JPII and the world, according to George Weigel


America magazine interviewed George Weigel, official biographer of Pope St John Paul II, on the subject of his recent canonisation and its impact on the Catholic world. Here is the interview.

You’re in Poland now. What’s the current mood among Poles about the recent canonisation of Pope John Paul II?

I think there’s a great sense of satisfaction here: satisfaction that the universal Church has recognised the heroic virtues of a son of this country who bent the course of history in a more humane direction.
At the same time, I’d suggest that the canonisation of John Paul II ought to be the moment when Polish Catholicism stops looking back over its shoulder, so to speak, and begins to look forward with the 'eyes' of John Paul II.
World Youth Day 2016 in Kracow, to take one example, ought to be an occasion to think about the future of John Paul II’s new evangelisation, here in Poland and elsewhere, rather than about the past. That’s certainly what he would want.

Why was Pope John Paul II’s canonisation such a significant moment for the Church and the world?

I vividly remember that, within an hour after John Paul II died, Henry Kissinger, discussing the late Pope’s legacy with Brian Williams and me on NBC, said that John Paul had been the emblematic figure of the second half of the twentieth century - the man in whose life that historical drama had been most powerfully embodied.

I think that’s right, and I also think it’s astonishing: no one expected that a Catholic priest and bishop, from a country long thought to be a victim of history rather than a protagonist of history, would play that role on the world stage. And that’s an important indicator of the vitality of Catholicism.

Where a lot of Catholics saw chaos and confusion in the Church in October 1978, when John Paul II was elected, he saw immense possibility - and then acted on that sense of possibility.

FULL STORY St. John Paul II, Europe and Church Reform: 10 Questions for George Weigel (America)

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