Wednesday, April 06, 2005

The concern of John Paul II

A friend, after watching several media presentations on John Paul II, remarked that John Paul II stood against communism in Eastern Europe and Poland, yet refused to stand with Liberation Theology in Latin America.

In the mind of the media, it was a contradiction, evidence of perhaps self-serving interests. In their wrapping, it was a case of John Paul II defending his ‘own’ people against oppression but refusing to defend others against oppression.

My answer is that this is no contradiction at all. This ‘contradiction’ of the media radically fails to understand John Paul II, and it radically fails to understand Liberation Theology.

John Paul II was, above all, a theological pope. And this in the classical sense of properly grounding action in metaphysics, understanding truth in revelation.

He saw to the heart of communism, and stood against it first in metaphysics. John Paul II understood as clearly as Dostoevsky, when Dostoevsky said in one sentence: “Socialism is atheism.” Socialism, and its communistic face, is not morally neutral. It is not just a socio-economic, political movement. In metaphysics, it is a coiled snake that strikes at the heart of transcendent faith. Thus John Paul II realized that communism must be adamantly opposed, even though it cost his life – and it almost did.

Turn now to the Latin Americas and the march of Liberation Theology. In theological naïveté, those looking on could say, “This is a socio-economic, political movement that seeks to defend the poor!” But is that it, really?

John Paul II incisively realized that Liberation Theology was no friend to the poor, though it cloak itself in rhetoric of poverty. He saw behind it the exact metaphysic of socialism, which would use the poor as a door of anti-Christ power.

Liberation Theology was a movement that offered the poor a carrot at the cost of their soul -- a twin to the coiled serpent of socialism.

I’ll never forget the chill that ran through my soul when I read Gustavo Gutierrez, the flagship Catholic theologian of Liberation Theology. Here was the most insidious challenge to apostolic faith that I had ever read. It redefined faith terms as powerfully as Satan had in the wilderness, toward the destruction of the person of Jesus as Christ. My spirit was shocked. I sensed I was reading a practical atheist.

My inner response was that which Dostoevsky judged the Grand Inquisitor: “Sir, your great secret is that you no longer believe. You are an atheist.”

Imagine then my concern when I realized that academia was in love with Liberation Theology, and even ‘Christian intelligentsia’ could not see the spirit behind it, so theologically naïve as to not understand its metaphysic.

But John Paul II was no theological or spiritual novice. With spiritual wisdom and theological intent, he acted decisively against Liberation Theology. The poor of Latin America will thank him one day.

It is only a sign of the great intellectual and spiritual bankruptcy of world media that they do not understand the stand against both communism and Liberation Theology.

These are two mirror coils on an anti-faith snake that would wrap itself around our world, and kill faith in Christ Jesus if it could.

There are other coils of this cosmic serpent that the next pope must face: cosmetic American Christianity sold out to a gospel of materialism, Islamic and satanic jihad, and the postmodern spirituality of self-idolatry. This response was a concern of John Paul II. He knew that Satan exists and is desperately active in our world, and worse still, desperately active in the Catholic hierarchy. He expressed concern that the next pope would be the ‘Black Pope,’ or anti-pope, sold out to the fallen principalities and powers…in practice if not intent. John Paul II knew, perhaps more than any of us, just how easy places of power – specifically church power – can become dark places of predatory abuse and control. So he prayed that the next pope would not be the anti-pope.

This concern of John Paul II should be a matter of prayer for us all.

“Pray that your flight be not in winter,” said our Lord.

“The Son of Man must be betrayed, but woe to Him by whose hand He is betrayed! It would be better for him if he had not been born.”

Let us pray that the next pope, like John Paul II, serves Christ and not anti-Christ.



winston7000 said...

Loy, those are very profound and potentially ominous words that you have posted so well. I got a chill of fear as I neared your summary. Having lived through both an internal and external environment of evil for now over 63 years, I have deep concerns for our future.

It will take an exceptional man to carry on the work begun by Pope John Paul II. I pray that the Cardinals find the wisdom of the Holy Spirit when they meet to elect the successor to John Paul. It is a daunting task.

The Lord always gives us the signs of hope. Now with the looming Papal election, one great sign is the integrity of many of the Cardinals. Though there are fallen sheep and sell-outs among them, there are also men of great character.

We are all, though, called in one form and degree or another, to wage spiritual combat with the forces of Darkness that now threaten to envelop the world. First, we must battle that within and then that surrounds us.

"Thy rod and thy staff" shall guide, protect, and comfort us.

May the spirit of John Paul II be with us and especially the next Pope as we face what could be a mortal battle for the soul of the world.

Loy Mershimer said...

Thanks, Winston for those thoughts.

And I agree and say, Amen. To our prayers, for sure.

On one hand its distressing, when we realize that men like Bernard Law and Roger Mahoney will be choosing the next pope -- the fact they are still in places of favor shows just how deep such scandal goes...and how far up the ladder of hierarchy their actions reach. Even JPII could do no more than barely slap wrists. So on that hand I have no hope.

However, on the other hand, I know that God can make even 'the wrath of man to praise Him.' God can take the most corrupt and sold-out persons and cause their confusion to bring His glory. So in God I hope.

It is true that there are also many good men there now -- thank God. But my hope is in the Lord, in His abundant favor and mercy. Because, honestly, we should be look at the hundreds of millions of dollars of hush money and lawsuit protection of predators, and current hierarchical protection of them, is enough to make one shudder.

I pray that it is not time for judgment, I pray it is not time for Holy Spirit to judge us for allowing wolves and predators to roam in sheeps the name of God's Son.

So, to our prayers! Prayers for mercy and grace...

Let the priests, who minister before the LORD ,
weep between the temple porch and the altar.
Let them say, "Spare your people, O LORD .
Do not make your inheritance an object of scorn,
a byword among the nations.
Why should they say among the peoples,
'Where is their God?' "
"Even now," declares the LORD ,
"return to me with all your heart,
with fasting and weeping and mourning."

Rend your heart
and not your garments.
Return to the LORD your God,
for He is gracious and compassionate,
slow to anger and abounding in love,
and He relents from sending calamity.
Who knows? He may turn and have pity
and leave behind a blessing-
grain offerings and drink offerings
for the LORD your God.