Saturday, December 19, 2009

A Celebration of Heroic Virtue

On this special day as we witness the advancement of 21 heroes towards the Communion of Saints, I would like to make special mention of the two pontiffs among them Eugenio Pacelli and Karol Wojtyla.

No doubt the declaration of the heroic virtue of Pope Pius XII will be controversial, but this is in spite of impeccable scholarship by Jewish historians such as Martin Gilbert, Pinchas Lapide and Rabbi Dalin and Catholic historians Pierre Blet S.J. and unforgettably Sister Margherita Marchoine - several of her books on Pius XII are widely available. Sister Margherita is nicknamed the fighting nun and a powerful example of Father Jaki's paraphrase of the Book of Sirach "Fight for the truth and the God of truth will fight for you".

Pope John Paul II nominated Father Jaki to the Pontifical Academy of Sciences in 1990. Here is an excerpt from father on the election of Karol to the Petrine ministry:
Cardinal Wotjyla's rising to the chair of Peter was indeed a most unexpected event, not just because John Paul I died most unexpectedly. It is said that in the morning of his entering the second conclave of 1978, Cardinal Wojtyla was making a pilgrimage to a remote Marian shrine in the lower Abruzzi and his car broke down. A stranger came along from nowhere with a car and deposited him at the door of the conclave just before he would have been barred from entering. My prediction was that either
Cardinal Wojtyla or Cardinal Hume would come out as pope from the conclave. There was no prophecy in that. A non-Italian pope had to come almost of necessity, especially in view of the fact that the sudden death of John Paul I prevented Italian cardinals from forming a solid voting block.
I was at a priestly gathering when the TV brought word of Cardinal Wojtyla's election and showed him appearing on the balcony of St. Peter's to give his first blessing urbi et orbi. I was the only priest who knelt down to receive it. Just an indication of the high tide of ecclesiological "liberalism".
[A Mind's Matter, p. 134]

Indeed, Cardinal Wojtyla was not the pope of "liberals". Father mentioned frequently John Paul II's Apostolic letter on the ordination of women shortly after such ordinations in CoE and indeed Jaki persuasively argued that this authoritative declaration was an infallible exercise of the Petrine ministry.

I will conclude with a small excerpt from Pope John Paul's address on leaving Gemelli hospital after his almost fatal shooting in 1981, a most memorable incidence of his heroic virtue. Father Jaki quotes his address as witness to the role of suffering and endurance in the Christian faith.
In giving thanks for His gifts of preserved life and restored health, I wish at this time to express thanks for yet another thing: in fact, it has been granted to me in the course of these three months, dear brothers and sisters, to belong to your community: to the holy community of the sick who are suffering in this hospital - and, as matter of fact, who constitute in a certain sense a special organism in the Church, in the Mystical Body of Christ... In the course of these months, it was granted to be to belong to this special organism...I now know better than ever that suffering is a certain dimension of life in which more than ever the grace of redemption is deeply engrafted in the human heart. And if I wish each one of you to be able to leave this hospital restored to health, I no less intensely wish that you will be able to take from here also that deep grafting of that divine life which the grace of suffering brings with it.
[And On This Rock, p. 99]

~Jakian Thomist


Adrian said...

Wish you a Merry Christmas and May this festival bring abundant joy and happiness in your life! Great Religion Magazine collection I like to share with all Christian brothers and sisters.

Jakian Thomist said...

Many happy returns Adrian and may I wish all the members of the Duhem Society a peaceful Christmastide. Dr. Thursday will have a special Christmas posting from Fr. Jaki's works for us to enjoy!