Where were they then?

Where were they then?

Daniel Henninger wonders in the Wall Street Journal where all these talking heads praising Pope John Paul were before he died. For all the praise heaped on him now, there was little praise for him when he was with us.

In the West, where a life of faith or belief was free for the asking, the Pope’s message of spiritual renewal encountered a more sophisticated politics. Here it was understood that if one abetted a popularization of John Paul, it risked also elevating visibility for “Vatican” policies in other realms—abortion, sexual practice or preference, stem-cell research, the ordination of women, and all that.

And so it came to pass in beat reporting and liberal church circles that this pope—notwithstanding his affinities on the death penalty or economics or war—was described to the world as a “conservative.” That is to say, he was ultimately an opposition political force to be kept at arm’s length. It worked.

Until now. John Paul in death is proving a force equal to and possibly more powerful than what he was in life. Past some point this week it became clear that this pope’s death was building into something else—a spirit moving in the room perhaps, whose ultimate effects and direction are hard to predict.

This past week has been amazing time in which the realities of Catholic faith have been exposed for all the world to see and hear. Of course, by next week their attention will turn to the conclave and their hope for a liberal, heterodox pope and after that back to the inanities of the world. But for a brief moment, they stood transfixed and blinking, the veil of a worldly blindness removed from their eyes, seeing the truth of the Gospel proclaimed and not quite knowing what to do with it. For most the veil will return quickly. Perhaps for others, with hearts and minds open to the Truth, it will remain with them for a while.

Written by
Domenico Bettinelli
9 comments
  • So often I am almost an utter pessimist about the state of the world, and the condition of the Church.  But as I forced myself to stay up last night and watch the entire Mass, I saw the gliimers of a miracle happening.

    There, gathered together, were many of the main religious and secular heads of the world.  The government of Iran was seated not far from President Bush.  And Israel and Syria shared the same section.
    Here in the U.S., we have had so much of an outpouring of loss and grief from our evangelical Protestant brethren over the death of a Pope John Paul II—genuine grief at their loss and their empathy for us.  They now see him and us as Christians together is a struggle for life and holiness.

    Our Jewish brothers and sisters also shared so much with us.  I heard last night the the goverment of Sri Lanka pre-empted regular broadcasting to bring the live coverage of the funeral to that torn and often hostile country.

    In the crowds and throngs, in the simplicity and honesty of emotion, the Spirit of the Lord was at work, using John Paul II to strengthen those who seek redemptive values for a suffering humanity—a humanity that can kill unborn children or the infirm without more effort thanit takes to swat a mosquito.

    This gathering is new.  It’s unheard of.  There never was anything ever like this before.  And while the forces hostile to Christ, to Judeo-Christian traditions and sacred beliefs will rage and often seem to triumph, a new wind is blowing.

    We are coming together, Catholic, Protestant, Orthodox, Jew, and yes, even Moslem, in ways not anticipated just a short while ago.  Though dark days may lie ahead and the earth may tremble with man-made and natural disasters, the new spirit, brought about by the loving life and bright star of John Paul II, will never go out.  That is the greatest accomplishment of his—like his Master, he used his suffering and death, life and love to show us a way to the Father. 

    The world changed drastically during his Papacy.  It will never return to where it once was. 

    May this good and faithful servant be welcomed home.  Thank you for a job well done.

  • The same thing happened with Reagan after he died.  All of a sudden they remembered he help to win the Cold War.  Now they seem to have remembered that the Pope was also intricately involved in bringing down Communism.  They won’t admit the obvious until forced to.

  • Yes, it’s the Reagan thing all over again, exactly my thoughts as I clicked the link in here. 

    Goodness is impossible to argue with, as are all the people in Rome’s streets.  The press has no way to explain them to itself, let alone the TV viewers.  I have seen shock and disgust on the news.  =)

  • I have been wondering if we’ll see any increase in conversions and vocations from all this.

  • I expect that this will be a period of flux all the way around, Joanne.  People who linger on the edge will get the nerve to come into the church.  People in the Church who find themselves disheartened at the prospect of another Pope who doesn’t want to change everything (because no Pope can!) will get disgusted and wander off.

    Might be a period with a little change, but not doctrinal change, I would expect.  Pssst—-doctrine can’t change.  wink

  • Good point Joanne. 

    I’m reminded that two boxers shake hands before coming out of their corners fighting.  This may be the cancellation of the match.  Or it may be the formalities before the match begins.

  • The entire event was beyond anything I’ve witnessed in my lifetime…it just doesn’t get much better than today….

  • I think many conversions will be attributed to the presence of the Church in the last few weeks (Schiavo case and death of the pope).  As a cradle Catholic, even I have been impressed with it all.

    I don’t know how many of you listen to Limbaugh but I have been looking for him to convert for a few years now.  I think this may speed up the process.  He is very close to some prominent Catholics.

  • Like who? Bill Bennet? Savage is much closer to Catholicism…much closer. I’m praying for him…but my No.1 Conversion Hopeful….tah dah!….Christopher Hitchens…..Lord, I’m playing with fire…literally!

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