Pope John Paul II and the Church

By Peter Hebblethwaite | Go to book overview
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Europe itself was baptized and acquired its identity through its baptism.

After Compostela in 1989, the next World Youth Day was a pilgrimage to -- obviously -- Czestochowa. It was the first time that John Paul had been able to invite the youth of Europe and the world to the shrine that meant so much to him. No doubt it did wonders for the Polish tourist industry, but it didn't quite recapture the spirit of the pilgrimages in the communist era. There were too many wild swings between "consumerism" on the one hand and chaos and discomfort on the other for minds to concentrate on prayer.

Not everyone understood "pilgrimage" in John Paul's ennobling sense. The result was that Czestochowa 1991 was more like a youth rally of right-wing supporters of the pope than a genuine pilgrimage.

If that happened at Czestochowa, which has a long tradition of pilgrimages, what will happen at Denver, where there is none?

Infallibility boosted in leaked encyclical

( August 13, 1993) Unlike Humanae Vitae in 1968, which was not allowed to exist until it appeared, Pope John Paul's next encyclical, Veritatis Splendor ("The Splendor of Truth"), has been in the air a long time.

It was first announced by John Paul himself in 1987, the 200th anniversary of the death of St. Alphonsus Liguori, patron of confessors and moral theologians. Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger told a cardinals' meeting in 1991 that it would attack the Enlightenment notion that "the good was undiscoverable and inaccessible." But still it did not come.

Last month, Norbert Greinacher, moral theology professor at Tübingen in Germany, claimed direct knowledge of the upcoming encyclical. He denounced it in a July 3 interview in the Italian daily La Repubblica.

"It's not sensational as far as sexuality is concerned," said Greinacher, "but its main point is a still more rigorous and restrictive emphasis on papal infallibility. The whole thing is very negative."


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