John Paul the second is now beatified. It has been so quick I can almost scarcely believe it. But the Church tells me it is so and I do believe it. What an incredible thing!
I was under instruction in the faith when John Paul died, and I expected and hoped Ratzinger would take his place. John Paul’s reign can be seen as a vital breathing space after the second Vatican Council. He didn’t do everything anyone wanted, for the liberals he was too conservative, for the conservatives he was too liberal, and unfortunately his powers as Pope don’t extend to descending from the sky with the wrath of God on Paedophiles, something that the English media don’t understand.
The Pope’s power is soft power, it is not ruthless or quick to anger, in fact let’s face the fact, the Pope is often a long way away in Rome and there is very little he can do to impose his will upon the bishops of the world, which since I have loved the only two Popes I’ve lived under I wish it wasn’t the case.
As for myself, I’m more of Benedict’s child in the faith, I have such affection for him, for his mind for his life’s work, but John Paul laid the foundations of everything that Benedict does today, Benedict reaps where John Paul has sown. The theology of the body will grow in importance year by year, it is a phenomenal work which deals with the perversity of this age and the gnosticism which underlies it. (its a complex theory I have as to that, which I’m not sure I can explain right here and now.)
Yes the theology of the body was instrumental in my conversion, even though I never read it. The ideas contained within it, and expounded so thoroughly and coherently, and conveyed to me by my priest and the friends who converted me; helped me to deal with the barriers that I had built up against the faith, based on the erroneous belief that Catholicism somehow abhorred the body, abhorred sexuality.
Actually it was me who abhorred my physicality because I had been living in what I came to realise was an inherently gnostic faith of evangelical Christianity.
Yes, this post has probably become quite incomprehensible. The gist is that without JP2 I wouldn’t have been Catholic in order to love B16.