April 15, 2005


The Question of Motivation (Patrick O'Hannigan, 4/6/2005, Spectator)

Have you noticed how much commentary about the passing of Pope John Paul II talks about his leadership without addressing what motivated that leadership?

Pundits of varying reputation rightly credit Karol Wojtyla with leading the spiritual side of the fight against Communism and secular humanism. They cite his charisma, his force of will, and his political acumen.

But by the time they sandwich bits of biographical detail around applause for the late Pope's character, most pundits are flirting with their 800-word limit. Only the consummate professionals probe any deeper. [...]

The relative silence of other pundits on this question forced Father Richard John Neuhaus to pick up the slack. Neuhaus runs his own magazine, but wrote this for the New York Post:

"It is impossible to understand John Paul without understanding that his entire thought and being was grounded in the incarnation, the teaching, the suffering, death, resurrection and promised return of Jesus Christ," Neuhaus wrote, letting the proverbial cat out of the bag.

Some of those Protestants who did not join Neuhaus in crossing the Tiber to Catholicism are silent about papal motivation not because they feel out of their depth, but because to credit Jesus with inspiring the pope would force a re-examination of their own prejudices. Doing that, they might find unwelcome confirmation of what an American Spectator alumnus called the editor of this publication's "cheeky assertion" that "Among Christian religions, only one is the genuine article, and it's known as Roman Catholicism."

I don't know, it sometimes seemed that in discussing his suffering we've almost made him too Christly.

Posted by Orrin Judd at April 15, 2005 10:07 AM

Not too saintly.

Posted by: ghostcat at April 15, 2005 6:05 PM