< meta name="DC.Date.Valid.End" content="20050825"> Amendment Nine: Thoughts on John Paul II

Monday, April 04, 2005

Thoughts on John Paul II

First, if you haven't ever read Crossing the Threshold of Hope by the late John Paul II, I recommend it. I did not grow up in or anywhere near the Catholic church, and yet, I found a great deal of the philosophy discussed to sound quite familiar. While the book isn't as in depth as it could be, or perhaps should be, the Pope is a clear thinker with an education to complement.

Second, in that book, and throughout the collected teachings of John Paul II, you will no doubt find him to be staunchly pro-life on the abortion issue. However, what most of these media tributes are forgetting is that he was also explicitly and radically pro-woman. While one has to wonder how pro-woman you can be and still resist the ordination of women, at the very least, the idea that you can be one without the other is rejected by his own argument.

Third, the Pope did not relegate his pro-life faith to just the issue of abortion, he was pro-life, all the way, straight down the road. And his anti-war and anti-death penalty views were not so much a directive of his pro-life stance as they were indeed articles of faith incumbent upon every Christian. I haven't even seen him comment on the just war hypothetical, choosing to emphasize peace instead. This is a trait which I believe will be well regarded by history, as it should be by us too.

Finally, a friend of mine from El Salvador asks that I remind people of the tension, to say the least, between John Paul II and liberation theology. While he too mourns the loss of John Paul II because: "he responsibly argued for peace" he also sees this as a moment filled with opportunity and is excited about the Catholic church, "coming home to where its seeds still prosper."

These are things to keep in mind while watching the much deserved tributes of his life. The sad thing is that he is gone, the good thing though is that his teachings will remain.