The Gift of John Paul II

Saint John Paul II

Title: The Gift of John Paul II

Author: Stephen P. White

Publication: The Catholic Thing via Ethics and Public Policy Center.

Date: 14MAY2020

Next Monday, May 18, marks the 100th anniversary of the birth of Karol Wojtyła. Pope Francis will mark the occasion by celebrating Mass at the saint’s tomb in St. Peter’s Basilica. Other celebrations, many planned long in advance, have been curtailed by the pandemic. Even without the pandemic, however, the centenary might strike some of us as anti-climactic. What happened to the “new springtime for the Church” we were promised?

I am old enough to remember the enthusiasm and vitality of John Paul II’s early pontificate. Here was a man of parts: A mystic who survived the assassin’s bullets, a philosopher-priest who bested the Communists, and a young reformer who returned a semblance of stability to the Church after the tumultuous years following the Second Vatican Council.

Above all, here was a Christian disciple whose confidence and charisma emanated from a source even more attractive than the man himself.

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