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Full Version: Pope John Paul II and the Animist Ritual in Togoville, 1985
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In the Statement of Reservations concerning the Beatification of John Paul II* which was released earlier this year I was deeply distressed to read the following: 

"...upon his arrival at this place, “a sorcerer began to invoke the spirits: ‘Power of water, I invoke you. Ancestors, I invoke you.’” Following this invocation of “spirits,” the Pope was presented “with a receptacle full of water and flour. [He] first made a slight bow and then dispersed the mixture in all directions. In the morning he had performed the same action before Mass. That pagan rite [!] signifies that he who receives the water, symbol of prosperity, shares it with his ancestors by throwing it on the ground.” [L’Osservatore Romano, Italian edn., August 11, 1985, p. 5].

This has greatly troubled me since it seems directly contrary to the meritorious actions of the Martyrs when they chose torture and death rather than burn one grain of incense before a statue of Jupiter or the Numen of Caesar. I think in particular of the Roman Martyrology for the Nativity of Our Lord:

"At Nicomedia, many thousand martyrs, who had assembled for divine service on our Lord's Nativity.  When Emperor Diocletian ordered the doors of the church to be closed, fire to kindled here and there, a vessel with incense to be put before the entrance, and a man to cry out that those who wished to escape from the fire should come out and burn incense to Jupiter, all with one voice answered that they preferred to die for Christ.  They were consumed in the fire, and thus merited to be born in heaven on the day on which Christ vouchsafed to be born on earth for the salvation of the world".

In order to check that the event mentioned in the Statement really happened I contacted the archive office of L'Osservatore Romano to request a scanned copy of page 5 of the Italian Edition of the 11th of August 1985 (which is cited in the Statement). I have attached the scanned page.

[Image: 6208798311_97e5190c26_m.jpg]

It can be accessed here: http://farm7.static.flickr.com/6122/6208...0c26_b.jpg

About two-thirds through the article "una preghiera nella foresta sacra" I found the relevant paragraph:

Ed è stato proprio un omaggio agli antenati il primo gesto compiuto da Giovanni Paolo II appena giunto a Togoville. Gli è stata portata una zucca secca riempita con acqua e farina di mais. Il Papa l'ha presa tra le sue mani e dopo un leggero inchino ha sparso l'acqua tutto intorno. Lo stesso gesto aveva compiuto questa mattina a Kara, prima di celebrare la messa. Si tratta di un'usanza alla quale i togolesi tengono in modo particolare. L'ospite accetta l'acqua, simbolo della prosperita, e la condivide con gli antenato spargendola su quella stessa terra che ne custodisce le spoglie mortali e lo spirito. Le breve cerimonia si è svolta nel piu assolut silenzio.

My translation with the help of Google:

"The first gesture which was made by John Paul II after arriving in Togoville was an act of homage to the ancestors. A gourd was filled with water and dry corn flour. The Pope took it between his hands and bowed slightly after the water was scattered all around. The same gesture was made ​​this morning in Kara, before celebrating mass. This is a custom to which the Togolese are particularly attached. The guest accepts the water, a symbol of prosperity, and shares it with his ancestors by scattering it on the same ground that houses their mortal remains and their spirit. The brief ceremony was held in the most absolute silence."

Now, I understand that prayer with non-Catholics in their rites is forbidden by divine law. How much more, then, must active participation in a Voodoo (or Animist, to use the modern term) ritual be offensive to God? My problem is that so few Catholics seem to understand that something is very wrong here and appear to think that this action posed absolutely no obstacle to the Beatification of the late Holy Father.

My fear is that the late Pope will be canonised without any of these 'problematic' (to say the least) issues being addressed and explained to the faithful. If John Paul II is canonised and canonisation is indeed infallible what does this mean for the concept of holiness? Can God reward the refusal to participate outwardly even in the smallest degree in a pagan rite and at the same time (since there is no time in God) reward the contrary of that? My head is spinning as I feel as if the principle of non-contradiction has been trampled underfoot.

*http://www.remnantnewspaper.com/2011-033...cation.htm
This isn't even about the Faith, this is about keeping your sanity.  "That the cult of belief is one," is of the natural law.  Religious syncretism is a sin against Natural Theology, to say nothing of the Divine and Catholic Faith, yet.

I can say nothing further on these forums because it would be banned, so I just say, seek elsewhere.
This is a JPII classic.

No news here.
Jp2 was definitely not a saint. If they canonise him it will cause a lot of Trads to rethink. Which is why I think God has to bring this mess to a close and soon. I would cease any alligence to a church that formerly considered Jp2 a saint. It would be too much of a contradiction for me
(10-04-2011, 10:33 AM)jordanawef Wrote: [ -> ]This isn't even about the Faith, this is about keeping your sanity.  "That the cult of belief is one," is of the natural law.  Religious syncretism is a sin against Natural Theology, to say nothing of the Divine and Catholic Faith, yet.

Indeed.

Quote:I can say nothing further on these forums because it would be banned, so I just say, seek elsewhere.

Yes. I would like to comment, but I also don't want to risk locking the thread.
I think it says a lot that no-one is able to defend the late Holy Father's actions. When I raised the issue in a Scottish Catholic newspaper the media consultant of one of the Bishops intervened, wrote that the ritual never took place, and more or less told the editor to stop any more correspondence on the issue.

FWIW, I believe fully that John Paul II was a valid Pope. I just wonder if this and other such actions are part of the Mystery of Iniquity penetrating the Church.
(10-10-2011, 04:52 AM)Scotus Wrote: [ -> ]I think it says a lot that no-one is able to defend the late Holy Father's actions.

Well, there are some who try in the name of loyalty to the pope, but at what expense? I, personally, do not think they are defensible; they are completely at odds with the Faith.  In defending the actions of these popes I would be betraying the Faith.

Nevertheless, these popes appealed to the teachings of Vatican II to justify what they did, yet they tell us that we must interpret the council "in the light of tradition". That is exactly why the ambiguity of Vatican II was designed to accomplish: the 'reformers' get to have their fordidden fruit and eat it, too.

The wool is being pulled over the eyes of the sheep while the wolves feed on the flock. Unfortunately, the feast continues as misinformed Catholics continue to "tolerate with the most indifference this pestiferous wind of impiety" (St. Pius X, Editae Saepe).

Quote: When I raised the issue in a Scottish Catholic newspaper the media consultant of one of the Bishops intervened, wrote that the ritual never took place, and more or less told the editor to stop any more correspondence on the issue.

Of course he did. What else could he do?  :)
(10-10-2011, 04:52 AM)Scotus Wrote: [ -> ]FWIW, I believe fully that John Paul II was a valid Pope.

What would he have had to have done for you to have very slight doubts?
(10-10-2011, 05:44 AM)ggreg Wrote: [ -> ]
(10-10-2011, 04:52 AM)Scotus Wrote: [ -> ]FWIW, I believe fully that John Paul II was a valid Pope.

What would he have had to have done for you to have very slight doubts?

For the Pope to declare as infallible something that contradicts a previously-defined dogma.
Why would any Pope invoke infallibility if he does not believe in infallibility.

You cannot be "infallible" about anything if you don't believe in absolute truth and this Pope does not.  He believes the truth is something you work towards and that each age of man understands the truth in their old way.  That is why he can pray with Protestants and Jews and Muslims whereas Catholics in the past were martyred before doing any such thing.

So your scenario is unlikely.  Likewise I doubt any Pope is going to deny the Resurrection either because modernists don't do that.  They are grey about pretty much everything.  You cannot pin down what they mean, because they won't be tied to something as barbaric and old fashioned as simple plain speaking truth.

Canonisations were widely believed to be infallible for 100s or years.  It makes sense that they were since we cannot be expected to have communion with the saints unless we can be sure they were and are saints.

The dodgy canonisations under JP2, his "saint factory" has already produced some pretty questionable saints.  But questionable is one thing.  Being absolutely sure someone is not a saint is another.  I am certain that JP2 does not qualify by any stretch of the imagination.  So if he were made a saint, I'd leave the Roman Catholic Church.  I could simply not deal with the intellectual mismatch of what a saint JP2 and therefore a canonised new springtime would represent.  Ultimately I have to follow my rational mind and what makes rational sense to me otherwise I could follow a cult to the gates of perdition whilst telling myself it was all going to be OK.

I hope it does not happen, but if it does, for me it will be a line in the sand I am not prepared to cross.  If God condemns me to hell for that then all I will be able to answer is that in good conscience I just don't understand how I was expected to see the glint of truth under such a lot of evil banal crap.
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