I had the privilege to be in Krakow, Poland, on the day St John Paul II was canonised. Poland has every right to be proud of ‘its’ pope.
St John Paul II was not only a remarkable spiritual leader during his 27-year papacy but an outstanding political figure. He knew repression while training under the Nazi occupation and later as priest and bishop under the oppression of the Communist regime. He carried out his duties bravely and without fear, based on his belief despite prosecution.
His election as pope was an enormous blow to the Communist regime. It fostered the Polish insurgence against the regime and led to it being considerably weakened in the Soviet Union’s most important satellite.
Clear politics, courage and high ethical standards of St John Paul II, US President Ronald Reagan, UK Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and Germany’s Chancellor Helmut Kohl led to the fall of the brutal Soviet system, ended the Cold War and opened the way to freedom for central Europe.
He was firm on religious and human principles. His open-mindedness led him to greatly improve dialogue with Protestant and orthodox Christians and other religions.
His belief made St John Paul II a powerful character, but personally kind, humble, courageous and extremely open-minded. He excited the world and was one of the greatest personalities of the 20th-21st centuries. It was probably unintentional, but highly symbolic, that he was canonised on April 27, 2014, at a time when the freedom of central Europe is under threat once more.
Blog courtesy of Geopolitical Information Service
The Catholic Herald comment guidelines
•Do not make personal attacks on writers or fellow commenters – respond only to their arguments.
This page is available to subscribers. Click here to sign in or get access.