JPII of his Inaction in th e Child abuse cases.
During his 25 years at the top of the Church , he allowed the Perverts to continue to destroy the youngest and most
vulnerable of the catholic Church.
Same goes for Bene XVI who llso was in denial during that period.Not with standing the Roman Catholic is still flooded with admitted Homosexuals.
Bene XVI wonders why the faith of the people has weakened???

3 posted on 04/23/2011 6:59:43 AM PDT by chatham
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To: chatham
Weigel answers this argument:

He was, like many saintly people, too patient with the faults of others. His distaste for making a spectacle of anyone, and his willingness to give people a second, third, and fourth chance, were admirable human qualities that arguably worked against the efficiency of his governance."

Ask yourself ... are you 'casting the first stone'?

4 posted on 04/23/2011 7:17:46 AM PDT by Servant of the Cross (the Truth will set you free!)
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To: Servant of the Cross; netmilsmom; thefrankbaum; Tax-chick; GregB; saradippity; Berlin_Freeper; ...

Count on EWTN Global Catholic Network for complete coverage of events surrounding the beatification of the late Pope John Paul II, whom many Catholics have called a saint, albeit unofficially, since his funeral. EWTN News Director Raymond Arroyo, who has covered more papal events than anyone in the business, will anchor EWTN's coverage – from the Vigil to the Beatification to the Mass of Thanksgiving. From this page, you can watch our coverage, read about the beatification process and the miracle attributed to the late Pope, and be inspired by his writings and his life. We love you, JPII!

Coverage Schedules

Vigil in Honor of the Beatification of Pope John Paul II
Sat. April 30 at 1:30 PM ET (Live) & 8 PM ET
Live from the Circus Maximus, a vigil organised by the diocese of Rome which had the Venerable Servant of God as its bishop. The vigil will be led by Cardinal Agostino Vallini, His Holiness' vicar general for the diocese of Rome, while the Holy Father Benedict XVI will be spiritually present through a video linkup.
Beatification of Pope John Paul II
Sun. May 1 at 2:30 AM ET (Live) & 8 PM ET, Mon. May 2 at 1 PM ET, Sat. May 7 at 4 PM ET
Pope Benedict XVI presides at the Rite of Beatification for Pope John Paul II from St. Peter's Square. EWTN news anchor Raymond Arroyo hosts special live coverage of this historic event.
Mass of Thanksgiving in Honor of the Beatification
of Pope John Paul II
Mon. May 2 at 4:30 AM ET (Live) & 5:30 PM ET
A Mass of thanksgiving from St. Peter's Square, presided by Cardinal Secretary of State Tarcisio Bertone S.D.B.
Other Programming
John Paul II: Be Not Afraid
Sat. April 30 at 11 AM ET
This exciting animated feature looks at the life of John Paul II from his youth up through his election as Pope.
25 Years With The Pope
Sat. April 30 at 1 PM ET
Documentary of youth at Papal audiences.
John Paul II and The Sick: The Value of Suffering
Sat. April 30 at 11:30 PM ET
In this program, we journey with Pope John Paul II around the world as he reaches out with the love of Christ to the sick and suffering. The Pope calls us all to do the same, just as Jesus did.
The Young John Paul II - Witness To Evil
Sun. May 1 at 1 AM ET
With insights from childhood friends, historians, and biographers, this docu-drama explores the young adult years of Pope John Paul II focusing on his experiences during World War II.
Pope John Paul II: In The Heart of History
Sun. May 1 at 2 PM ET
John Paul II is an extraordinary man who has deeply touched the lives of many during his Pontificate. The program shows us the many ways that he has spread the Gospel of Our Lord throughout the world.

5 posted on 04/23/2011 12:31:52 PM PDT by NYer ("Be kind to every person you meet. For every person is fighting a great battle." St. Ephraim)
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To: NYer

Awesome post! Thank you for adding this to the thread. Easter blessings to you! He is risen!

6 posted on 04/23/2011 12:38:37 PM PDT by Servant of the Cross (the Truth will set you free!)
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To: Servant of the Cross
Easter blessings to you! He is risen!

Truly Risen!

7 posted on 04/23/2011 1:16:44 PM PDT by NYer ("Be kind to every person you meet. For every person is fighting a great battle." St. Ephraim)
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To: NYer; Servant of the Cross

I am nothing but happy about the beatification of Pope John Paul. The celebration we had planned at our parish ran into an overscheduling-of-limited-facilities snafu, but my family will be going to a do at St. Matthews, “The Big Place,” 22,000 parishioners or something, because the substitute musicians can do the Spanish service at St. Luke’s.

Pope John Paul died on our Elen’s birthday that year, and she’s considering John Paul for her confirmation patron (or Joan of Arc). Anoreth set the precedent by choosing ST. Peter. “What?” says Bishop Emeritus Curlin. “Peter!” says Anoreth, in my red floral-print Pentecost frock, very firmly.

8 posted on 04/23/2011 1:31:06 PM PDT by Tax-chick (Tornado relief:
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To: Servant of the Cross

I don’t profess to be a saint.

9 posted on 04/23/2011 2:01:50 PM PDT by chatham
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To: chatham
With that strawman, do you mean to infer that the late Pope John Paul II is doing so, for himself?

And, whether professing to be a saint or not, you are throwing stones.

10 posted on 04/23/2011 2:08:59 PM PDT by Servant of the Cross (the Truth will set you free!)
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To: Tax-chick; Servant of the Cross; Salvation; Lorica
Pope John Paul died on our Elen’s birthday that year, and she’s considering John Paul for her confirmation patron ...

How about "Karol"? JPII's true name was: Karol Wojtyla. That might work quite well.

An amusing story about Confirmation that I know you can appreciate. My daughter was enrolled in Catholic School beginning with grade K. Here in the RC Diocese of Albany, the Sacrament of Confirmation is 'optional'. It is administered to students in Grade 11 ... should they so choose.

In 2nd grade, my daughter wrote a report on St. Lucy. Having read about her life, she chose St. Lucy to be her patron saint at Confirmation. And, she stuck with it over the ensuing years. She left Catholic school at the end of 6th grade, at which time I enrolled her in religious education at our local parish. Shortly before classes began in 11th grade, the pastor asked me to teach one of the confirmation groups - there were 4 - and assured me that my daughter would not be in that class. Humbled by the request, I accepted. My daughter, on the other hand, was embarrassed at the idea and refused to complete this final year of classes.

I was between a rock and a hard place. As a catholic and person of commitment, I could not renege on that commitment. As a mother who had brought her child this far in her faith formation, I was devastated at her decision. That is when, for the first time in my life, I began to pray the rosary. My daughter would not budge, nor would I. I worked with my students and insisted they select names of saints (even recommending a web site where they could research a detailed library of saints, not commonly recognized). On the eve of their Confirmation, an electrical storm struck, knocking out power to the church. Despite the absence of interior lights, the bishop administered the sacrament to my students. My prayers of thanksgiving for these students were answered but the absence of my own daughter left a gaping hole in my heart and I continued to pray for her.

When Autumn rolled around and my daughter entered 12th grade, the pastor, recognizing that so many of these kids had outside jobs and after school activities, decided to shorten the program from one year to 6 weeks. I challenged my daughter to "finish the race". She finally acceded. As the day for her confirmation approached, I asked her if she still intended to take the name of Lucy. She said "no" but would not reveal the name she had chosen. I eventually coaxed it out of my mother and interiorly laughed. My daughter, enamored with a character in a popular movie that year, chose that name; hence her embarrassment. I never let on that I knew the name.

Since the program ran only 6 weeks, the only time the bishop could come was in the evening. That night, there was both a full moon and a lunar eclipse, rendering the moon red ... the color associated with the Holy Spirit. The candidates gathered in the church, along with their sponsors and families. When it was time for my daughter, she knelt before Bishop Hubbard who called out her name Trinity and complimented her on the selection. I smiled from ear to ear. She thought she was pulling the wool over my eyes but God had the last laugh.

Afterwards, as we celebrated in a local restaurant, I asked my daughter if she understood the significance of the name she had chosen. Not surprisingly, she nodded her head "no". I then congratulated her. Not only is she named for Christ and St. Francis of Assisi, in choosing to be rebellious, God, in His mercy, had now blessed her with the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. A red moon rose in the sky, then darkened by the passing of the sun, to reemerge whole once again - much like my daughter.

I thank our Blessed Mother who responded to the prayers of the rosary!

11 posted on 04/23/2011 2:31:59 PM PDT by NYer ("Be kind to every person you meet. For every person is fighting a great battle." St. Ephraim)
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To: NYer

None of my children has *yet* taken a stand against the Faith we’re teaching them, but I recognize that’s a possibility. I was confirmed in the Presbyterian church when I was 10 (the year we had a good Calvinist chaplain at the Navy base where my father was posted), but in my teens, I didn’t really believe what my parents did, although I went to church if Mom insisted. When I found a personal faith in my college years, it was Catholic. The Spirit moves where He will ... and my old Grandpop from Northern Ireland, card-carrying Orangeman, has two Catholic granddaughters now, and nine Catholic great-grandchildren. I don’t think my cousin’s daughter has yet joined the Church with her parents.

“I always knew you’d do something weird,” OldTax-lady said, “But thank God your Grandpop is in his grave!” But I think Grandpop and I would have been pals, if he’d lived.

I’ll mention versions of “Karol” to Elen when she’s in confirmation class, if she doesn’t choose Joan or insist on “John Paul.” Bill’s friend Malcolm had “Teresa Benedicta” for his Confirmation patron, and stared down anyone who objected. He’s a dear and cute boy; maybe Elen will like him if none of us moves before they’re adults.

12 posted on 04/23/2011 2:45:44 PM PDT by Tax-chick (Tornado relief:
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To: Servant of the Cross

Obviosly I am Stating a very well known Fact.
Both JPII and Bene XVI both allowed the abuse of Children by Homosexual Priests to continue for Decades.
Not only that, Cardinal Law was rewarded and given a secure
position for his part in the same abuse.

13 posted on 04/26/2011 6:57:20 AM PDT by chatham
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To: chatham

“Both JPII and Bene XVI both allowed the abuse of Children by Homosexual Priests to continue for Decades.”

A charge without any merit. Your attack is not on JPII but on Catholicism in general. You know that. We know that.

14 posted on 04/26/2011 7:15:56 AM PDT by rbmillerjr (Murdering unborn children is the highest sacrament in the liberal religion.)
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