Theology Trimester 2
February 25, 2000
“Veritatis Splendor” was about the church’s moral teachings. Some major points made in this encyclical are of abstaining to conform to the world and morality. The point of this encyclical is to remind the Catholic people of what the church believes in because along with the times, people are changing. Conforming to the world, meaning participating in the immoral acts that are being committed is not what the church wants people to do. The church is sticking to their guns on all of their teachings ands expects Catholics to do the same. Although I disagree with some of the teachings of the church, I think it is good that they are not conforming. I Think the church should be a solid foundation and changing would just convey to the people that it is weak.
Pope John Paul II visited the United States from October 4 – 8 in 1995. This was the first time in sixteen years that the pope had visited us. Americans would have done anything to get a glimpse of the pope while he was here on his short visit. People went to great lengths to get tickets to the many services he said while here. I find all the excitement shown by the Catholics kind of odd because in polls taken a little while after his visit, the majority of Catholics disagree with his teachings. TIME Magazine, CNN and U.S. News took the polls. Some of the results were rather surprising. Only 15% of American Catholics believe they should always obey his teachings on moral issues. Seventy-nine% believe Catholics can make up their own mind. Two-thirds of Catholics do not believe abortion is wrong in every case. Although the pope’s visit may have appeared to be a success in that he reached everyone, a few months after his departure the hype wore down and people went back to their normal beliefs. I think that the pope is seen as more of a famous person than as someone whose teachings we have to follow.
Pope John Paul II is liberal when it comes to social justices, but very conservative when it comes to morals. He encourages change in the governments, which have existed for a while, in some countries. While he encourages reform in that aspect of life, he is not happy about moral liberals. The Pope believes that morals are not something that should be changed as time goes on, but he does believe that systems of government should be changed as time goes on to improve the country.
The pope has been leading the fight against communism for many years now. He has put the whole church against communism. After the lines between the Ukraine and Poland were redrawn, clergy were not allowed to go to the Ukraine. I agree with the pope’s struggle against communism. I do not think that communism is a good form of government. The pope is using his power over the church for a good cause by spear heading this movement.
I think that the pope is more of a poet than an intellectual because “he knows that intellectual arguments don’t persuade, that you have to give these Pentecostal moments of having been touched by grace” (Source 1, page 1). He is very real and bears witness to many people with is visits. He makes himself, the head of the church, more reachable by making all these visits instead of acting as some sort of all high and mighty. He is not just a symbol, but a real person people feel moved by. People can relate more to someone who speaks with feeling, rather than someone who is an intellect that spits out facts and knowledge.
I think that young people are so attracted to him because he was so young when he came to be pope. People can relate to someone in a position of power when they are young (ex. JFK). It makes people feel like the authority figure can relate to them and understand them more. Pope John Paul II has such a warm smile and friendly face that he just draws people to him. He is such a determined man. Although he is so old and feeble, he is still planning visits to countries. He is a very dedicated and sincere man.
Pope John Paul II will be remembered for a lot of reasons. He is Polish, which is not a common nationality for the pope to be. His soliditarity embraced all social classes. He battled against communism and against the conforming of Catholics’ morals. I will just always remember him as being the pope. He is the only pope I have ever known, since he has been pope since before I was born. One memory I will always have of him is the visit he made here to NJ/ NY. That was such a big deal and there was so much hype that I don’t see how I could ever forget it.
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