Sunday, March 12, 2006

John Paul The Great?
Based on what?

Looks as if my hometown of San Diego, California has launched John Paul The Great Catholic University. I don't know how they can call themselves a University, seeing they don't offer any Masters/Doctorate degree programs. But I'll bet they found a loop-hole. How appropriate.

Nonetheless, below is one of the original postings I wrote when I started this blog. Even though it's more geared towards the current push to canonize Pope John Paul II, the theme still rings true... how in the world does Pope John Paul rate to be referred to as The Great? Only two popes in the history of Catholicism have The Great affixed to their titles. And may God have mercy on his soul, but Pope John Paul did nothing compared to Popes Leo and Gregory The Great. Even Pope St. Pius V, who saved The Church from the double threat of Protestantism and islam hasn't been deemed The Great.

But anyway, on with the posting of Nov 10th, 2005;

Yes, yes... everyone loved the former Holy Father. But as what? A strong Vicar of Christ... a guiding figure of moral absolutes in an uncertain world... a cuddly, if not somewhat confused but still very cuddly grandfather figure?

I say we pull in the reigns on this idiotic "Insta-Saint, Just Add Holy Water" fad. Are we talking Holy Canonization, or some type of ecclesiastical popularity contest? Sheesh... it took forty years to finally canonize the most recent pope to achieve Sainthood, Pope St. Pius X. Sorry, Pope John Paul ain't no Pope St. Pius X.

But I digress, I'm dead set against this break-neck speed race for JP 2's canonization. For many reasons, actually.

1. What great happened under his pontificate? Other than empty seminaries, empty convents, empty pews, sodomite-rapist "priests", rapist protecting bishops, a Lavender Mafia, Catholic schools closing by the truckload, a majority of Catholics that don't even believe in The Real Presence, etc, etc... gee, I can't think of anything great that happened under his watch.

2. John Paul II did produce some utterly brilliant writings. Unfortunately, he was promptly ignored. And to make matters worse, he did absolutely nothing about it. What good is a shepherd who is unwilling (or afraid) to use his crozier?

3. Lastly, this mad dash to Sainthood simply cheapens the entire notion of canonized Saints. Hence, it cheapens Catholicism.


Blogger Fidei Defensor said...

It may be to premature to judge the pontificate of John Paul II just yet, to soon to call him the great yes, but to soon to be so harsh as well.

You did neglect his major role in the downfall of Communism.

Plus the problems during this era in west Europe and the US are the fault of our countrymen, not the Holy Father.

The Pope really did have an effect on young people, that is no hype. Remember a lot of them are just entering seminaries now, they are orthodox and devout, give it 15 years before you judge John Paul harshly.

The man's writings are moving and brilliant and a window into an amazing soul. I sympathize with his supporters and say err on the side of respect.

That said, St. Pius V is my favorite Pope, B-XVI should take a few cues from him. Maybe Rosaries to get Justice Anthony Kennedy back to his faith.

10:31 PM  
Blogger Dave said...

I'll agree with Fidei Defensor on his role in bringing down communism. Also remember that reforms take a long, long time to be fully implemented. The Council of Nicea completely condemned Arianism -- and Arianism only got stronger. The reforms of Trent were followed not too long after by the 30 Years' War. As Cardinal Newman once said, "There is seldom a Council after which chaos does not follow."

10:57 PM  
Blogger Former Altar Boy said...

Well, Cardinal Newman hit that nail on the head, 'cuz we've sure as heck have had 40 years and counting of chaos since Vat2. As for JPII, I will always credit him, Lech Walesa & Solidarity (yes, let us not forget their role -- talk about brass balls), and President Reagan for bringing down the Soviet Empire, but have to agree with CSM, that even thinking of tagging him with "The Great" this soon after his death is woefully premature.

11:30 PM  
Blogger The Confessionator said...

Pope John Paul II was full of VIRTUE. He was humble, courageous, compassionate and devoted to God and the Blessed Virgin Mary.

He gave us Theology of the Body, he helped defeat Communism, he travelled all over the world bringing the Gospel to foreign countries, he reached out to the youth, and in his later years he was truly one with Christ in his suffering.

If that's not holiness, I don't know what is.

2:12 AM  
Blogger Kevin Whiteman said...

... and no one has answered my question. What exactly did he do that was GREAT?

The "downfall of communism" example just doesn't cut it. Communism is alive and well. Remember China, Cuba, Korea? And like FAB said, Ronald Reagan had more to do with the collapse of the Soviet Union that JP II did. And as far as the Church in decline in The West being the fault of American and European bishops... well, who put them there? In all fairness, is there some cult of personality developing here towards the late Holy Father?

Guys, I'm not questioning his virtue, holiness nor his influence on youth. But looking at his pontificate overall... he simply wasn't Great. If ANYONE deserves "The Great", it should be Pope St. Pius V. Sheesh, he fought back the moslems, stemmed the Protestant Revolt, gave us the Tridentine Mass, brought forth the utterly brilliant Council of Trent, etc, etc.

I tell ya what... compare JP 2 pontificate with that of Pius V or Pius X and then yo9u tell me who REALLY rates to be called The Great.

John Paul The Virtuous...
John Paul The Well Meaning...
John Paul The Cuddly...
Those would be accurate. The Great would be a slap in the face of many much more deserving

6:36 AM  
Blogger prevat2 said...

Having been out of pocket for a while, I just have to weigh in on this: John Paul the Great? A big, fat negative on that one Marine! I ain't drinking that Kool-Aid yet!

I have lived through five (5) pontificates. The worst, by far, was Paul VI. A weaker man, one could not find. But when JPII took the Chair of Peter in 1978, he had the power AND the Keys, to undue to massive auto-destruction brought to us following Vatican II, and the "smoke of Satan" allowed into the sanctuary of the Church by Paul VI.

So what did we get? Brilliant writings? Well yes. Applied by those in power (cardinals, bishops..). Well, no. But wait. We did get the wonders of not one, but two "Prayer Meetings at Assisi." We got beautiful Papal Masses that had NOTHING to do with Tradition. We got "World Youth Day" that had NOTHING to do with Tradition. We got altar girls. We got a pitiful hand-out in 1988 for an "indult" Traditional Latin Mass, never enforced. We got seminaries that brought the sodamites in by the droves. We got "Lavander Mafia" bishops who protected homo-rapist priests. We got wonderful men like Mahony, Weakland, et al. We even got Cardinal Kasper! That silly "Theology of Return." Are you kidding? The Jews don't need Jesus. After all, the Old Covanent is still in effect for them. Silly me.

JPII was a good and holy man. But as Vicar of Christ, the one with the power of "the Keys," he failed miserably. As to BXVI: I'm still waiting. We'll see.

My vote: St. Pius V, Leo XIII, St. Pius X, and of course, Pius XII

8:52 AM  
Blogger Dad29 said...

Well, "great" is often in the eye of the beholder.

JPII was an Evangelizer par excellence, and yes, he was frustrated by a lot of termites indigenous to the Vatican.

Even more than his writings, I think the historians will remark on his travel, his 'lighting the fire' of many in all corners of the world.

2:52 PM  
Blogger Fidei Defensor said...

I wouldn't be so hasty in saying Reegan had more to do with bringing down communism than JP II. And yes while it survies in China, Korea, JP II atleast was able to drive this blight from Christian lands.

As for Cuba, communism there will not long survive Fidel's death.

Who should withstand the power of God? Reegan was a great president yes but the prayers of the Holy Catholic Church, led by John Paul II, with his unflinching devotion to Our Lady surely struck blows so mighty to communism that we can scarcely comprehend.

Once again I say it may be to premature to call him "the Great," but its to soon to dismis this to.

In India, Nigeria, Vietnam, and other regions with less Christian past the Seminaries are bursting at the seems I thought? We in the west have seen some ugly stuff but we are only a small part of the Church.

6:20 PM  
Blogger Kevin Whiteman said...

FD, my friend,
JP2 had nothing to do withthe "downfall of communism"! Communism still exists!!! He was, however, instrumental in the downfall of the Soviet Union. Big difference.

And yes, the seminaries in Africa, Asia and S. America are doing quite nicely... but what kind of theology are they being taught? Most practicing Catholics don't even believe in the Real Presence. Quantity doesn't always equate to quality.

As far as "The Great" for JP2, I have to ask... we've had 264 popes prior to JP2, and only 2 of them had "The Great" attached to their names. With that said, what makes JP2 greater than the other 262?

7:43 PM  
Blogger Fidei Defensor said...

Caveman, as usual your wisdom prevails. There are plenty of Popes truly deserving of the tittle "the Great," higest on that list Pope Pius V.

Though I will stick to my guns and say you were a bit harsh on JP II and its to soon to judge his legacy. Much of that legacy will be silent, in the form of souls who were led to salvation during his pontificate. His writings inspired many after all.

I suppose we really need to consider how people are called "the Great." Afterall two Russian monarchs, Peter and Catherine both took that tittle and they were basicly auto-crats who mimiced the west. Alexander the Great was a great conqueror but he had some major failings.

Charles the Great aka Charelmegne is pretty deserving, as is Constantine the Great.

Fredrick the Great was a decent king and solider but not much better than Charles the V or any other monarch with an army.

Might as well just be happy that one of our own gets this tittle and place in history!

Though if you want to start an effort on behalf of Pope St. Pius V The Great I'll back you 100% though thats a lot of add ones for one guy.

3:31 AM  
Blogger Kevin Whiteman said...

You and I may not see exactly eye to eye on this particular topic, but know this... you can STILL sit at the cool (cave)-kid table at lunch!

6:08 AM  
Blogger Fidei Defensor said...

That's all I wanted to hear! haha

12:29 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


6:06 PM  

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