Memories of John Paul the Great

On the third anniversary of the death of John Paul the Great, Owl of the Remove records his personal memories. He attended Mass in the Pope’s private chapel and was in Rome when the Pope died. Read it here.

  • Anonymous

    Dear Father,In all humility, I offer for your consideration that Pope John Paul II of blessed memory might be rather uncomfortable with being given the title of “Great”. And that it would be more appropriate for the title, if it were to be given at all, be conferded by history. This seems to be the opinion of many learned Church historians, of which I do not claim to be, that it is too soon and we are too close to be able to objectively judge him in this regard.Please do not take what I am saying as an attempt to repudiate the great work he did for the Church and the world. I simply offer this humble observation.In Christ,Terry

  • Mrs Jackie Parkes MJ

    LOve the picture & link of Pope John Paul the Great!

  • elizabeth

    Terry — I’ve had the same thoughts about JPII; that we just don’t have the necessary objectivity just yet. But if we were to only consider his contribution — and leadership — in bringing down communism in Eastern Europe and Russia, well that alone would earn the title of “great.” And those political considerations are but only a tiny part of his life, his work and his service to the Church.In that historical light, even the irreligious would have to agree on the “great.” Well, except for the communists, I guess.

  • Anonymous

    I would very much caution against referring to the late pontiff as “the Great.”While he did a number of good things he also was reigning during a time that saw the systematic destruction of theology, vocations, spirituality, liturgy, and the rest. I believe that, not taking into account his personal holiness or lack thereof, history will discover that his papacy was not only lacking but incredibly defective. On the other hand, it might be said that recently people might have seen Pope Benedict as only “transitory” but it will most likely end up that our Sovereign Pontiff who is currently gloriously reigning will have a papacy that will be far more successful and far more “great” than John Paul II’s papacy could have ever achieved.

  • Fr. Dwight Longenecker

    dear anonymous, if you don’t want to sign up for a blogger account and give your name, why not at least sign your name at the end of your post the way others do?I disagree with your negative and pessimistic assessment. Under the reign of John Paul II vocations in the developing world soared, Catholics worldwide topped a billion for the first time, new ecclesial movements of all sorts and sizes blossomed throughout the church and the legacy of the papacy increased in power, prestige and purpose.I suspect your negative assessment of his papacy reflects a concern that your particular understanding of Catholicism did not flourish. If I am correct, that is more a problem of your narrow perspective than the magnitude of John Paul as a man and his achievement as pope.

  • Alexander

    I am not anonymous but I would like to make some comments. First let us reflect on the many positives elements of Pope John Paul II’s papacy and pray for his soul. However his papacy was not devoid of scandalous events and actions.JPII was essentially a mixed bag. He did many great things and stood firmly on morals. However this was mixed in with scandalous actions; kissing the Koran – people have died rather than kiss this book, Assisi meetings – making accommodations for pagans to worships their gods (which scripture calls demons) on sacred Church grounds, having immodestly dressed women appear before him (acrobats for example – I am not talking about natives), a weakness in administrative abilities that did not help the situations of dissent and liturgical abuse, He kissed the ring of pro-abortion “archbishop” of Canterbury Rowan Williams and gave him a pectoral cross which is a symbol of authority, he asked St. John the Baptist to protect Islam (that could be a mistranslation on the Vatican’s webpage though), he wanted a common martyrology with non-Catholics which brings into question his beliefs on salvation and the nature of the Church, and his constant meetings with non-Catholics were an ambiguous mess that although developed good relations, most of the time they missed the context of what “ecumenism” is about; their conversion (just take a look at some Jewish reaction to the Good Friday prayer changes for example).A good assessment of the situation can be found here, I invite all to read.I know he did these things with good intentions but these things are not becoming of the Pope and are directly scandalous to our Catholic faith.We however must remember the positives as well. One thing I will remember is his suffering he endured in the later years of his life; a good model for redemptive suffering and offering it up. His fight against communism and standing ground against the perverse morals of the world like abortion and contraceptives are more good examples. The good however is mixed with the bad, and the good does not wipe away the bad. The negative and scandalous actions of John Paul II directly affect the faith and therefore he should not be canonized nor applied the title of “the Great.”This does not mean he was not a pious man and of course this does not mean he was not saved. All I am saying is that he had many great achievements and but it was mixed in with bad stuff. This is my realistic assessment of the situation. I will not go overboard like some and declare JPII and apostate and I will not simply ignore the bad and declare him a Saint; I examined the good and the bad – arguments on both sides and even in the middle. I apologize for flustering anyone but I must make my comments.

  • Alexander

    I will also add that these scandalous actions were never corrected to my knowledge (apologies etc.) and some of them just continued. It is one thing to make mistakes, correct the mistakes so the faithful will not be scandalized or confused and never do the mistakes again. It is a completely different thing to never correct anything – regardless if he thinks what he did was wrong or not – and continue some of these things.

  • kentuckyliz

    I eagerly call him The Great, due to his teaching. His encyclicals, apostolic exhortations, addresses, and post-synodal exhortations are all great teaching and Catholics got into reading these types of things again. We had encyclical study groups at our church. Thinking of where the church was in 1978, and what he did with it, he is certainly Great!!!