The Rhetoric of Pope John Paul II: The Pastoral Visit as a New Vocabulary of the Sacred

Synopsis

John Paul II's frequent use of international pastoral visits to communicate directly with local church members and the society in which they live has become a distinctive mark of his papacy. While media coverage of these visits is extensive, most commentators are perplexed by the pope's enigmatic style. This book explains this ambiguity by examining John Paul II's rhetorical strategy and analyzing his purposeful choices in planning, arranging themes, managing form and imagery, and performing the visit. Using the 1987 visit to the United States as a prototype for rhetorical study, the author treats the visit's discourse and symbols, and their contexts and arrangements, as observable data that can be interpreted using the accommodation-resistance dialectic to locate religious vocabularies in relation to secularizing tendencies. The pope's overseas pastoral visits emerge as a rhetorical response to a church and society deeply affected by secularization and pluralism, and as a new way of speaking about the sacred.

Additional information

Contributors:
Publisher: Place of publication:
  • Westport, CT
Publication year:
  • 1999