After the horrors of World War II, it is little wonder that Pope John Paul II during his long pontificate placed such great emphasis on the “dignity of the human person” who is made in the image and likeness of God (Gen. 1:26,27) For this sacred dignity that he spoke of was utterly rejected by both the Nazis and the Communists who in turn oppressed not only Poland but the whole human race, and turned the 20th century into the most brutal century in history.
This was supposed to be the Age of Enlightenment?
The Second World War was especially hard for Poland. “The European Theatre of World War II opened with the German invasion of Poland on Friday September 1, 1939, followed by the Soviet invasion of Poland on September 17, 1939. On 6 October, following the Polish defeat at the Battle of Kock, German and Soviet forces gained full control over Poland.”**
The young Polish man, Karol Wojtyla, the future John Paul II, during the war years obtained a permit to work first at a limestone quarry and later at a chemical factory. The quarry and factory were havens for young men in the resistance according to Pittsburgh Post-Gazette Religion Writer Ann Rodgers-Melnick. “He did the anti-Nazi work for which he was most skilled: propaganda.”
“He was pledged to UNIA, which ran 20,000 guerrillas, provided false papers to 50,000 Jews, and hid 2,500 Jewish children. UNIA also sponsored “cultural resistance,” which involved upholding [against a real Fascist agenda] a vision of a democracy, human rights, faith and religious freedom.
“Wojtyla — who was an aspiring actor — was part of an underground theater company that fostered those ideals through secret plays held in homes. When he wrote his first three plays in 1939 and 1940, his heroes were Jews drawn from the Bible: David, Job and Jeremiah.
“The actors,” Rogers-Melnick says, “would have been executed if they had been caught. His entrance into the underground seminary in 1943 placed his life in even greater danger. But he saw the priesthood as a way to help the world, not to escape from it. He was influenced by the work of St. John of the Cross, and his description of the saint’s decision to become a monk is also an explanation of his own calling:
“He is not washing his hands of his human and Christian responsibilities. On the contrary, in taking this step he is committing himself to living with full awareness the very heart of the faith by seeking the face of God, by listening to His word and putting it into practice, and by surrendering himself to the service of his neighbor.”— Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, March 05, 2000
After the war, first as a Polish priest and then as bishop, Wojtyla was forced to confront yet another totalitarianism: the murderous Communist regime with Joseph Stalin and his successors giving orders and ultimatums from Moscow.
The future John Paul II knew the suffocating realities of totalitarianism up close and personal from boyhood on. Few of us in the West have ever known such realities. We pray that we never will.
And it was precisely to avert such disasters that John Paul II as Pope, together with his successor, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger / Benedict XVI, sought an alternative World Order to that which they knew was already under both academic and actual construction in the West. Alexander Solzhenitsyn’s Gulag Archipelago shouted the warning in 1974. A society that refuses the lordship of Jesus Christ becomes an inhuman world of deceitful and cruel ideologies.
Closer to now, Fr. Joseph Ratzinger saw the fruits of a rebudding nihilism in the student revolts of 1968 inspired by Nietzsche, Michel Foucault, and Chairman Mao Zedong. And it closed Ratzinger’s once-liberally-inclined mind to their ideas for good.
A Culture of Death: “This is War,” He Said
For Popes John Paul II and Benedict XVI there was no toning down or softening the Church’s constant emphasis and warnings about a world without Christ.
“We are facing an enormous and dramatic clash between good and evil, death and life, the ‘culture of death’ and the ‘culture of life.’ We find ourselves not only ‘faced with’ but necessarily ‘in the midst of’ this conflict: we are all involved and we all share in it, with the inescapable responsibility of choosing to be unconditionally pro-life” (JPII EV 28)
“We are now standing in the face of the greatest historical confrontation humanity has gone through. I do not think that wide circles of the American society or wide circles of the Christian community realize this fully. We are now facing the final confrontation between the Church and the anti-Church, of the Gospel versus the anti-Gospel. This confrontation lies within the plans of divine Providence; it is trial which the whole Church, and the Polish Church in particular, must take up. It is a trial of not only our nation and the Church, but, in a sense, a test of 2,000 years of culture and Christian civilization with all of its consequences for human dignity, individual rights, human rights and the rights of nations.” JPII, — Wall Street Journal, Nov. 9, 1978
Pope Benedict XVI on September 7, 2007, reminded the authorities and diplomatic corps of Austria that “the fundamental human right, the presupposition of every other human right, is the right to life itself. This is true of life from the moment of conception to its natural end. Abortion, consequently, cannot be a human right – it is the very opposite.” —CNA, Nov 2007
the real threat to the Church and thus to the ministry of St. Peter consists not in these things, but in the worldwide dictatorship of seemingly humanistic ideologies, and to contradict them constitutes exclusion from the basic social consensus.”
He continued: “A hundred years ago, everyone would have thought it absurd to speak of homosexual marriage. Today whoever opposes it is socially excommunicated. The same applies to abortion and the production of human beings in the laboratory.”
Benedict XVI: “Modern society is in the process of formulating an ‘anti-Christian creed,’ and resisting it is punishable by social excommunication. The fear of this spiritual power of the Antichrist is therefore only too natural, and it truly takes the prayers of a whole diocese and the universal Church to resist it.” — CNA (emphasis added).
— NC Register: John Paul II’s Warning on Final Confrontation Between The Church and the Anti-church
— How the ’60’s Changed Ratzinger. John Allen. His subsequent theological work, it is worth noting, shows a substantial post-1970 departure from the theological thinking of his Tübingen beginnings.
—See Bishop Strickland on JPII’s warning on “the final confrontation between the Church and the anti-Church, of the Gospel versus the anti-Gospel. This confrontation lies within the plans of divine Providence”
Pope JPII knew: “A greater danger than Communism is coming. This is war! And it’s going to get worse.”
Mercedes Arzú Wilson
In a Women of Grace program on EWTN some years ago, Mercedes Arzú Wilson, president of Family of the Americas Foundation and World Organization for the Family and a Vatican representative and observer to the United Nations during his reign, was told by him as she went to Confess the Faith there:
“I want you to know there is a greater danger coming to the world than Communism”. “When he got serious,” she said, “he got serious”. He repeated it, said again, “I want you to know that there is a greater danger coming to the world than communism. This is war! And it is going to get worse!”
She continued, “And I think we are seeing the fall of the Western world…Relativism, abortion, the failure (of families) to have children, sterilization, the schools, pornographic sex education, Planned Parenthood, secularism.”
In a word, nihilism.
While the Progressive Pope Francis almost at the beginning of his pontificate shocked the Catholic world by saying that the Church would stop, in effect, obsessing on “abortion and gays,” Pope John Paul II could not have viewed all of this in more starkly different terms. Who was obsessing? John Paul saw abortion as showing an aggressive world view set against Truth, against traditional families, against the Church and the world. He saw it as the manifestation of “the Antiword” of which the Church could not be silent.
Atheistic humanism, unlike Christian humanism, has long dreamed of a “New World Order”. But it is a world pseudo-order which decisively rejects the teachings and principles of Jesus Christ and his Church.
Both John Paul II and Benedict XVI rejected that world order. They proposed and worked for an alternative to it. What they called for was a truly new world order based on Christian principles  and not the ideologies stemming from the French Revolution. Which is why the Progressivist and atheistic forces today are trying to bury even their memory.
For what is their “humanistic” “New World Order” today without the so-called “rights” to chemical birth control, abortion, euthanasia, population control, officially encouraged promiscuity, pornography, gender confusions and surgical gender “reassignment,” and all the other transvaluations of the traditional understanding of family, etc? These are the very tissue of their false humanism. And both John Paul II and Benedict XVI saw it all, utterly rejected it, and called it out by name: “the Culture of Death”. The Popes in this century have rather proposed a “world order” infused with the perennial spiritual values of the Kingdom of Jesus Christ.– SH
** Wikipedia, Polish contribution to World War II
(1) I do not suggest Pope Francis is not Pro-life. Only that it is an affront to the memory, theology and proclamations of both John Paul II and Benedict XVI to imply that their gospel-motivated priorities in confronting the grave evils of our time were somehow wrong, misguided, or not in balance with every other teaching of Christ.
(2) Christian principles, of course, are in no small part derived from and rooted in the Old Testament; hence, John Paul and Benedict insisted, it is in this sense authentically Judeo-Christian, even if many Jews and Christians today have turned their backs on their own spiritual heritage.
— The ‘Hypocritical Ultramontanism’ of the National Catholic Reporter
— March 22: Biden Says America Will Lead the New World Order
— December 15, 2022: Trump ‘First President to Come to Office Already In Favor of Gay “Marriage”
—- See too, John Paul II, Poland and the Hegelian Menace
— New Oxford Review: Are we Personalists
— Lord Marchmain’s Long Hate by Stephen Hand
— Fr. Brian Kilcoyne, diocesan priest: Ireland is not Catholic anymore, so it is better to “move on,” he thinks, “and be real”. .
— See also, John XXIII, Benedict XVI and Francis
Catholic Critique is politically Independent and will advocate for traditionally liberal or conservative causes and candidates depending on the objective truth and morals of the issues involved. SH