Postmodern Collage Poetry

A blog about writing collage poetry, post modern poetry, multi lingual poetry

Sunday, April 03, 2005

Pope John Paul II again Deo Gratia

Pope John Paul died yesterday at 85.

As a Poet and a Roman Catholic it is worth a pause and a thought on the life of this man who has sat astride our Church for the past 26 years. I think that in the words of St Jerome we need to separate the mud from the water in the life of this man who has done so much good and truth be known some bad things as well I am not going to talk about the bad things, the way we Catholics treat woman is reprehensable, or the pedophilia crisis is horrible but this is not the time for that conversation but it is there sitting right under the surface and needs to be addressed by our new Pope.

I was 11 in 1978 and I grew up in a home that was full bore liberal Catholic; guitar masses, women reading the Gospels at Mass, Liberation Theology and a desire to be "ecumenical". I also grew up in Chicago among many sons and daughters of Poland, hell Chicago has over 3 million Poles and Polish Americans and their pride in John Paul was justified

Pope John Paul II ended all of this and some of it was good and some his reaction was bad. I now find that I do not miss the "folk Catholicism" of that period and I find myself connected to my fellow Catholics in the things that matter, the Eucharist and the Community.

One of the biggest results of John Paul II's centralization of our Church was the end of Comunidades de Base or Base Communities. John Paul II looked upon these Lay groups as Communist and unmanageable. It is true that these groups were very progressive even Socialist in places like Nicaragua and Brazil but when these groups were destroyed a void resulted and that void was filled by Right Wing Evangelical Churches in Latin America, since 1978 120 million Catholics have left the Church in Latin America and many of their new "pastors" are former Base Community activists who opened their own business so to speak. This fruit was not anticipated.

A second failing of John Paul is the fact that intellectual curiosity and questioning was stifled. Theologians like Hans Kung, Yve Congar and Charles Curran were silenced and Theologians like Matthew Fox were expelled from the Church. This is not a proud legacy and is regretable.

But having said this John Paul II led a remarkable life. His was the voice that challenged Communism and gave succour to a part of the World that was enslaved. I realize that many 'intellectuals' cringe at using the word enslaved but the fact is that the fall of the Berlin Wall, Solidarity, and the end of Marxism as a global movement (except in American University Towns, and Cuba and Vietnam) was a great gift to Humanity. Global Marxism killed so many more people than even Nazism and it needed to be placed in the dustbin of history. He opened our Church to the truth about the Holocaust and in our relations with Jews, he apologized for the sacking of Constantinople in 1204! well a guess it is better late than never? John Paul also was a fighter for human rights you can disagree with John Paul II but his positions were consistent, no Abortion, no Death Penalty no War an intellectually clear position with no room for grey in a world which today seems to be completely grey with no black and no white.

John Paul II was my Pope I did not agree with him on Liberation Theology's suppression or the other things done but I was also moved by his words and was moved by his charism.

I went to Bolivia from 1993-1995 to work as a Lay Missioner partially motivated by his vision. I worked with inmates and saw the universality of the Catholic Church everyday with people from around the world. I saw the Gospel in action during that time and also allot of petty Church bs but it was John Paul II's vision of a world where every human person was to be cherished that was everywhere and I was moved by that vision.

So we move forward as a Church and we wait to see who our next Pope will be with anticipation, fear and hope-

Peace to You our dear brother Karol-Deo Gratia