Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

No Left Turns

John Paul II and communism

Anne Applebaum writes on how the Pope defeated communism. He didn’t need secret negotiations, she writes, he just spoke the truth in public, and allowed the people a place to meet and talk. Walking through the physical barricades naturally followed.

Discussions - 5 Comments

The Pope’s Divisions wore American uniforms.


Not true. American strength was necessary, but by itself its accomplishments were purely defensive. The key was the decision by many eastern Europeans that they would no longer repeat the regime’s lies. John Paul II catalyzed this. Had the Polish people not been courageous enough to challenge their rulers, he might not have accomplished much. But with outstanding leadership from JP II and outstanding followership from the Poles, history was moved.

Something like this needs to happen in America, too.

To understand John Paul II, one must look to the encyclical "Veritatis Splendor." In it, he upholds the objectivity of truth against modern relativism, post-modernism, and utilitarianism. From that moral vision flowed all of his other achievements - helping to bring down atheistic Communism, the culture of life in "Evangelium Vitae," his just war applications, etc. The pope stood for the truth of the beauty and dignity of the human person created in the image of God. Communism was antithetical to that vision and caused the pope to fight it with prayer and human solidarity in love and relationship. His divisions were unseen beings and the love and freedom written in human hearts, which the Communists could not destroy even as they tried.

Communism advanced while Ike waffled, in spite of the then Pope’s opposition. A kind word and a .45 will get you more than just a kind word.

Walter, while I would certainly agree with you that Reagan, Thatcher, and Churchill helped defeat Communism with a clear moral vision (for which they were reviled by intellectuals - to this day) and military strength, the Pope was the spiritual power endowed by God that befuddled the puppet government in Poland and gave the crowds the power to stand for their freedom. Although I addressed a different topic in my above post, let us with caution ignore the power of prayer in the struggle of good over evil.

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