Chapter I, Part 1 the problem: is it the same church? Vatican 2 can be described as a turning point in the history of the Catholic Church. Prior to this event the Church considered herself a 'perfect society' in no need of change

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John Paul the Philosopher

It is known that Carol Wojtyla spent many years in the study of philosophy. He is a world renowned 'phenomenologist' which philosophy is described as 'a technique for discovering what is hidden in appearances by looking at the world through the eyes of an infant...' George Williams, a Unitarian divinity Professor at Harvard University who has known John Paul II for some 16 years, describes this philosophical system as being derived 'from the Bohemian-born Jew, Edward Husserl (1859-1938),' and notes that it 'has led to such recent permutations as the hermeneutic phenomenology of Martin Heidegger and Paul Sartre.' It is pertinent in passing to note that it was Heidegger who specifically dethroned the intellect and replaced it with experience. Professor Williams says that John Paul II 'thought it would be possible to use the methodology of one phenomenologist, Max Scheler, as a starting point for rebuilding a Christian ethic.' (Since when did it need rebuilding?) (6). All this resulted in Wojtyla's doctoral thesis entitled 'The Possibilities for Building a System of Christian Ethics on the Basis of Max Scheler,' written at the Marxist-controlled Jagiellonian University in Poland. (One can see the smiles on the faces of his Marxist docents!)

Anna Tymieniecka, who has translated his book The Active Person into English, and who is a personal friend, summarizes his 'complex thought' in the following terms: 'He stresses the irreducible value of the human person. He finds a spiritual dimension in human interaction, and that leads him to a profoundly humanistic conception of society' (Time, Oct. 30, 1978). Now it blows the mind that any individual familiar with the writings of St. Thomas Aquinas and St. John of the Cross could dissipate his energies on such trash - truly the last gasps and dregs of 'nominalist' thinking. But wait! John Paul II has another side. He obtained a second doctorate from the Angelicum in Rome under Father Garrigou-Lagrange on the 'Metaphysical and Psychological nature of the Faith in the Writings of St. John of the Cross.' In this thesis he makes the supernatural faith of St. John the object of a pseudo-scientific investigation. I shall give but one quote from his text: 'Faith... not only produces no knowledge and science, but, as we have said, it blinds the soul and deprives it of all other knowledge and science which cannot judge [faith] well. Other kinds of knowledge can be acquired by the light of the intellect, but the knowledge that is of faith is acquired without the light of the intellect. Faith negates the natural light, and if that light is not darkened, faith is lost...' (9). I leave it to the reader to make sense of the statement.

Another important influence in his thinking is Teilhard de Chardin - in his book The Sign of Contradiction he goes so far as to compare the insights of Teilhard with those of Genesis! Finally, among John-Paul II's close friends are such individuals as Karl Rahner, who as Philip Trower states, 'has done for existentialism what Teilhard de Chardin did for evolutionism.' This same Karl Rahner, the darling of modernist Catholic intellectuals, and probably the most influential theologian in the Conciliar Church, was condemned by Pius XII, and rehabilitated by Paul VI.

John Paul the Theologian

'My faith... had nothing to do with any kind of conformism ... it was born in the depth of my own self... it was also the fruit of the efforts of my own spirit seeking an answer to the mysteries of man and of the world.'
John Paul II.

Many greeted the election of Wojtyla with joy. Tired of the antics of Paul VI, conservative Catholics saw in him the possibility of a return to sanity. And for a time he seemed to satisfy this need. As Mary Martinez points out in her book From Rome Urgently, the 1977 World Episcopal Assembly had taken recognizance of the fact that the rhythm of Conciliar change had gone too far and too fast. Defections from the church - both lay and religious - were far in excess of 'separated brethren' seeking admission, and even those who stayed within were confused and distraught. It was therefore necessary that John Paul II appear to be more traditional than his predecessor. (In revolutionary terminology this is referred to as a policy of 'two steps forward and one step back.') Conservative Catholics welcomed every action that seemed in the least bit 'papal ,' such as his asking nuns to get back into their habits, his demand for priestly celibacy, his statement in Mexico that the concept of Christ as a revolutionary was false, and his (ever so gentle) condemnation of Hans Kung (14). Even more encouraging was his condemnation of the little known Dominican, Jacques Pohier (15) - the first clearly Catholic action in many a year. He was characterized by the French paper Le Monde as a smiling prelate with a finger lifted up saying 'No to abortion,' 'No to divorce,' 'No to birth control,' 'No to marriage of priests,' 'No to homosexuality' and: 'Yes to toleration.'

For those who were able to read the 'signs of the times,' things became much clearer with the publication of his first Encyclical Redemptor hominis (The Redeemer of Mankind). In this document he openly states (using 'I' instead of the traditional 'we') that he intends no departure from the principles established by his post-Conciliar predecessors and the Second Vatican Council, but rather that he intends to further 'develop' the 'unique inheritance left to the Church by Popes John XXIII and Paul VI...'' an 'inheritance' which 'has struck deep roots in the awareness of the Church in an utterly new way, quite unknown previously, thanks to the Second Vatican Council...' Lest he leave us in any doubt, he continues: 'the ways on which the Council of the Century has set the Church going, ways indicated by the late Paul VI in his first encyclical, will continue to be for a long time the ways that all of us must follow... through the Church's consciousness, which the Council considerably developed...' The idea of the Church having a 'consciousness' that can 'develop' and indeed 'deepen' is somewhat novel and so Wojtyla explains: 'the Church's consciousness must go with universal openness: and further, this 'consciousness' is 'enlightened and supported by the Holy spirit' and 'is formed in dialogue.' Now according to sociologists the Church is, or was a 'closed society' as opposed to the modern world which is 'open and 'pluralistic' because in embraces a wide variety of view points. Yet the new Church is not only developing its consciousness, it is also according to John Paul II, a 'pluralistic Church,' the degree or limits of pluralism being determined by the pope, namely himself (16).

The Charism of Transformation

The 'signs of the times' became even clearer with his General Audience on the anniversary of Paul VI's death. Calling Montini his 'spiritual father' (ugh!) and 'the Pope of Vatican II,' he goes on to suggest that his death on the Feast of the Transfiguration was evidence of God's approbation of his life and actions. He describes him as 'the pope of that deep change which was nothing but a revelation of the face of the Church, awaited by the man and world of today!' (Is this not an endorsement of 'ongoing revelation?') He goes on to describe a new 'charism' being given to his spiritual father, one previously absent throughout the entire history of the Church! 'the charism of transformation!'

Let me quote him directly: 'The Lord, having called Pope Paul to Himself on the solemnity of the Transfiguration permitted him, and us to know that in the whole work of transformation, of renewal of the Church in the spirit of Vatican II, He is present, as He was in the marvelous event which took place on Mount Tabor... John XXIII and after him, Paul VI, received from the Holy Spirit, the charism of transformation.'

Is it any wonder that Paul VI's canonization is well under way.


Carol Wojtyla or 'pope' John Paul II [2]

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