Posts Tagged ‘Pope John Paul II’

Denver archdiocese: World Youth Day launched spiritual revolution

Denver, Colo., Aug 15, 2013 / 08:57 am (CNA).- In 1992, Denver was one of three American cities that had been vying to host World Youth Day the following year.

That Palm Sunday, Pope John Paul II announced the fourth international gathering of Cathol…

Italian Opera Company Preparing Show on Life of John Paul II

MADRID — Amid the announcement of Pope John Paul II’s canonization, an Italian production company is preparing a new opera about the life of the late pope.

Cicuta Produzioni is working on an opera entitled, “Karol …

Blessed Pope John Paul II’s Prayer for Life

In 2009, the Vatican confirmed the first miracle attributed to Pope John Paul II’s intercession—curing a French nun of Parkinson ‘s disease—and Pope Benedict XVI signed the decree beatifying him in 2011. Last month, the Vatican confirmed the second miracle—curing …

"An examination of conscience so that the beauty of music and hymnody will return"

Hope you like my long piece at Crisis this morning.

We tend to think of the papacy of Benedict XVI as the papacy that put the Catholic liturgy back together again, turning the “hermeneutic of rupture” into the “hermeneutic of continuity.” Rarely receiving the credit for preparing the way is John Paul II, who labored mightily and brilliantly during his pontificate—in a long and consistent series of liturgical teachings—to restore what had been lost and to prepare for a brilliant future. The July 5 announcement by Pope Francis of John Paul II’s pending canonization offers an opportunity for us to recall his extraordinary contribution to the restoration of sacred art, music, and liturgy.

The legacies of John Paul II and his successor Benedict XVI are obvious from every liturgy we observe today at St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome, and also many places around the world. Beauty is back. Chant is back. Even the traditional Latin Mass, the form used to open the Second Vatican Council but was later suppressed, is said in St. Peter’s daily, and is taught at seminaries around the world.

It turns out that the Age of Aquarius did not overthrow all things. Indeed, long-time observers of Vatican liturgy tell me it is more beautiful and more historically rooted today than it was in the decades prior to the Council. The message has been decisive and clear: The Catholic liturgy is ever old and ever new. The forms of the past remain valuable to us today, just as the developments of the future must necessarily be rooted in a deep love and respect for liturgical tradition.

These are lessons we know today but were evidently lost on that generation that took charge after the Council closed. They bequeathed to us a few harrowing decades. From one generation to the next, the liturgical forms became unrecognizable. Tearing up the pea patch was the prevailing sport. Everything new was admitted and encouraged while everything old was frowned upon or banned. It was a classic revolutionary situation, one with massive casualties and one never intended by the fathers of the Council.

The Council taught that Gregorian Chant should have first place at Mass but by the late 1960s, it had no place at all. Pope Paul VI was distraught and spoke with sadness: “we are in the process of becoming, as it were, profane intruders within the sanctuary of sacred letters… We do indeed have reason for regret, and to feel as it were, that we have lost our way.” And yet he pressed on, seeming to reflect in his own words this spirit of disorientation, rupture, and even revolution.

Karol Józef Wojtyła became Pope John Paul II eight years after the reformed Mass came into the world. The dust was far from settled. On the contrary, the earthquake that began immediately following the Council’s close was still rocking the Catholic world. The folk Mass—supposedly more “authentic” than music for the liturgy used for 1,000 years—had become the new normal. Old books, vestments, and statues filled the landfills. The old rubrics were wiped away. The priestly orders and convents were melting down. “Wreckovations” gutted great Churches and cathedrals. The only consensus was the absence of consensus.

In the course of John Paul II’s 28-year papacy, he undertook many initiatives to restore beauty to the liturgy, make it clear that not all art forms are admissible at liturgy, heighten respect for the past, and to take the first steps toward the restoration of older liturgical forms.

He took on directly what we might call the “cult of the ugly” that came to dominate Catholic culture since the mid and late 1960s. You could see it in the clothes, hear it in the music, and observe it in the architecture. The prevailing idea, rooted in a form of nihilism, was that high artistic sensibilities were necessarily elitist and inherently exploitative of genuine human emotion, which can only be expressed through spontaneous outbursts and improvisation. Choirs were gone, training put down, and excellence in general was disparaged and dismissed.

John Paul II, trained and experienced in the arts and holding a profound appreciation for the role of the arts in the expression of the faith, set out to inspire a new kind of idealism in the Catholic world, one that necessarily spoke to the liturgical and musical problems of the day. He took on the prevailing ethos and gradually but firmly got us back on course as a Catholic culture with a purpose and a dignified bearing.


It’s Official: John Paul II and John XXIII to Be Canonized

VATICAN CITY — The Vatican has confirmed that both Blessed Pope John Paul II and Blessed John XXIII will be canonized and possibly at the same time, although a date has yet to be set for the canonizations.

Reading from a…

Pope Francis announces the ‘Pope of Life,’ John Paul II, to be declared a saint

by John-Henry Westen VATICAN CITY, July 5, 2013 ( - Pope John Paul II, the beloved friend of the pro-life movement, is to be raised to sainthood according to announcement today from Pope Francis. Pope John Paul II was born Karol Wojtyła on May 18, 1920, in Wodowice Poland, and lived through Nazism and…

I told the Pope I have eight kids, he said, “Good, keep going!”

by John-Henry Westen June 15-16, 2013 will be days I remember for the rest of my life.  I had the opportunity to participate in an official capacity with the Vatican in celebrating the pro-life encyclical of Pope John Paul II - the Gospel of Life, and meet with his successor Pope Francis. The Pontifical Council for…

JH Westen, other pro-life leaders, Meet Pope Francis after Mass celebrating JPII pro-life encyclical

by Steve Jalsevac VATICAN CITY, June 24, 2013 ( – After the Mass commemorating the pro-life encyclical of Pope John Paul II – the Gospel of Life – Pope Francis greeted various pro-life leaders from around the world.  The Pope offered his “sincere thanks” to all “who…

200,000+ people join Pope Francis for mass celebrating famous pro-life encyclical

by John-Henry Westen June 17, 2017 ( - Hundreds of thousands gathered in St. Peter’s Square and down the main Roman street that leads to the Vatican Sunday to join Pope Francis in celebrating a Mass commemorating Pope John Paul II’s 1995 famous encyclical, the ‘Gospel of Life.’ Known…

Peruvian bishop recalls 25th anniversary of John Paul II’s visit

Lima, Peru, May 17, 2013 / 04:00 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- Archbishop Jose Antonio Eguren of Piura recounted the Eucharistic love and call to holiness of Blessed Pope John Paul II on his second visit to Peru, 25 years ago.

John Paul II visited Peru for th…

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