Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam

Essential thinking for reading Catholics.

Monday, April 03, 2006

RIP JP2 +1 year

It's an obligatory thing, in the Papist corners of the Blogosphere, to post on the death of Pope John Paul II of blessed memory. I remember watching EWTN as I never had before, and it was there, sitting in my home theatre, keeping watch and praying over JP2, the news broke. The Holy Father had gone to his Father's house.

I'm just old enough to say that JP2 was not the only pope I remember. My thoughts on this leap immediately not to JP2's election but to JP1's. I recall hearing (was it from George Weigel on EWTN?) that upon election, Paul VI's successor chose the name "John Paul" to honor the pontificates of his predecessors and then, puzzlingly, added that "the First" to his name. Someone pointed out that as there had never been a John Paul until him, there was no need to be called JP1, just JP would do until someone else was called JP. He immediately shot back "There will soon be a second."

A month later, JP1 had died.

I remember Paul VI's pontificate, but I just remember him registering a "meh" in my child/adolescent mind. When he died, I was only 14 and his being pretty much 100% Vatican-bound didn't give me much of a sense of him. To me, anyway, this was why JP2 stuck out. He immediately took up his crozier (and, some would cogently argue, his cross as well) and went about his business of being a simple parish priest, whose parish just happened to be the planet.

JP2 struck a different chord in that he bore his infirmities with a dignity that befits someone who believed, and expounded, the notion of suffering's salvific aspects. Not that myriad other unnamed saints haven't, but this was writ large for the planet to see.

And this brings us to B16.

In discussions with some friends during the lunch break of a Confirmation retreat, I mentioned my take on this, saying something to the effect that JP2 was the pope of the "what" and B16 the pope of the "how." To expand on that, I'm drawn to the careers these men might have pursued "in another life" that is, had things turned out differently, JP2 might have become and actor and B16 a professor. In a way, it's sort of the relationship between macro___ and micro___ (like, say, macroeconomics and microeconomics).

Put another way, JP2's pontificate seemed to be all about evangelization, while B16's seems to be about catechetization (I invariably mistype this, sue me.). Whereas JP2 appeared to conquer new ground (or REconquer it), B16 looks to consolidate these gains and hold them.

I pray to God for both of these men, these amazing shepherds of His flock.



P.S. Karen, the picture was just for you. Be merciful, because I'm tryin' ovah heah.


  • At 3:14 AM, April 07, 2006 , Blogger Karen said...

    I am so impressed!!! That wasn't so hard, was it?

  • At 3:17 AM, April 07, 2006 , Blogger Karen said...

    p.s. Now put that "orthodox Catholic educated by Jesuits" sign on your sidebar and I'll be impressed. That makes me want to go back to grad school, just so I can have one. Where did you get it?

  • At 5:56 AM, April 07, 2006 , Blogger Joe said...

    It wasn't hard...but it wasn't convenient either.

    I'll figure out how to slap it on my sidebar. This will require that I shove aside bits of trivia, recipes, wine suggestions, travel stories, film and TV dialogue, commercial jingles, automotive factoids and assorted bits of useless knowledge about toys...just to make room in my brain for the information required to do same.




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