Unfair Rap On The Pope

by Michael Potemra

The leader of a traditionalist Catholic splinter group is attacking Pope John Paul II’s ecumenical-outreach efforts. Bishop Bernard Fellay of the Society of St. Pius X says that because of the Pope’s promotion of interreligious dialogue, “The Catholic Church is not a ship in a storm, it is a ship with a hole in it.” He further charges the pope with “overturn[ing] the order desired by God.” Let’s have a reality check here: The Catholic Church is, worldwide, in a much more vigorous condition now than it was when John Paul II was elected 25 years ago. (Recent U.S. scandals are a blot, of uncertain magnitude, on a much more positive overall picture.) There is a greater Catholic esprit de corps, especially among young people–and this is due, in large measure, to the current pope’s energetic evangelization, and his commitment to the fundamentals of Catholic doctrine. John Paul II is an ecumenist from a position of strength–that is to say, of orthodoxy. It is because he believes so deeply in his own faith, and what it tells him about the human person, that he can see the worth in the faiths of others.

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