All you need is love…

Over at Beliefnet, George Weigel has an essay about Pope John Paul II. In it, he writes:

“Why did the Pope remain a compelling figure for the young? One reason was his transparent integrity. Young people have acutely sensitive hypocrisy detectors; in John Paul II, they saw a man who believed what he said and acted out his beliefs. There was no “spin” here–only integrity all the way through, the integrity of a man who committed every facet of his life to Jesus Christ. This was immensely compelling.”

I agree. I’d like to add this: that integrity gives the lie to so many of his detractors, the ones who say, “He was wonderful in many ways – his support of religious and political freedom, his commitment to the poor, his championing of life – AND YET, he was authoritarian, controlling, and rigid on questions regarding subjects such as women (ordination, abortion rights) and sexuality (contraception, homosexuality).”

I’m not buying. Every man has his complexities, but this image is of a pope so fractured – loving some, all but disregarding others – that he comes across as two men. I sensed integrity in the pope, and that sense convinced me that it was the same man, the same love, that championed political freedom and yet opposed contraception. The two acts were born of the same principle – a belief in the inherent and inviolable dignity of humanity. To my eyes, all these aspects of his papacy were motivated by love, a genuine love which was not always comforting, but which was eminently real and redemptive.


  1. AnotherCoward says


    Wish I had seen this entry before I commented on the one before it. Perhaps more appropriate here.

  2. Gen X Revert says

    I would add that young people can recognize that this man lived through a lot and still had the optimism and idealism of youth. He was not just a pious old man who spit out nice sayings, he really lived with evil and faced it down.

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