Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Crossing the Threshold of Hope (5)

John Paul II. Ed. Vittorio Messori. New York: Alfred A. Knopf. 1994.

Why read it? Well, it isn’t easy to read. But John Paul II was a great human being and his ideas are worth considering. The purpose of the book is to answer questions that people have about the Catholic religion and about other religions as well. Some important questions, I’m afraid, remain unanswered, at least to my satisfaction.

Sample Ideas and Quotes:

“The mystery of the Church: The Son of God, uniting Himself to human nature and conquering death with his Death and Resurrection, redeemed man and transformed him into a new creation.” p. 136.

“All of the Church’s children must remember that their privileged condition is not the result of their own merits, but the result of the special grace of Christ.” p. 140.

“The spiritual, mystical dimensions of the Church are much greater than any sociological statistics could ever possibly show.” p. 143.

“What unites us [the Catholic Church and other religions] is much greater than what separates us.” p. 147.

“It is necessary for humanity to achieve unity through plurality, to learn to come together in the one Church, even while presenting a plurality of ways of thinking and acting, of cultures and civilizations.” p. 153.

“Mutual respect is a prerequisite for authentic ecumenism.” p. 154.

“You are able to strengthen others only insofar as you are aware of your own weakness.” p. 154.

“Man is free and therefore responsible.” p. 180.

“…union with God which is the ultimate vocation and destiny.” p. 187.

“Man cannot be forced to accept the truth.” p. 190.

“…through the habit of sin conscience itself becomes almost blind.” p. 192.

“Council emphasizes that the most important thing about love is the sincere gift of self.” p. 202.

“God’s demands never exceed man’s abilities.” p. 223.

“…Gospel of Christ, in which the paradigm of master-slave is radically transformed into the paradigm of Father-Son.” p. 227.

“The fear of God…is constructive, never destructive.” p. 228.

“Andre Malraux was certainly right when he said that the twenty-first century would be the century of religion or it would not be at all.” p. 228.

Comment: Many of the Pope’s statements are arguable, or at least need to be developed into complete statements. They do give the reader cause for thought. I don't think he is attempting to be infallible. I think he is attempting to interpret his own personal view of the institution that is the Catholic Church. RayS.

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