Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Tell the world of his love

THE beatification of Pope John Paul II on May 1 will have a healing effect on the Catholic Church that had been bruised for over a decade now by multifaceted onslaughts due mainly to sexual aberrations of some of her clergy. As pastor of the universal church for over 26 years (1978-2005), he mended conflicts not only within the walls of the church but even in the secular world. He can do no less now as a beatified pastor.

The first non-Italian pope after 455 years, Pope John Paul II became a pastoral protagonist in two global upheavals: the fall communism in Eastern Europe which sprouted in his own Poland in 1989 and the passage to the third millennium of Christianity. In his apostolic letter “Novo Millennio Ineunte”, he laid out his vision of the Church’s future and called for a “new sense of mission” to proclaim the Gospel to every corner of social and economic life.

It was to this “new springtime of Christian life” that he saw in his apostolic letter Tertio Millennio Adveniente a substantial impetus of the Church to pursue more deeply the “aggiornamento” envisioned by the Second Vatican Council. He came up with the new code of canon law and the universal catechism of the Catholic Church. He issued definitive pastoral letters and exhortations that responded head-on with the rapidly changing perspectives the modern world.

Acclaimed as one of the most influential leaders of the twentieth century, he was also touted as one of the most travelled world leaders in history, visiting 129 countries during his pontificate. He was fluent in many languages: Italian, French, German, English, Spanish, Portuguese, Ukrainian, Russian, Croation, Esperanto, Ancient Greek, Latin and his native Polish. He has beatified 1,340 faithful and canonized 483 saints, more than the combined tally of his predecessors during the last five centuries.

He used the media as his global pulpit and redefined its engagement more than Inter Merifica, a Vatican II decree on the media and social communications, could have even imagined—thus, even making the internet as a new forum for proclaiming the gospel.

More than anybody else, he saw with distinct clarity the future of the world in the youth that he inspired not to be afraid of their own youthfulness. He never failed to be in thick of all world youth gatherings, which he institutionalized, until his frail body could bring him no more.

For many, he was a friend of humanity. For others, he was a conscience of the modern world. But for the Filipino youth, he was the Pope who challenged them “to tell the world of his love.”

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