woensdag 4 mei 2011

Waarom JP2 een grote paus is en waarom hij heilig is

1. Uit een blogbericht van Damian Thompson:
Secular scholars are unlikely to dwell on the heroic sanctity of the man, which led Pope Benedict XVI to beatify him in a ceremony attended by 1.5 million people. But what they may well say – irrespective of their point of view – is that John Paul II preserved the unity of the Catholic Church at a moment when it seemed likely to fracture.
I was a schoolboy during the last years of Paul VI; what I remember from the time was a sense that the boundaries of Catholicism were being stretched until they seemed likely to snap. The Catholic Church in the 1970s had something of the flavour of the Anglican Communion today. The question of women priests did not tip the Church into schism, but it was a distinct possibility. The Dutch Church had effectively declared UDI [Unilateral Declaration of Independence] from the Vatican; beneath the near-impenetrable jargon of American and European theologians lay fundamental assaults on Catholic belief in the Real Presence, the sacramental priesthood and many other doctrines.
John Paul II used the power of the papal office to close down debates over these matters. Liberal Catholics may regard this as an assault on intellectual freedom, but from a sociological perspective what we were witnessing was the leader of a worldwide religion using his teaching authority to declare that his organisation believed X and not Y. No religion can survive without such boundaries, wherever they are drawn. The Church in the past has closed down debate over (for example) the divine nature of Christ; John Paul ruled that the Church did not have the power to ordain women now or ever – and, in issuing this ruling, put the prospect of women priests beyond the boundaries of Roman Catholicism, just as lay presidency at the Eucharist lies beyond the pale. The Church became a more peaceful place as a result.
That is just one example; there are other instances of boundary-drawing which kept in what other Catholics were trying to throw out, such as traditional devotion to the Virgin Mary, which was marginalised after the Second Vatican Council but, thanks to Mary’s devoted servant John Paul II, is no longer.
Karol Wojtyla was a man of formidable intellect: his encyclicals, and the Catechism he commissioned, sought to enrich rather than pare down the Magisterium. But it strikes me that his central achievement was to spell out what Catholics believe and what they do not, something that was by no means clear when he took office.
2. En hier de Engelse vertaling van een mooi artikel van Sandro Magister voor de Chileense krant La Tercera.

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