John Paul II, he who barring the intervention of the Almighty (which would not surprise me even one iota) is roughly half-a-year away from being canonized, is in many ways the neo-catholic version of John the Baptist; a voice that cried out from the post-conciliar rubble, “Prepare the way for the church of man. Make straight its paths!”
The adoring throngs of santo subito fanatics dutifully bellow in their own turn, “Truly, I say to you, among those Pontiffs of Rome, there has risen no one greater than John Paul the Great!”
In hindsight, one can just imagine that as the College of Cardinals was preparing to elect Jorge Bergoglio, the voice of the Polish Papa could be heard shouting from the tomb:
“He who is coming is bolder than I! His winnowing fork in his hand, he will gather the worldly, the heathen and the heretic into the granary, but the traditionalists, restorationists, and the triumphalistic who dare to seek doctrinal security, these he will burn with unquenchable fire!”
As a litany of humanist proclamations pass the lips of Pope Francis on a near daily basis, I am reminded of a personal reflection offered by a member of what promises to be a notorious conclave, Cardinal Daniel DiNardo.
Shortly after his episcopal consecration in 1998, the newly named Bishop of Sioux City found himself in Rome for an ad limina visit. At the end of the audience with Pope John Paul II, Cardinal DiNardo now fondly recalls, “He looked me straight in the eyes and said, ‘Remember bishop, it’s all about the human person.’”
Any honest review of the magisterium of John Paul II will reveal that it is littered with affirmations concerning the rights of the human person, even as it is dreadfully thin on references to the sovereign rights of Christ the King.
Wish to quantify it for yourself? Try this:
Do a Google search for specific phrases (enclosed in quotation marks) as drawn exclusively from the Holy See’s online archive of Pope John Paul II’s Encyclicals, Apostolic Letters, speeches, homilies, audiences, etc. (To do so, simply add site:vatican.va/holy_father/john_paul_ii in the search field to narrow your search to this collection.)
Though this is far from a scientific endeavor, the number of results returned for the searches listed below does, with a degree of accuracy, reflect the reality of his papacy.
“Human Person” …………………… 1,580 results
“Rights of the Human Person” ……. 603 results
“Christ the King” ………………………. 82 results
“Rights of Christ the King” ……………….. ZERO
All about the human person indeed!
At this, one may reasonably wonder where Pope Benedict XVI fits into this scenario.
At first glance, he would seem to be an anomaly, but this is largely the case only insofar as liturgy (no small matter, mind you) and papal comportment are concerned. On the whole, he too was an off-the-hook ecumenist, totally committed to glorifying the Second Vatican Council in spite of the reality of its devastating effects, having precious little interest in proclaiming the Social Kingship of Jesus Christ.
In his own way, Benedict XVI also prepared the way for the current pontificate, albeit inadvertently, as his desire to begin the work of restoring the “triumphalistic” liturgy of old to its proper place of honor, in addition to poking the hornet’s nest of the same secular and religious liberals who love themselves some Francis, obviously contributed to the speedy backlash known as Conclave 2013.
My sense, if I may wax somewhat apocalyptic, is that the Lord in His infinite goodness raised up Benedict specifically to liberate the Mass of the Saints in order to nurture, encourage, and prepare His remnant for a definitive clash between the unfaithful Bride who bedded down with the world and the long since forgotten Spouse and King to whom all are beholden.
If indeed John Paul II is the church of man’s very own John the Baptist, one is forced to consider that just as Jesus is the “Last Adam,” perhaps Pope Francis is the Last Roman Pontiff who will lead the final charge in the anthropomorphizing work of Vatican Council II, ushering it toward its inevitable defeat.
Now, that is not to say that the end of time is at hand; maybe it is, maybe it isn’t.
Either way, I have a sense that we are fast approaching a point in time when the hand of the Sovereign Lord will be forced. No, it will be neither pretty nor pleasant, but eventually it must take place.
When? I haven’t a clue, but I will say this; the raising of John Paul II to the Altars may just be the mockery that invites, at long last, a Divine, “Enough is enough.”