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Saturday, April 02, 2005

The Polish Pope

Before I finish writing this Pope John Paul II may be dead. He's hanging in there, like you should expect from a hard-working Pole, but it looks like he's passed the point of no return.

Nanticoke has always been a Polish enclave in Northeastern Pennsylvania, and like much of the area is primarily Roman Catholic. So we were proud and delighted in October of 1978 when our fellow Pole Karol Wojtyla (pronounced "Carol Voy-TEE-wah") was elected Pope following the untimely death of his predecessor.

John Paul II was young, vigorous, multilingual - a Pope for the worldwide Catholic Church rather than just another Italian sitting on a throne offering proclamations.

I haven't always agreed with his positions. Abortion, ordination of women - right or wrong, on these topics he was simply holding to the basic doctrines of the Catholic church. My biggest issue was with his position on Liberation Theology, which came to a crisis point in the late 1980's, while I was at college at a Jesuit university. It seemed that the position adopted by the Vatican reflected more the Pope's anti-Communist roots than the moral realities of what was going on in Latin America. In this way it seemed that the Vatican was adopting a realpolitik approach that chillingly resembled the U.S.'s "Friendly Dictators" program.

Soon he will be dead, and the College of Cardinals will gather in Rome to elect another pope. Whoever is elected, John Paul II will be a tough act to follow.

1 comment:

anne said...

I just wanted to say that I happened upon your blog today as I sit in my rainy, dreary office and I certianly enjoyed reading your posts.
Maybe it is because I am a coal cracker as well - I can just relate to it. I can't wait to stop at the candy shop on my next trip to Wilkes-Barre and get a chocolate submarine and handgun.
Well done!