The Beatification Of Pope John Paul II – The Pope Of Life
On Sunday, May 1, the Catholic Church will declare Pope John Paul II to be “Blessed”.
To be declared “Blessed,” is a step on the way to being declared a saint.
Pope John Paul II called upon the young, and all of us, to build a “Culture of Life” with tremendous hope. He said, “Have no fear. The outcome of the battle for life is already decided … You too must feel the full urgency of the task … Woe to you if you do not succeed in defending life. …This is no time to be ashamed of the Gospel. It is the time to preach it from the rooftops.”
Father Frank Pavone helps us to understand why Pope John Paul II was and is so beloved and revered.
On Sunday, May 1 the Catholic Church declares Pope John Paul II to be “Blessed,” a step on the way to being declared a saint. This is done not as a judgment on the effectiveness or influence of his pontificate, nor on the depth of his knowledge of theology, but rather on his fidelity in living the Christian virtues.
The Church says, in other words, “If you want to follow Christ, look to John Paul II as an example.”
Each person whom the Church beatifies or canonizes, moreover, has his or her special theme, some aspect of discipleship that marks his or her life. For Pope John Paul II, it is the theme of pro-life. Not only was this a theme he spoke and acted upon continuously, but he gave the Church and the world a new way of understanding and practicing it.
This pope did not simply repeat the longstanding teaching of the Church that abortion is wrong. He did not simply hand down dogmas about what we can and cannot do, and how we are supposed to live up to the principles and the commandments, such as “Thou shalt not kill.”
John Paul II was able to join traditional, objective thought with the patterns of modern thought in what came to be known as his “personalism.” He focused on the dignity, the uniqueness, of each individual human person and affirmed their subjective insights and experiences. He taught that in each person we have a unique and unrepeatable being. And that uniqueness is precisely a reflection, or image, of God himself. Here is where the two worlds merge. Individual experience is not crushed, lost, or absorbed by the recognition that there is a God who has revealed universal moral norms. On the contrary, when God reveals himself to us in Jesus Christ, he reveals us to ourselves.