December 11, 2008

AND HE WAS SUCCEEDED BY THE FIRST AMERICAN POPE:

Giving Thanks for America (George Weigel, December 11, 2008, THE CATHOLIC DIFFERENCE)

[O]ver the years, John Paul came to understand that America had a spiritual vitality that old Europe lacked -- a spiritual vitality that had infused at least some American intellectuals with a contemporary idea of freedom virtually identical to the pope's own. Thus, in the aftermath of the Cold War, John Paul encouraged his fellow-Poles and other citizens of the new democracies of east central Europe to establish contacts with U.S. Catholics in order to build a trans-Atlantic community of conversation and action in defense of freedom rightly understood.

John Paul II gave voice to his mature appreciation of the United States, and his convictions about the challenges before us, in a December 1997 address, delivered when he received the credentials of Lindy Boggs as the new U.S. ambassador to the Holy See:

"No expression of today's [American] commitment to liberty and justice for all can be more basic than the protection offered to those in society who are most vulnerable. The United States of America was founded on the conviction that an inalienable right to life was a self-evident moral truth, fidelity to which was a primary criterion of social justice. The moral history of your country is the story of your people's efforts to widen the circle of inclusion in society, so that all Americans might enjoy the protection of law, participate in the responsibilities of citizenship, and have the opportunity to make a contribution to the common good. Whenever a certain category of people -- the unborn or the sick and old -- are excluded from that protection, a deadly anarchy subverts the original understanding of justice. The credibility of the United States will depend more and more on its promotion of a genuine culture of life, and on a renewed commitment to building a world in which the weakest and most vulnerable are welcomed and protected.”

Posted by Orrin Judd at December 11, 2008 11:36 AM
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