Permanant Link For Entry #5

Pope John Paul II

It's a sad time for Roman Catholics. We should be rejoicing for John Paul's life and leadership, and proud of the way he conducted himself to the end. As someone on the Radio commented, he could have hidden himself away in his last weeks, but he didn't. He let his weakness be known and that highlighted his faith and the meaning of his faith.

But we're sad too.

Apparently John Paul was a "controversial" pope. I think this meant that he stuck to the teaching of the Church and proclaimed her message without flinching and that some groups disagreed with him.

I think that the words "uncompromising" and "authentic" better describe his leadership style. Yes, I'm a fan.

I heard Shirley Wiliams issuing her opinions of his papacy on the Home Service at the weekend. She acknowledged that the Church is a more unified entity after his rule than when he started in the job. (A good thing, all agree.) She then went on to suggest that the Church would now need to grapple with the issues of birth control, the celibate priesthood and I think some other items that I cannot remember now... but essentially those fairly radical and central areas that are at odds with the liberal and pluralistic interests in society.

By "grapple with" I think Shirley Williams meant "change its position on". I could be wrong. But I doubt it. I think her argument was half-baked because (i) the Church *has* been grapppling with these issues and many others of a social, moral and political kind; and (ii) I believe the reason for the Church's increased unity is down in no small way precisely to JP2's strong leadership - which included his "hard-line" and "conservative" position.

One of the duties of the Church is to tell the world what she holds to be the Truth about God and Mankind, including moral teaching. If people in vast numbers choose to live their lives differently, I do not think this means that the Truth changes, or that the message should automatically change to engender more popularity or support. I know this is where the Anglican Church is at - i.e. unity at almost any cost, and you have there a group that is so unified in its diversity that you don't know what it stands for, if anything. Maybe Shirley Williams is an Anglican. But I'm not. Beacon