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The Secret of Pope John Paul II's Success

by John Vennari

Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen said in 1974, “We live in a sensate age. We are no longer governed by Faith, we are no longer governed by reason. We are governed by feelings.”

The outpouring of naked emotion at the death of Pope John Paul II proves these words true. It is expected that Catholics worldwide would grieve and pray for the departed Pontiff, as it is a fitting expression of filial piety. But the effusion over John Paul II was a good bit more. Cardinals, bishops, priests, religious and laity vied with each other to canonize him as “John Paul the Great”. Politicians and non-Catholic religious leaders praised him for his humanity and for his outreach to other religions. He was praised for his leadership, praised for his popularity with youth, praised for his travels, his poetry, his writings. He was praised for his trail-blazing style, his being a man of the people. his “theology of the body”, his media savvy, his evangelizing, his charisma, his humor. The pop-star Bono lauded John Paul as the “funky Pontiff”, calling him “the best front-man the Church ever had.”

Yet nowhere in this tsunami of sentiment did I see anyone praise him for achieving the primary purpose of the papacy: unswervingly fidelity to the teachings and traditions of the Catholic Church as taught and practiced throughout the centuries. Nowhere did I see him praised for preserving the purity of doctrine and the maintenance of discipline in the Church worldwide. Pope John Paul II was not praised for this because he did not achieve it. And for a Pope to fail in this area is to fail mightily.

True, Pope John Paul II held the line on the Church’s teaching against women priests, married priests, and spoke consistently against divorce, abortion and euthanasia. He is hated by liberals for maintaining these teachings, and this is to his credit.

But for the most part, amidst the seemingly endless adulation over Pope John Paul II after his death, no one seemed to judge his papacy by the only measuring rod that counts: the infallible and immutable Catholic Faith of all time. All was sentiment, all was emotion, all was feelings.

There are many reasons why Pope John Paul II was so loved by the modern world. The core reason, in my opinion, is because of a central aspect of his New Evangelization — a new approach that cut him loose from the one hard truth that made all pre-Vatican II popes unpopular. Unburdened by this fundamental truth, he could easily mix with men of all religions, and of no religion, with little fear of invoking their displeasure.

The New Approach

On the day of Pope John Paul II’s death, I received a phone call from a young lady in New Zealand, a friend of the family. She presently works in a situation where she interacts with Muslims and Hindus. When she tells these non-Catholics, with gentleness and charity, they must convert to the one true Catholic Church to save their souls, the Muslims and Hindus laugh at her. “Your Pope doesn’t believe that”, they cackle, referring to John Paul II, “Your Pope doesn’t teach that. Your Pope’s interfaith actions don’t convey that. Your Pope prays with the Dalai Lama and with Hindus. Your Pope visits mosques and kisses the Koran. You are out-of-step with your own Pope. Why should we listen to you?”

Two Catholic young men of my acquaintance, debating with a Protestant Minister, were likewise laughed to scorn when they in-formed the Protestant he must become Catholic to be saved. “What?”, said the Protestant, “You obviously don’t read the writings of your own Pope. He prays with Protestants. He praises Martin Luther as a man of ‘deep religiousness’. He calls Protestants ‘disciples of Christ’. He never says it is necessary to become Catholic for salvation.”

Brother Roger of the ecumenical Taize Community, a place that was dear to Pope John Paul’s heart, said that during the Papal visit to Taize on October 5, 1986, John Paul II suggested a path of “communion” to the community. The Pope said, “By desiring to be yourselves a ‘parable of community,’ you will help all whom you meet to be faithful to their denominational ties, the fruit of their education and their choice in conscience ...”[1] Pope John Paul II thus encouraged Protestants to be faithful to false creeds solemnly anathematized by the Council of Trent. There is no mention of the need to convert to Christ’s one true Church for salvation.

The day after Pope John Paul II’s death, Abraham Foxman of the Anti-Defamation League issued a press release praising the departed Pontiff for his relations with the Jewish people. Foxman wrote of John Paul, “Most importantly, the Pope rejected the destructive concept of supersessionism and has recognized the special relationship between Christianity and the Jewish people, while sharing his understanding of Judaism as a living heritage, of the permanent validity of God’s covenant with the Jewish people.”[2]

Foxman thus applauded John Paul II for rejecting the truth found in Scripture and in the defined dogmas of the Catholic Church, that the New Covenant superseded and made obsolete the old Judaic Covenant. Foxman rejoices in the error that members of today’s Jewish religion have their own covenant with God, and need not accept Jesus Christ nor convert to the Catholic Church for salvation. And Foxman praises John Paul II for championing this falsehood.

Here, then, is the secret of Pope John Paul II’s success with the world and with false religions — one of the main reasons he is loved by the multitudes, why almost all doors were open to him. Pope John Paul II was the man who, in effect, told the inhabitants of the world that everything is suddenly changed, that the “triumphalism” of the Church is passed, that they need not convert to the Catholic Church to save their souls. The eclipse of the infallible dogma, “Out-side the Church there is no salvation” is the defining mark of his Pontificate.

Sadly, this is no sign of greatness, but a collapse into the spirit of the age. It is a concession that any Pope in history could have made were he willing to dismiss the truths of the Faith.

The Scorn of Liberals

The abandonment of the doctrine “Outside the Church there is no salvation” did not start with the reign of John Paul II. The dogma was hated by liberals for centuries, particularly by the dark forces of the Masonic Enlightenment. Jean-Jacques Rousseau, the apostate encyclopedist of the French Revolution declared:

“Whoever dares to assert that outside the Church there is no salvation should be driven out of the state.”[3]

Liberal Catholics through-out the 19th Century undermined the dogma “outside the Church there is no salvation” in word and writing, as is evident in the 19th Century Popes’ repeated condemnation of religious indifferentism.[4] Modernism, in effect, denied this central dogma, and neo-modernist theologians, in the decades leading up to Vatican II, sought to subvert this truth in various ways.

Two star progressivists who undermined this dogma were Father Henri de Lubac and Father Yves Congar.[5] Both were proponents of the New Theology that taught religion must change with the times.[6] Both were considered theological misfits by Pope Pius XII’s Vatican. Both had their writings and activities curtailed under Cardinal Ottaviani’s Holy Office. Yet both Yves Congar and Henri de Lubac, along with other progressivist theologians, emerged as leading lights of Vatican II, and of the post-Conciliar period, without ever changing their heretical views.7

The young Bishop Karol Wojtyla from Poland sided with these progessivists during the Council. Father Ludvik Nemec, a conservative, wrote in 1979 in praise of John Paul II, “Bishop Wojtyla took a progressive stand” at Vatican II, and he “interacted with progressive theologians” at the Council.[8] Years later, Pope John Paul II would make Congar and De Lubac Cardinals, despite the fact that neither rejected their un-orthodox ideas. Henri de Lubac, in fact, was a stalwart defender of the pantheist evolutionist, Teilhard de Chardin. Thus John Paul II rewarded red hats to two modernist theologians whose pre-Vatican II writings — and post-Vatican II writings — undermined the doctrine, “Outside the Church there is no salvation”.

Convergence Replaces Conversion

The landmark event that removed this dogma from circulation was the Second Vatican Council. It was at Vatican II that this dogma was buried alive, and Catholic churchmen have been dancing on its grave ever since. True, nowhere in the documents does one find the sentence, “The dogma ‘outside the Church there is no salvation’ no longer holds”, but the entire ecumenical thrust of Vatican II implied it countless ways; particularly through the calculated use of ambiguous language in the Council documents.[9] After the Council, Catholic churchmen in the highest places, by their words and actions, continued to transmit the false idea that this central dogma is now a thing of the past.

The documents of Vatican II were, by the admission of their drafters, drawn up to favor the new ecumenical spirit. Father Joseph Ratzinger, a liberal Council peritus, explained one of the many ways in which Vatican II undermined this core truth.

In his 1966 book Theological Highlights of Vatican II, Father Ratzinger, said that the Council document Lumen Gentium was purposely constructed along ecumenical lines to lay the foundation for Vatican II’s Decree on Ecumenism. Father Ratzinger says that according to Lumen Gentium:

“The Catholic Church has no right to absorb the other Churches... [A] basic unity — of Churches that remain Churches, yet become one Church — must replace the idea of conversion, even though conversion retains its meaningfulness for those in conscience motivated to seek it.”[10]

Father Ratzinger wrote this book during the Council. As a co-worker with Father Karl Rahner, he was heavily involved in drafting the documents. He is in a position to tell us what were the true intentions of the architects at Vatican II. And he declares that the true teaching of Vatican II, according to its authors, was that conversion is an option. The non-Catholic need not convert to the true Church for unity and for salvation. The principle of conversion of non-Catholics is replaced with the new principle of convergence with non-Catholics.

Everything since the Council follows this new model; the principle of conversion of non-Catholics is replaced by the new notion of convergence with non-Catholics.

Father Edward Schillebeeckx, another liberal Council peritus, likewise celebrated Vatican II’s modernist orientation. He said, “At Vatican II, the Catholic Church officially abandoned its monopolies over the Christian religion.”[11]

Dr. Robert McAfee Brown, a Protestant observer at Vatican II, was quick to praise this new approach. Dr. Brown is well aware of the traditional Catholic teaching against Protestantism, and rejoices in the drastic change of attitude that Vatican II wrought. In his 1967 book, The Ecumenical Revolution, he applauds the Council’s Decree on Ecumenism:

“The document makes clear how new is the attitude that has emerged. No more is there talk of ‘schismatics and here-tics’ but rather of ‘separated brethren’. No more is there an imperial demand that the dissidents return in penitence to the Church who has no need of penitence; instead there is recognition that both sides are guilty of the sins of division and must reach out penitentially to one another. No more are Protestants dismissed merely as ‘sects’ or psychological entities alone; instead it is acknowledged that there is a measure of ‘ecclesial reality’ to be found within their corporate life.”[12]

This is a revolutionary approach to false religions that every Pope before Vatican II would rightly condemn. The Catholic Church had always dealt with Protestants as individual heretics. It never recognized them as a valid religious group, because their so-called “church” or “ecclesial community” is actually a fiction. A group of Protestants is simply a gathering of individuals who have become interiorly convinced of their salvation in Christ. They do not really constitute a “church”.[13]

In September of 1868, just before Vatican I, Blessed Pope Pius IX issued a public letter entitled Iam vos Omnes that was addressed “to all Protestants and other non-Catholics”. He was not inviting them to the Council, but urged them to consider the event of the Council as an opportunity to convert to the one true Church. Pius called the letter “To All Protestants ...” He chose that title purposely. He addressed them as individuals.

Commenting on this text in 1959, the renowned American theologian Msgr. Joseph Clifford Fenton pointed out that Pius IX chose these words deliberately because Protestant groups “are not Christian churches” but are actually “heretical assemblies”.[14]

This explains why Dr. McAfee Brown celebrates Vatican II’s new modernist approach, which claims these heretical assemblies are suddenly invested with a vague and undefined “ecclesial reality”. The suggestion that Protestants need not “return in penitence to the Church” mocks the Council of Trent’s condemnation of Protestant errors, and mocks the infallible dogma of the Council of Florence that outside the Catholic Church there is no salvation. Yet in the eyes of today’s ecumenical Church-men, this willingness to kick the teeth out of defined Catholic doctrine is precisely what gives the post-Vatican II Church its sparkle.

A Man of the Council

Post-conciliar ecumenical falsehoods ran rampant during the reign of Pope Paul VI, his Cramnerized New Mass being the crowning concession to Protestantism.[15] It is not known if Pope John Paul I had planned to rid the Church of the ecumenical plague. If he did, he did not live long enough to enact it.

Then in October 1978, Poland’s Karol Cardinal Wojtyla was elected Pope. Anyone with eyes to see would have known what to expect. From the start, he made clear his commitment to the liberal reforms of Vatican II, particularly to ecumenism.[16]

In his first Papal address, John Paul II did not speak of his duty to preserve the purity of Catholic doctrine against the many errors of the day, as did Pope Saint Pius X.[17] Rather, John Paul II saw his primary task to further the progressivist agenda of Vatican II. On October 17, 1978, the newly- elected John Paul II said:

“We consider it our primary duty to be that of promoting, with prudent but encouraging action, the most exact fulfillment of the norms and directives of the Council. Above all we must favor the development of Conciliar attitudes. First one must be in harmony with the Council. One must put into effect what was started in its documents; and what was ‘implicit’ should be made explicit in the light of the experiments that followed and in the light of new and emerging circumstances.”[18]

There is no doubt that Pope John Paul II made good his word. Novelties, trendy experiments, going boldly where no Pope had gone before, was the man in a nutshell. He forged his 25-year pontificate according to the new ecumenical doctrine wherein the principle of conversion of non-Catholics is replaced by the new principle of convergence with non-Catholics.

Pope John Paul II’s inter-religious activities, chronicled repeatedly in Catholic Family News and other journals, demonstrate this beyond dispute. His Spirit of Assisi, in which members of all religions pray together for peace and supposedly work together for the betterment of the human family — a concept condemned by Pope Saint Pius X in his Letter against the Sillon[19] — is an icon of his papacy.

At the Pope’s first pan-religious meeting at Assisi in October 1986, Catholics, Protestants, Orthodox, Jewish, Muslim, Hindu, Shinto, Animist Snake Worshipers, Native American, and other religions converged to pray for peace. Representatives from the religions stood together with Pope John Paul II, giving a visual endorsement to the prominent error of our time, that any religion is good enough for salvation.

During the 1986 Assisi event, the various religions were encouraged to offer their false worship. Muslims chanted to the false god Allah; African animists, in colorful off-the-shoulder togas, invoked the spirits of trees and plants to come to the aid of peace; an American Indian conducted a pagan ritual, offering stentorian intonations against the evil sprits in the Crow language, waving a straw fan like a magic wand.[20]

False worship was also permitted inside of Catholic Churches. At the Church of San Pietro, Buddhists, led by the Dalai Lama, placed a statue of Buddha atop the tabernacle, and set scrolls and incense burners a-round it. Even the Vatican’s Cardinal Oddi voiced public disapproval of the Assisi outrage:

“On that day ... I walked through Assisi ... And I saw real profanations in some places of prayer. I saw Buddhists dancing around the altar upon which they placed Buddha in the place of Christ and then incensed it and showed it reverence. A Benedictine protested and the police took him away ... There was obvious confusion in the faces of the Catholics who were assisting at the ceremony.”[21]

Assisi: Vatican II Enfleshed

But if Cardinal Oddi was horrified at the Assisi affair, Pope John Paul II was jubilant. Two months after the event, in a Christmas speech to his Cardinals published in the Vatican’s L’Osservatore Romano, John Paul said, “The day of Assisi, showing the Catholic Church holding hands with our brothers of other religions, was a visible express of [the] statements of the Second Vatican Council.” The interfaith event at Assisi was thus described by John Paul II not as a tragic misrepresentation of Vatican II, but as the glorious realization of its teaching.

Pope John Paul II went on to celebrate the inter-religious prayer meeting at Assisi as a new direction for the future, “The event of Assisi” he said, “can thus be considered as a visible illustration, an exegesis of events, a catechesis intelligible to all, of what is presupposed and signified by the commitments to ecumenism and to the inter-religious dialogue which was recommended and promoted by the Second Vatican Council.”

Toward the end of the speech, the Pope urged his Cardinals to continue on the same new path, “Keep always alive the spirit of Assisi as a motive of hope for the future.”[22]

The event of Assisi was one of the ways in which Pope John Paul II fulfilled his 1978 pledge to “favor the development of Conciliar attitudes” and to make what was “implicit” in Vatican II’s documents “explicit”.

Cardinals and bishops throughout the world, following John Paul II’s directive, continued the Spirit of Assisi for the past 18 years through countless pan-religious activities. One of the most recent of these events was the 2003 Interfaith Congress at Fatima, during which Father Jacques Dupuis denounced as a “horrible text,” the Council of Florence’s, “outside the Church there is no salvation,” to the grand applause of a predominantly Catholic audience.[23] The organizers and speakers at the event, including the Vatican’s Archbishop Michael Fitzgerald, justified the interfaith Congress and all its pomps and works, by appealing to Pope John Paul II’s Assisi initiative.[24]

It is this Spirit of Assisi that is ultimately responsible for Fatima Shrine Rector Guerra allowing a Hindu priest to chant to the false gods of Hinduism at the Catholic altar at the Fatima Shrine on May 5, 2004[25] — a sacrilege that was never publicly repudiated by John Paul II.

This new pan-religious orientation has an effect on our lives and on those around us, as it projects a counterfeit image of the Catholic Church. After decades of being subjected to the new ecumenical religion widespread throughout the Catholic world, after years of seeing photos and films of Pope John Paul II’s new interfaith jamborees, most people — Catholic or not — now regard this new pan-religious orientation as the true representation of the Catholic religion. Never mind that it is an orientation condemned repeatedly by the Popes of the past, particularly by Pope Pius XI in Mortalium Animos. The new Spirit of Assisi is now falsely viewed as the authentic face of Catholicism.

It is the new Spirit of Assisi that causes Muslims and Hindus to laugh and to tell a young Catholic woman she is out-of-step with her own Pope when she says they must convert to the Catholic Faith to be saved. It is the new interfaith orientation that causes Protestant ministers to claim Catholic men are unfaithful to Catholic teaching when they remind the Protestant that he must convert to the Catholic Church to save his soul. It is the new ecumenical approach that makes Jewish leaders rejoice that, according to John Paul II, they need not accept Jesus Christ, nor join Christ’s one true Church, for salvation.

Here then is Pope John Paul II’s most sizable achievement. He has succeeded in making those Catholics who insist on the infallible dogma “outside the Church there is no salvation” appear to be crazy. Thanks to John Paul II’s radical pontificate, those Catholics who believe and practice everything taught by Pope Eugene IV, Saint Pius V, Gregory XVI, Blessed Pius IX, Saint Pius X, Pius XI and Pius XII are viewed as a kooky fringe of questionable orthodoxy. Those who resist John Paul’s modernist orientation and remain faithful to the Popes of all time are in many instances calumniated as enemies of the Faith.

Pope John Paul II and Supersessionism

Pope John Paul II’s new teaching regarding present-day Judaism bears this out dramatically. It is one of the clearest illustrations of John Paul II’s discontinuity with the consistent teaching of his predecessors from the time of Christ. Today’s Jews celebrate John Paul II as they are fully aware of the drastic change in doctrine that he attempted to forge. Those who resist this new teaching are denounced as anti-semitic,[26] as unfaithful to Vatican II, or as one web-page snarled, as “extreme supersessionists”.[27]

At first glance, it would seem preposterous to suggest that Pope John Paul II rejected the truth that the New Covenant superseded the Old Covenant. It is unthinkable that a Pope should deny a fundamental truth found so clearly in Scripture and Catholic doctrine.

On the subject of the absolute necessity of the Catholic Faith for salvation, there is, first of all, the Athanasian Creed, which begins: “Whoever wishes to be saved must, first of all, hold the Catholic faith, which, unless a man shall have held it whole and inviolate, he will most certainly perish forever.” This is not only a Creed of the Catholic Church that one must believe to be Catholic, but the Athanasian Creed was also part of the Church’s public liturgy. Before Vat-can II, it was recited at the Office of Prime on Trinity Sunday. No Pope has the authority to imply that this solemn Catholic Creed has suddenly expired.

As for the doctrine “Out-side the Church there is no salvation,” it has been three times defined by the Catholic Church. The most explicit and forceful of these three ex cathedra pronouncements is from the Council of Florence under Pope Eugene IV. Here the Church declared infallibly:

“The Most Holy Roman Church firmly believes, professes and preaches that none of those existing outside the Catholic Church, not only pagans, but also Jews, heretics, and schismatics can ever be partakers of eternal life, but that they are to go into the eternal fire ‘which was prepared for the devil and his angels,’ (Mt. 25:41) unless before death they are joined with her; and that so important is the unity of this Ecclesiastical Body, that only those remaining within this unity can profit from the sacraments of the Church unto salvation, and that they alone can receive an eternal recompense for their fasts, almsdeeds, and other works of Christian piety and duties of a Christian soldier. No one, let his almsgiving be as great as it may, no one, even if he pour out his blood for the Name of Christ, can be saved unless they abide within the bosom and unity of the Catholic Church.”[28]

This truth is taught repeatedly by the Popes, Saints and holy Doctors throughout the centuries. There is no deviation from one Pope to the next. It is one unchanging doctrine taught from Apostolic times. In fact, according the perennial teaching of the Church, the dogmatic First Vatican Council, and the Oath Against Modernism, a Pope is not allowed to change any of the doctrines of the Church, since the they are not his to change.[29] Nor is it possible for a Pope to change an objective truth divinely revealed by God. Nor is a Pope allowed to explain doctrine in a manner differently from what the Church always held, but must teach doctrine, to use the words of Vatican I and of the Oath Against Modernism, “in the same sense and in the same explanation.”[30] For a Catholic to do otherwise is to betray the Catholic Faith, and for a Pope to do otherwise is to betray his Papal Office.

For nearly 2000 years, the Popes taught the doctrine “outside the Church there is no salvation” faithfully, as they knew it to be a truth received from Christ and the Apostles. One of the many 20th Century examples of the continuity of this teaching is found in The Catechism of Pope Saint Pius X. Here we read, “Outside the true Church are: Infidels, Jews, heretics, apostates, schismatics and excommunicated persons.” It states further, “No one can be saved outside the Catholic, Apostolic, and Roman Church, just as no one could be saved from the flood outside the Ark of Noah, which was a figure of the Church.”[31]

The New Covenant Supersedes the Old

Now if the doctrine of the necessity of the Catholic Church for salvation is clear, Catholic doctrine regarding the necessity of Jews to covert to Christ’s one true Church for salvation is even more exact. The New Testament abounds with such teaching, and the Catholic Church has taught it since Saint Peter’s first sermon on Pentecost morning. It is a teaching that comes directly from the lips of Our Lord.

Our Lord Jesus Christ told the Jews: “If you do not believe that I am He [the Messiah], you will die in your sins.” (John 8:24) Elsewhere He said to the Jews, “You search the Scripture because in them you think you have life everlasting. And it is they that bear witness to Me, yet you are not willing to come to Me that you may have life.” (John 5:39-40)

Saint John, faithful to Our Lord’s teaching, says likewise, “Who is the liar but he who denies that Jesus is the Christ. He is Antichrist who denies the Father and the Son.” (1 John 2: 22)

Saint Peter, at his first sermon on Pentecost morning, publicly told the Jews who had assembled to hear him speak, that they must be baptized and become members of Christ’s true ecclesia for salvation. (Acts Chapter 2) He did not tell them they had their own workable covenant independent from Christ.

Commenting on this Scriptural text, the eminent America theologian, Msgr. Joseph Clifford Fenton, pointed out that Saint Peter did not direct his words to men of no religion at all. Saint Peter, the first Pope, directed his words to pious Jews who had traveled from various parts of the world to attend the religious feasts at Jerusalem. Nonetheless, Saint Peter told these well-meaning Jews that the religion of the Old Covenant would not save them, but they must enter the New Covenant forged by the Blood of Jesus Christ, the Catholic Church.[32]

Sacred Scripture likewise teaches that the Old Covenant is superseded by the New. Saint Paul declares explicitly that Our Lord’s New Covenant “has made obsolete the former one,” that is, made obsolete the old Judaic Covenant. (Heb. 8:13) No Pope has the authority to reject this Scriptural truth, as the Word of God is infallible. The Catholic Church throughout the centuries has been faithful to this truth.

The doctrine of the supersession of the Old Testament by the New is a universal and perpetual doctrine of the Catholic Church. It is a defined article of the Catholic Faith that Catholics must believe. The solemn Profession of Faith of the Ecumenical Council of Florence under Pope Eugene IV, says the following:

“The sacrosanct Roman Church ... firmly believes, professes, and teaches that the matter pertaining to the Old Testament, of the Mosaic law, which are divided into ceremonies, sacred rites, sacrifices, and sacraments, because they were established to signify something in the future, although they were suited to the divine worship at that time, after Our Lord’s coming had been signified by them, ceased, and the sacraments of the New Testament began; ... All, therefore, who after that time observe circumcision and the Sabbath and the other requirements of the law, it (the Roman Church) declares alien to the Christian faith and not in the least fit to participate in eternal salvation, unless someday they recover from these errors.”[33]

It is clear then that no Pope could trample under foot this Scriptural and Dogmatic truth if he wished to be true to the Catholic Faith, and to the Papal Office. Yet at the time of Pope John Paul II’s death, the world’s media buzzed with claims that John Paul II had rejected this basic doctrine; that the doctrine no longer applies. Here are but a few examples:

● Abraham Foxman from the Jewish Anti-Defamation League, as mentioned, celebrated Pope John Paul II as the man who “rejected the destructive concept of supersessionism,” that is, rejected the Catholic truth that the New Covenant of Jesus Christ superseded and made obsolete the Old Judaic Covenant.

● The Jerusalem Post headlined its tribute, “What Will Follow the Best Pope the Jews Ever Had?”, and likewise lauded John Paul for rejecting supersessionism.[34]

● Sergio Itzhak Minerbi, Israel’s former Ambassador to the Ivory Coast, Belgium, praised John Paul’s new approach to Judaism. Though Minerbi criticized the Pope’s alleged attempts to “Christianize the Holocaust,” he nonetheless wrote the following accolade: “For centuries, the Church has claimed to be the ‘true Israel’, thus substituting the Jewish religion. It is therefore important that, in a meeting with the Jewish community in Mainz on 17 November 1980, the Pope announced his respect for ‘the people of God, of the Old Covenant, which has never been revoked by God’.”[35]

● The Boston Globe likewise eulogized that John Paul’s “outreach to the Jewish people” was “remarkable”, ad-ding that “He spoke of a special relationship between the Jews and the Church and insisted that the Old Covenant had never been revoked. His words put forth possibilities for theologians that are yet to be fully explored.”[36]

● The day after the Pope’s death, Father David Marie a Jaeger said, “public opinion polls published towards the end of his [John Paul’s] 2000 pilgrimage to the Holy Land” indicated that “a great majority of Israelis who were interviewed declared John Paul II their favorite candidate for Chief Rabbi of Israel!”[37] It is a woeful day for the Catholic Church when the Vicar of Christ is favored for the post of Chief Rabbi — and of Israel, of all places. The Israelis would never have heaped such praise on John Paul II — would never have considered John Paul as one of their own — had he reinforced the teaching of Saint Peter, Saint Paul and the Council of Florence on the supersession of the Old Covenant with the New.

Sacred Doctrine Inverted

But is it true? Did Pope John Paul II actually say these things? Catholic Family News readers will recognize these as rhetorical questions, since tragically, the answer is yes.

In what appears to be an attempt to make “explicit” what was “implicit” in the Council Document Nostra Aetate,[38] Pope John Paul II said the following in a speech to a Jewish Community in Mainz, Germany on November 17, 1980:

“The first dimension of this dialogue, that is, the meeting between the people of the Old Covenant, never revoked by God, and that of the New Covenant, is at the same time a dialogue within our Church, that is to say, between the first and second part of her Bible ... Jews and Christians, as children of Abraham, are called to be a blessing to the world. By committing themselves together for peace and justice among all men and peoples.”[39]

This statement of the Pope, in fact, is now quoted in modern Church documents to reinforce the new, post-Conciliar teaching against “supersessionism”.

In 1985, the Vatican issued its Notes on the Correct Way to Present the Jews and Judaism in Preaching and Catechesis of the Roman Catholic Church.[40] The document’s introduction bids the reader to take “special note” of Paragraph 3 “which speaks about Judaism as a present reality and not only as a historical (and thus superseded) reality.” When we turn to Paragraph 3, we see that the Notes quotes the above speech where John Paul speaks of “the people of God of the Old Covenant” which has “not been revoked.”[41]

Far from claiming that the Notes misinterpreted his words, John Paul spoke of his unqualified support of the document. On October 28, 1985, John Paul II said “[The] Notes on the Correct Way to Present the Jews and Judaism in Preaching and Catechesis of the Roman Catholic Church” is “proof of the Holy See’s continued interest in and commitment to this renewed relationship between the Catholic Church and the Jewish people,” and that the Notes “will greatly help toward freeing our catechetical and religious teaching of a negative or inaccurate presentation of Jews and Judaism in the context of the Catholic Faith”.[42]

Thus it is demonstrable that what the Jews say of John Paul II is true; the words they quote from John Paul II are found in Vatican documents with John Paul II’s approval.

Yet we know from Saint Peter’s sermon on the first Pentecost, that the Old Covenant is not still in force, not acceptable to God, not capable of providing salvation. We know from the words of Our Lord Jesus Christ that those who will not accept Him will die in their sins. We know from Saint John’s Epistle that he who denies that Jesus is the Christ, is anti-Christ. We know from Saint Paul’s Letter to the Hebrews that the New Covenant has made obsolete the Old. And we know from the infallible Council of Florence that the Old Covenant ceased with the establishment of the New Covenant by Jesus Christ.

We know, then, that Pope John Paul’s rejection of supersessionism is an error that must be neither embraced nor applauded. Catholics have a duty to resist Pope John Paul II’s new teaching, as it defies Sacred Scripture and Sac-red Tradition. It leaves these non-Catholics in the darkness of their false religion and thus deprives them of sanctifying grace. It imperils the eternal destiny of countless souls. In resisting these novel teachings, we are only following the instruction given by Pope Innocent III who taught that if a Pope departs from the universal teaching and customs of the Church,“ he need not be followed”.[43] Saint Robert Bellarmine adds that he must also be resisted.[44]

Santo Subito?

Two weeks before Pope John Paul II’s double beatification of Popes Pius IX and John XXIII, the progressivist Commonweal journal observed:

“The splendid absurdity of the coming event can be grasped when we recognize that John XXIII and John Paul II would both have been condemned for their ideas and their words had they expressed them when Pius IX was in power.”[45]

Pope John Paul II’s commitment to the liberal reforms of the Second Vatican Council are precisely what would have earned his condemnation under Blessed Pius IX. Pope John Paul II’s pontificate effectively pitted today’s Catholics against the teachings of his predecessors. Very few in the media recognized this, and those who did viewed it as praiseworthy.

One of the few was James Carroll, no friend of the Catholic Church. Nonetheless, his recent piece in Time accurately dispelled the myth of Pope John Paul II’s conservativsm:

“This may be what you think: John Paul II was the conservative Pope. His pontificate was marked by a resurgent Roman Catholic traditionalism, setting the Church against liberalizing forces of all kinds. John Paul II is remembered above all for shoring up structures of the past.

“This is wrong. John Paul II boldly presided over the maturing of political and theological revolutions in Catholicism. Perhaps despite himself, he was a Pope of change, accomplishing two radical shifts — one in the Church’s attitude toward war and the other in its relationship to the Jewish people. Taken together, those represent the most significant change in Church history, and they lay the groundwork for future changes that could well go beyond what this Pope foresaw or even wanted. In each case, John Paul II brought to completion a movement that was begun by his predecessors John XXIII and Paul VI, the Popes of the Second Vatican Council.”[46]

James Carroll sees Pope John Paul II’s continuing revolution as a “maturing” of Catholic thought. Pope Saint Pius X would have seen it for what it was: Modernism in action. Likewise, Pope Pius XII would have recognized John Paul II as one of the progressivist theologians he warned against in Humani Generis “who reduce to a meaningless formula the necessity of belonging to the true Church in order to gain eternal salvation.”[47]

Yet none of these facts seem to count in the post-Conciliar age of sentiment, as was evident in Pope John Paul II’s funeral Mass. Here churchmen and laity called for the instant canonization (Santo Subito!) of the Polish Pontiff. Yet the effects of John Paul II’s papacy have been anything but edifying. Columnist Joe Sobran noted:

“... orthodox Catholics ask whether his papacy has been a success. He seems to have retained a naive Sixties faith in ecumenical ‘dialogue,’ however fruitless it turned out to be. The maladies that have infected the Church since the Second Vatican Council (at which he was an enthusiastic participant) haven’t been remedied — liturgical corruption, low Mass attendance, poor Catholic education, errant bishops, heretical theologians.

“And one of the worst scandals in Catholic history erupted on his watch: the revelation that homosexual priests had been abusing boys. This was a natural result of the homosexual domination of American (and possibly other) Catholic seminaries that had been increasing since the 1960s, well before John Paul’s papacy; but he seemed to have had no clue that it was going on and hardly to have believed it when he learned. That doesn’t speak well for his supervision.”[48]

All that Glitters is Not Gold

Pope John Paul II has met his Judge, Who according to Pope Saint Pius X, will demand a strict account of his Papal stewardship.[49] The purpose of this article is not to judge John Paul’s soul, as that is God’s prerogative alone.

Catholics are nonetheless called upon to appraise the words and actions of his pontificate by the only measuring rod that counts: the infallible and immutable Catholic Faith of all time. Against this measure, Pope John Paul II is found wanting, and nothing is gained by pretending otherwise. We pray for his soul, but we do not follow his progressivist lead. He was a Pope who gave much bad example.[50]

As Catholics, we have the duty to avoid shallow emotion and sentiment. We do not adulate a Pope who tells members of false religions what they want to hear; that they will find salvation by clinging to false creeds. This fabrication is the glitter of earth, not the glory of God. It is the foolishness of the world, not the wisdom of a saint. It paves the way for the eternal damnation of countless souls.

Our first duty, rather, is to adhere to the Athanasian Creed: “Whoever wishes to be saved must, first of all, hold the Catholic Faith, which, unless a man shall have held it whole and inviolate, he will most certainly perish forever.”

We must pray that a future Pope will risk the unpopularity and instruct Catholics once again in this central truth of our Faith. A good starting point would be to incorporate into a future encyclical the gentle but firm words of the eminent theologian, Father Francis Connell:

“Far from minimizing the exclusiveness of the Catholic religion, our people should be instructed unhesitatingly, whenever the occasion offers, and to let non-Catholics know that we consider them as deprived of the ordinary means of salvation, however excellent their intentions.”[51]
Without commenting on John Paul II specifically, I will say that it is true that so much of what we do, think, and decide is based entirely on feelings these days...not a good thing.  And that is a point that is well worth making.
(09-09-2009, 05:11 AM)matthew_talbot Wrote: [ -> ]

Two Catholic young men of my acquaintance, debating with a Protestant Minister, were likewise laughed to scorn when they in-formed the Protestant he must become Catholic to be saved. “What?”, said the Protestant, “You obviously don’t read the writings of your own Pope. He prays with Protestants. He praises Martin Luther as a man of ‘deep religiousness’. He calls Protestants ‘disciples of Christ’. He never says it is necessary to become Catholic for salvation.”

Thats because JPII was about as much of a Catholic AS Luther.
This article is a product of ignorance. Just ignore it. Move along and pray and work for the Church's freedom and exultation, for Her restoration and resurrection.
(09-09-2009, 10:09 PM)Baskerville Wrote: [ -> ]
(09-09-2009, 05:11 AM)matthew_talbot Wrote: [ -> ]

Two Catholic young men of my acquaintance, debating with a Protestant Minister, were likewise laughed to scorn when they in-formed the Protestant he must become Catholic to be saved. “What?”, said the Protestant, “You obviously don’t read the writings of your own Pope. He prays with Protestants. He praises Martin Luther as a man of ‘deep religiousness’. He calls Protestants ‘disciples of Christ’. He never says it is necessary to become Catholic for salvation.”

Thats because JPII was about as much of a Catholic AS Luther.

Baskerville, I've let you push the envelope for a while, but, you know, I have to draw the line somewhere.

Take two days off posting for promoting sedevacantism and don't do it again.
One cannot judge this Pope. Only God can.
But one can appreciate and underline the numerous errors in order to prevent these to come again (hard work in the times being)
Fr Luigi Villa wrote two books against  popes John XXIII and Paul VI beatifications.
Certainly he barred the way to Paul VI ("Paolo Sesto beato?" 198 pages of heresies, errors and apalling misleadings)
I've always thought that he was a good-hearted man, just lacking in the areas of leadership and liturgical purity.

However, kindness and charisma are all people think about these days in so many different areas.  Actually, take true kindness out of it.  Make it about just charisma, and you see why we have the president we do.  :pazzo:

Even my very, very liberal, pro-choice friends loved JPII, though.  One in particular probably disagreed with him on every major issue (she is basically an atheist) but loved him anyway for his charisma, yet is neutral on Benedict because she thinks he's stricter or something.  I don't know.  It's all about perception, I guess.
OCLittleFlower Wrote:Even my very, very liberal, pro-choice friends loved JPII, though.  One in particular probably disagreed with him on every major issue (she is basically an atheist) but loved him anyway for his charisma, yet is neutral on Benedict because she thinks he's stricter or something.  I don't know.  It's all about perception, I guess.
Even for traditional Catholics, I say. Our (mis)perception of his practical actions is what traditional Catholics see, which is because our particular traditional Catholic "scene" feeds us with such. This article is the perfect example, the author only sees what he wants to, in John Paul's actions and works. Here's is the biggest example:
Quote:In his 1966 book Theological Highlights of Vatican II, Father Ratzinger, said that the Council document Lumen Gentium was purposely constructed along ecumenical lines to lay the foundation for Vatican II’s Decree on Ecumenism. Father Ratzinger says that according to Lumen Gentium:

“The Catholic Church has no right to absorb the other Churches... [A] basic unity — of Churches that remain Churches, yet become one Church — must replace the idea of conversion, even though conversion retains its meaningfulness for those in conscience motivated to seek it.
Mr. Vennari (God bless him for his Faith) sees only his preconceived notions he has. The "Churches that remain Churches" refers to the Eastern schismatic sects (which are materally Churches) and not at all to the heretical Protestant sects which, though materially "Ecclesial" by valid Baptisms, have no true Ecclesiastical structure. They have no true (validly ordained) priests.
Yes, there are many hard things to understand about the Pope John Paul II's actions and words but the truth of the situation will be revealed and just maybe it will be against our opinions of the personal circumstances. So we should rather first pray to our Mother Mary and our God the Holy Ghost for His Gift of Understanding to be able to discern what people's intentions are. I'm just saying we need to be careful of the judgements we make of others, we must to fear the sin of rash judging, especially our Lord's Vicar.
It is hard to remember what it used to be like, when you knew any minute the nukes could rain down and eliminate the USA.  But that is how it was.  A fear we lived with constantly.  So when JPII defied the commies, and ordered his plane into Poland, he became a hero and a leader of the West and its fight against the communist menace.  And he was genuine in this regard, teaming up with Thatcher and Reagan to defeat Russia.  From that point on he was a "conservative".

However, in Church matters, JPII was a big liberal.  Just look at the name he chose, and that is all you need to know.  He was definitely a suspect material (not formal) heretic with regards to universalism, even getting caught saying  we didn't know if there was anyone in hell.  Just look at the title of his book "CROSSING the threshold of Hope".  Then there was his disastrous encyclical on women, which he had to recant by by calling it "merely a meditation". His horrible comments on "descended into hell".  He brought in altar girls and communion in the hand.  He did nothing to crack down on the openly heretical bishops.  He didn't reform the horrible N.O.  And finally, he did nothing to save little children from being sodomized, even though he knew about it.  In fact he helped Cardinal Law flee the cops and avoid justice, rewarding the holy cardinal with a plush job in Rome complete with a driver and a marble lined apartment.  And then there was the public scandals, from kissing the Koran to Assisi to World Youth Day.  Oh, and there were the outright lies about Fatima, which he never joined in on, but he allowed to happen.  I will say he never said the consecration was done, and he never said the full third secret was released, but he allowed these lies to be officially proclaimed by the Vatican.

Pope JPII was a disaster for the Church.
I occasionally find it disheartening that you don't need an imprimatur to publish your writings anymore.  It helps keep crap from being published.
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