Monday, November 20, 2006

John Paul II's Special Mission?

Many popes have a special mission they are most remebered for- fighting a crusade, condeming Galileo (Urban VIII), etc. John Paul II was remebered for being a very loving and well travelled pope. I wonder if many of us missed one of his most important missions. Much of his travel was to third world countries, where often he was received graciously. Of course he was also well received in "first world" countries, but not always listened to (i.e., altar "girls", women priests, contraception, etc.). In third world countries, the Church has grown, while in first world it is shrinking.

I keep hearing from many places that people are meeting their need for new priests by getting them from other countries- often third world ones. I wonder if while the West was ignoring the Church, JPII was not planting seeds in the third world, now bearing fruit. Is it possible that the third world will come back to the US (both in terms of priests and possible lay people) and Europe to re-evangilize us?

In the "first world" we have it good, and we used our influence to demand things from the Vatican. In the third world, perhaps a visit from the pope was seen as a sign of hope more than another opportunity to try and make changes. In any case, this seems plausible. If it occured, I do not know whether it was deliberate on JPII's part, or guidance of the Holy Spirit, but it does seem possible.


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