The Eclipse of John Paul II?

(WHAT WE NEED NOW. Jayd Henricks).

For the better part of three plus decades the Catholic Church was known in part as a faith community led by the charismatic figures of John Paul II and his deputy, Benedict XVI (Joseph Ratzinger). Their leadership was defined by many things that can be summed up as the authoritative interpreters of Vatican II, which included things like the New Evangelization, clarity in teaching, new ecclesial movements, reform of seminaries, the promulgation of the Catechism of the Catholic Church and the 1983 Code of Canon Law, forceful diplomacy that reshaped the geopolitical world, the empowerment of the laity, and so much more. George Weigel’s monumental biography of John Paul II, A Witness to Hope, is an important reminder of the expansiveness of the pontificate of John Paul II, which continued with Benedict XVI. It is well documented, however, that a hallmark of the Francis pontificate is the neglect of John Paul II. From the relative lack of reference to John Paul’s teachings in the writings of Pope Francis, to the dismantling of the John Paul II Institute, to appointments to the College of Cardinals, dicasteries, and metropolitans, and beyond, there is plenty of evidence of our current Holy Father’s desire to go in a starkly different direction. This is not news to anyone paying attention. Although the Holy Spirit provides particular charisms for different eras, I would levy leaving John Paul II in the past as one of my sharpest criticisms of this current pontificate.

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