A native Pole tries to come to grips with Karol Wojtyla
e-mail questioning my views on the late Pope:
I am reading your commentary on Pope John Paul II with interest. I have always had a great love and admiration for the man, but to a great extent from nationalistic, rather than Christian, impulses (I am a Pole), I will admit.
I won’t go into how electrifying he was to us, on the other side of the Iron Curtain back in ‘79. There was something otherworldly and Christlike about his every word and gesture. He was an embodiment of God’s presence on Earth, and I am not writing these words frivolously. But the world has changed, and Communism seems so quaint today, that’s how utterly it was destroyed.
Still, I take your objections to his openness to Muslims seriously, and I too fear that the West, our own part of humanity, is in danger.
But it might be too tempting and easy, I think, to dismiss him as a cynical politician, or a multiculturalist fool. [LA note: I never said he was cynical.] The man possessed, arguably, the century’s finest mind. [LA note: If true, that is the ultimate indictment of the 20th century.] He was not sentimental. His youth was brutal.
Do you think that there could be a higher logic that guided him? [LA: This reminds me of Bush supporters who insist that no matter what Bush does, how illogical and disastrous it seems, he has a deeply thought out, inconceivably Machiavellian plan in mind.] His love for Poland was sincere and profound; his loathing of abortion, of materialism, of the effects of Western feminism on the Polish society—of the Culture of Death—was deadly serious. I don’t think that he would suffer the possibility of Poland going the way of the Netherlands, culturally and demographically, when her time would come. [LA: Give me a break. Did the old fellow ever ONCE condemn Western feminism? Did he ever ONCE condemn the hideous popular culture of the West? No—he reveled in it, as in his World Youth Day gatherings.]
So would you be open to a possibility that he saw the world, and the dangers it faces, from a whole different perspective? Remember his exhortations against materialism and hedonism. Remember his championing of the traditional family. Remember his World Youth Days, most of which were held in Europe. Remember his battle cry, “Be not afraid!”
I think that this Pope rejected a warlike stance toward Europe’s invaders, as paradoxical as that might seem from a tactical point of view. But was there a higher strategy? And as exasperating it was to hear him validate Islam, that sick, unclean cult, maybe he really believed in the Christian approach as a gesture of brotherly respect, one that in the long run, would allow the two civilizations to coexist peacefully—and separately. But Europe, to be seen as an equal by the virile barbarians, must first get its house in order, because without Christianity, Europe will be either hedonistic of fascist—two nihilistic, unsustainable ideologies, in the long run.
Bottom line: if the West returns to its spiritual fountainhead, then neither Islam nor anything else, will be any match for it, seems to be the essence of the Pope’s message.
This discussion will go on for centuries after we die. And the Vatican thinks in terms of centuries, as the saying goes.
The reader has an interesting angle on things, but toward the end, he is snatching at straws. What he seems to be suggesting is that JPII knew that the Islamic invasion meant the death of Europe, but that he welcomed it anyway, on Christian
principles, because he understood in his inconceivably deep wisdom that, if Europe strengthened its Christian principles (by freely admitting tens of millions of Moslems into its midst), the Islamic invasion, which was validated and legitimized by the Pope’s very message, would in the long run be defeated. I respect the reader, but I think this is a tortured argument.
Posted by Lawrence Auster at April 04, 2005 11:56 PM | Send