He loved Our Lady – there’s no doubt about it. He was shot on her Feast Day. He consecrated his whole life to her.
It’s not magic. Consecrating yourself to the Immaculata doesn’t give you super human powers. It doesn’t give you bionic strength. It doesn’t make you a super hero. Nor does it prevent you from making mistakes.
Such is the conundrum of Karol Wojtyla/Pope Saint John Paul II. He lived through a horrendous time, and took some strange decisions. A learned priest said, “Yes, he was a holy man but he was influenced by some silly ideas – the anonymous Christian idea, for example.”
Many who lived through the John Paul II years idolized him. That was wrong. We put him up on a pedestal, but he didn’t try and get off it. He put himself out there like a superstar, when maybe silence and reserve was needed. I don’t know. We didn’t pray enough for the Holy Spirit to guide him – expecting it to happen automatically. Superstition: attributing to a creature powers it does not have. Many (myself included) fell into this error.
There was also the error of holding him up against the world as if to say, “Look, we’ve got this superstar – more famous than anybody you got.” Pride on our part. Pride of thinking we could out do the culture if we just did it bigger.
He was just a man. He was not true God and true man. Only Our Lord is. Yes, the Holy Spirit guarded this Saint from formally leading the Church into error but at times Pope John Paul II went very close to it. Close enough so as to allow the confusion to increase. The current problems stem from many of the men he appointed as bishops. Yes, he couldn’t be everywhere, and yes, many of the bishops had lost the faith – many, many, of them – and they did not stand with him in the attempt to defend the unborn. As for contraception: they refused to teach what the Church’s infallible teaching is on that matter.
Were others to blame for the state of the Church during his pontificate. Yes, and no. My sins wounded the Mystical Body, bringing it down again and again. So did John Paul II’s. What they were only his confessor and God knows. Seeing he wasn’t perfect is now hard to swallow. Knowing that he is a saint is a consolation.
We used to shout: “John Paul II, we love you!” Now we whisper in prayer: “John Paul II, we still love you – pray for the Church, pray for us all that we’ll escape what Our Lady at Fatima called the ‘diabolical disorientation’.”
Why God has permitted even the good to stumble and at times give bad example is an impenetrable mystery. The Assisi inter-religious nonsense, for example, is deeply confusing for those who learned the Baltimore Catechism where it clearly teaches that attending non-Catholic worship is a sin against faith. How can a pope stand and ‘pray’ with those promoting false religions? Are pagan practices equal to those of the one, true religion?Maybe the confusion he permitted explains why his successor has the silly ideas he has.
Even daring to ask this and express it is considered disloyal. That shows how far Catholics have lost touch with the Truths of the Faith. How far the ‘educated’ have swallowed the historical inaccuracy that it is the Latin-Mass crew who are to blame that Mass attendance in the Western hemisphere is averaging about 10-15% . History shows otherwise. Dietrich von Hildebrand, and many others, were sounding the alarm bells long before Archbishop Lefebevre was blamed by the modernists for the disasters in the Church. They had to find a scapegoat somewhere. Serious academic study shows this to be the case.
The Catholic response to strange actions and words of popes is surely: “God bless the pope – he’s not God.” The present author has no job to lose; no academic career or Catholic lay position to try and hold onto. He can ask without fear of attacks by those who are trying to defend the indefensible: “What is going on?” Am I expected now to say to my children something like the following: “Oh Martin Luther – the guy who hated the pope, lived a life of debauchery, and hated mankind – wasn’t such a bad influence after all. Really quite a nice guy when you get to know him”? No. Pope John Paul II, please pray for your successor.
Popes are not perfect: they can make mistakes. And during my life time they have. It is not disloyal to say so. John Paul II asked for us to pray for him when he was dead. Kind of strange. I thought the canonized saints lived lives of heroic virtue to such a point that there wasn’t any need to pray for them – Purgatory was not their lot. He said it; not me. Was it the right or wrong thing to say?
He loved Saint Faustina, as is common knowledge, but why did he not teach the kinds of things that she taught. She warned again and again that those who refused to turn to God’s Mercy would have to face his Justice. And why no has ever called her anti-semitic (which she isn’t) I don’t know. Maybe it’s because Pope John Paul II decided not to mention that in her Diary one finds her telling the her fellow sisters cared for people. The woman’s family wouldn’t leave her side so the sisters could be with the woman on her own. Eventually they left. What did Sister Faustina do? She sneaked in with another sister and BAPTIZED the woman – who died soon after!
Not quite the stuff modern popes are promoting. Did Pope John Paul II know about it? Another learned priest on hearing about this said: “He knew.” Doesn’t fit with Dignitatis Humanae.
Yes, He’s a Saint of Holy Mother Church. Praise God. Now he can see what the Church needs, and what the Immaculata is doing for Her Son’s Members. He did not have that knowledge while on this side of the grave – and none of us do.
The mystery of the ‘diabolical disorientation’ effecting individuals, nations, and even many in the Church is truly blinding. Maybe no man can grasp all of it. As a pope he had to face it, and maybe his own personal ‘blind spots’ clouded his judgement on certain things. The sacred liturgy, for example, was not a strong point in his thinking. Often he would speak of culture but making the connection between cultural mayhem and liturgical abuses was not something he addressed. Puzzling.
It struck me recently how much he tried but how much he failed. He pushed various things but like many other ideas conceived in the 1960’s they are crumbling and falling down. The things he did to hand on the ancient Faith will never be lost – the rest, it will not last.
One thing he spoke often was divine mercy. Studying his teaching on it, however, is not easy. One comes across some strange points and omissions. For example, in his 1981 encyclical Dives in Misericorida – a document by-passed by many scholars at the time (and which was misrepresented by Wolter Cardinal Kasper in his work on God’s Mercy, and thus cherry-picked for the, so-called, Year of Mercy) – there is a passage where he speaks of how a true act of mercy is only such when the one giving mercy is aware of also receiving mercy.
It makes no sense: God doesn’t receive mercy when He gives it. But no-one has every commented on this. I tried to find commentary but – in English – there is none. Maybe it’s just easier to ignore silly things that popes sometimes say and move on. Move on to what?
Finally, I thank God for Pope John Paul II. God used him to drag me screaming out of the grips of the evil one. It was God’s work, and he used a man who gave us so much but who didn’t get it right all the time. Maybe it was too big an ask even for him.
Why did he not mention Russia exclusively when consecrating the world to Our Lady? Answer: Russian tanks. Think about it.
In the light of Providence thank God for it all: for the silly Assisi events; for the World Youth Day events where the Blessed Sacrament was often desecrated; for the crushing of the Liturgy; for the failure to excommunicate the Modernist who destroyed, and destroyed, and destroyed…; for the horrors of the child abuse scandals. God permitted it all. Praise Him for whatever His reasons are – praise Him.
And with Pope Saint John Paul II cry out amidst this ‘diabolical disorientation’: I am all Thine, and all that I have is Thine, O Most Loving Jesus, through Mary, Thy Holy Mother. Totus Tuus!