Pope John Paul II and the Church

By Peter Hebblethwaite | Go to book overview

At the same time, questions are being raised about the long-promised second document on liberation theology. Brazilian bishops objected that Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, published the first ( NCR, Sept. 7, 1984) without consulting them. Later, in Ratzinger's presence, the pope told Cardinal Paulo Evaristo Ams of Sao Paulo that the Brazilian bishops would be consulted before a second, "positive" document was published.

Last fall, the Brazilian bishops received a draft that bishops' conference members assessed as fairly good. Leonardo Boff also thought it positive. The bishops expected it to be issued in December. Because it has yet to appear, they speculate that criticism from German bishops and Latin Americans at last fall's synod and elsewhere, made drafters afraid to publish a positive document. The Brazilian bishops are not likely to let the impasse pass.


35
Encyclical on Holy Spirit judged pessimistic

( June 20, 1986) Dominum et Vivificantem, released by the Vatican earlier this month, is Pope John Paul's fifth encyclical. It is written as a letter in the first-person singular. It is a personal letter, reflecting the ideas found in the pope's 1976 retreat to the Roman curia, later published as Sign of Contradiction. Some passages are directly borrowed from this earlier work.

For example, the idea that those who reject God do not simply fall into error but devise an anti-truth and an anti-word recurs. There seems to be no middle ground between God and Satan.

Unbelievers are not just bewildered agnostics who do not know. They are inevitably caught up in a dramatic anti-God struggle: "Opposition to God, who is an invisible Spirit, to a certain degree originates in the very fact of the radical difference of the world from God."

Moreover, Satan is infiltrating and omnipresent in modern society, appearing as the agent of death: "Social factors, instead of fos

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