Progressives HATED Pope St John Paul - I lived during the 80s & 90s where the Catholic establishment and academia and the professional laity and seminary leaders despised the "dictatorial, legalistic cold-hearted enemy of the spirit of vatican 2 who had crushed and thwarted the flourishing of the Easter people and lay empowerment and the second spring of NuChurch"
To them he was the utter enemy of Progressivism - and they'll never forgive him for it
The truth is very much a different story.
Holiness was most certainly NOT a conservative in the way we understand
the word - he was an ecclesiastical conservative which means very slow
liberal [with conditions, reservations and a few no-go areas] but in the
main change at a slow rate...
Ironically it was actually His
Holiness's lack of philosophical and theological education and training
that turned him into a flighty amateur 'trendy' phenomenologist who
sought to doctrinalise the impossible, arbitrarily legislate and tweak
and politically manoeuvre global and ecclesiastical changes in
perspectives that were utterly contrary to both Catholic understanding
Pope John Paul II accelerated the liberal agenda by his inability to understand them and incapacity to counter them.
Holiness of fond memory was an enthusiastic amateur who never saw the
whole picture and never bothered to find out the underlying apologetic
or fomal and efficient causes of ecclesiastical structures, doctrine,
morality and praxis...
But it never stopped him trying his hand at
anything and making off-the-cuff arbitrary changes to things he didn't
like - without ever taking the due concern and consideration of the
holism and the traditional understandings of why things were a certain
His Holiness was well-loved by so many - to the extent that
because he was so sincere and so ostensibly 'good' he was idolised for
many of the wrong reasons and never treated as a man in an office who
was making all manner of mistakes - he was a devout man, a deeply
spiritual and caring man - but he was also a thoughtless and negligent
and irresponsible man.
One need only look at the hstory and read his writings.
What happened during his papacy?
was a catastrophe - the worst possible bishops appointed, heresy,
heterodoxy and heteropraxis became endemic. Church attendance
haemorrhaged - evangelisation and religious education became eitther
utterly counterproductive or non-existent...and liturgy? Eagle's wings
was like opera in comparison with the nightmares most of us endured.
self-indulgence thrived, national churches became ineffectual
money-wasting paper-shuffling one-up-manship quangocracies - the
clerical abuse nightmare & the cover-ups festered - religious
education became a joke, seminarians were taught none of the bible was
true, Jesus wasn't really God and Church history is a tissue of lies and
depraved murderous oppressive tyranny so don't believe anything - just
be nice and try to hold the great lie together; the missions were
abandoned, the religious orders collapsed and became glorified ashrams
and vocations collapsed. The Vatican became even more a cesspool of
corruption and internecine wars and power-struggles
It was a disaster!!!
And what about His Holiness's writings or doctrinal positions?
was naturally gifted and talented and intelligent - and therefore his
first apprehensions and hasty understandings of positions and principles
became the predominant ones - being clever allowed him to be
intellectually lazy and not engage in the long hard academic slog of
truly understanding the totality - being a flighty jack of all trades
with a natural flair for things he never had to bother with the
absolutely necessary struggle with the principles and the texts - being
able to play by ear he never learned the music or how to actually play
properly...and this shows in every aspect of his teaching....he has a
peripheral and shallow understanding of many things - and therefore was
able to 'wing it' on subjects he never truly understood with any depth.
from a communist controlled country he didn't understand the
perniciousness of capitalism, being from eastern Europe he didn't
understand the bankrupt depravity of western relativism, being from a
Catholic country he didn't understand the agenda and false
understandings of other faiths - He sought to doctrinalise Vatican II
and impose all manner of material heresies and false practices and
alien-positions because from his naiively idealistic [poorly-formed]
phenomenological perspective these were all 'in the developing light of
tradition in the new advent and new pentecost'..he was trying his best
when he shouldn't have been trying at all...it was his job to reiterate
apostolic traditiion in a new way..not to re-invent a new tradition in
an apostolic way....
His theology of the Body was a confusing
incoherent mess that has set back Catholic teaching on life, sex,
marriage and family back by generations and basically led to bioethical
chaos and the introduction of backdoor contraception in the guise of NFP
, his oecumenism became scandalous [assisi? no conversion of Jews?
sunday obligations in protestant churches?] , his Christological and
Trinitarian understandings were embarrassingly erroneous, his
misunderstandings regarding grace and free will and predilection and
predestination and providence were puerile, the new canon law code
became ineffectual and ignored, the facepalm CCC became
incomprehensible, malleable and catechetically counterproductive and
when it came to the basic tenets and doctrines of the Church it became
increasingly obvious that although he may have known them by rote - he
didn't truly understand them; his busybody intrusions into forbidden
territory are just embarrassing [Luminous Mysteries [??!] and the New
Stations [anyone remember those? no I thought not] ...and no amount of
florid ambiguous dialectically-confusing meanderings and ramblings can
deny that at the crunch - His Holiness for all his benign intentions and
sincere devotion and unswerving loyalty to Holy Mother Church - may
have been bright and enthusiastic - but he wasn't very clever, he was
never very right, he was generally very confusing and he was also sadly
Maybe as Pope he had an impossible job with an impossible remit and impossible circumstances?
than again maybe His Holiness should have relied more upon the Promises
of Christ rather than his own 'fiddly-diddly' attempts to grab the
rudder of the barque of the Church?
But His Holiness is a Saint - and why?
he was a good man, a saintly man, a man with the right intentions and
the right motives and he sought the right end and was an exemplary
example of devotion and sacrifice and ultimately suffering.
So let's cut all this Papolatry and deal with the true hagiography
HE WAS A GOOD MAN
...and that made him a saint.
Let's tell the truth in love about this wonderful - if exasperating - man of deeply fond memory.
let's not reverse the paradigm and turn the worldly papal actions of a
saint into some sort of superstitious semi-divine reflections of heaven
on earth and manifestations of the Holy Spirit.
When in centuries
to come the real historians write accounts of today the best they will
say about Pope St John Paul was that he was a great man - but very far
from a great pope - and the most he did was slow the decline and hold
the line a little...
We live with St John Paul II's mistakes, failings and regrets...
BUT there is one invaluable thing which His Holiness brought us which should be carved into our hearts...
He brought a message of hope - and he forever told us 'be not afraid' in that hope.