Wednesday, May 25, 2005

"Consult not your fears . . . " John XXIII

During World War II, my mother was a student at a Catholic school in Boston. The nuns taught her that the plight of the Jews in Europe was not the concern of Catholics. The duty of a good Catholic was following the teachings of Christ as taught by the Vatican.

Sadly, the Vatican was controlled by a pro-Nazi Italian who signed peace treaties (concordant) with the fascist governments of Germany and Italy. Catholic school teachings about the role of Catholics in stopping the Nazi atrocities reflected this evil man's personal opinions about Jews and his business plan to align himself with those he presumed would be victorious.

After World War II, when Pius XII's allies in Germany and Italy had been defeated, the Vatican was not in any position to negotiate a role in collecting the spoils. The Vatican was not terribly active in the process of relocating displaced persons (primarily Jews), nor providing any of their riches for making the post-war world a better place. Pius had not opposed Hitler, nor Hitler's final solution, so his participation in rebuilding the world would have been hypocritical at best.

Many European Catholics, including many within the Vatican, had contradicted Pius XII and worked diligently to save and rescue their Jewish brethren. Most Catholics (trusting the teachings of Christ) did not support Hitler's atrocities.

Finally, in 1958, a post-war intelligent thinking liberal was enthroned at the Vatican. John XXIII was crowned prince of the Church when Pius XII's long, horrible 19-year reign finally came to an end. A compassionate, thinking man, a Catholic in the catholic sense of the word, John XXIII raised the spiritual bar of Catholicism to include the betterment of all of the world. For five years, John XXIII challenged Catholics to better themselves and the world with the simple tenets that are the foundation for any spiritual life: trust God, take stock of oneself, and serve humanity. One of the most wonderful quotes from this great man is:

Consult not your fears, but your hopes and your dreams. Think not about your frustrations, but about your unfulfilled potential. Concern yourself not with what you tried and failed in, but with what is still possible for you to do.

These are words of wisdom!

John XXIII was followed by Paul VI who continued his predecessor's work and made the church more accessible to more people, especially in the hedonistic United States where spirituality was being replaced by profiteering (and has now become irredeemable). During Paul VI's reign, I learned about community activism by watching priests and nuns work to change the world. These efforts were directly rooted in John XXIII's institution of the Second Vatican Council and his promotion of the Church's unofficial stances on the elimination of poverty and war, and his promotion of community activism.

Sadly, the wonderful work of these two men was eradicated by John Paul II, and the church has been brought into a corporate fundamentalism, guided by criminal Cardinals from around the world (most notably a couple of rogue Americans who fled to Rome to avoid questioning and/or prosecution for crimes committed in Chicago and Boston), whose only interest is tricking Americans into becoming the voice of a single-issue political agenda while feeding vulgar profits to The Vatican.

The greatness of John XXIII will never be diminished by John Paul II or others wishing to erase his memory; and it is the duty of every Catholic to raise their voices in reason and sanity to help everyone around them and make the world a better place.

Dick Mac Recommends:

Pope John XXIII
Thomas Cahill

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