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May 10 11 1:52 PM
This book is a masterful analysis of modern geopolitics. It is different from other books on the subject in that it adds a vertical or spiritual ingredient to the often horizontal only analysis of history. This allows the author to delve deeper into the meaning and consequences of world politics as they exist today. It also provides plausible explanations to modern world events. Malachi Martin rightly contends that unless one takes into account the fact that there is a spiritual warfare going on at the same time, modern history and geopolitics make no sense. The book seeks to look at history through the eyes of John Paul II, a pope and a master in geopolitics. John Paul II, Martin contends, was a man singularly prepared for his time through life experience, nationality, culture and education, much like St. Paul was the best man to christianize the world through his combination of Jewishness, Roman citizenship and Greek education. John Paul II was aware of his role and place, and once Martin explains the centrality of the history of Poland and the identity this provides to John Paul II, his fixation with geopolitics as his battle field for man's soul becomes a lot clearer and many a question is answered regarging John Paul II's papacy. In the book, Martin identifies the two main players vying for world domination in the spiritual sphere today and thus lays the ground for his historical analysis: materialism with the East and West in their communism and capitalism, which Martin places on one side together -- and the Catholic Church, the only truly geopolitical spiritual organization in existence today. One of the two sides must win, for they cannot coexist. Either materialism coopts or conquers the Church or the Church ends materialism and Christianizes man again. Martin treats his subject always with this Christian spiritual dimension and point of view in mind, therefore you will read modern history through the eyes of the papacy as it stood with John Paul II, taking into account the message of Fatima, the role of Poland in Christianity and several other often neglected aspects of history that cleary show the "hand of Providence" and how God is truly the Lord of History. The book is a great resource for students of Church history, modern events and the Catholic Church. It is also a great resource for those non Christian or non believers seeking to understand John Paul II better and why the Catholic Church reacts(ed) as it does(did) in modern times. Martin has a masterful section on the silenced history of Poland, its central role in Christian history, how it was the first republic and example to Europe and a wonderful analysis of the Messages of Fatima and what they may mean in today's world. Malachi Martin was a gifted author (died in 1999), priest (ex-Jesuit), Vatican insider and exorcist. He claimed, and substantiated his claims in his writings, to know the inside story. Much of what he wrote about has come true (for example, Martin wrote about the homosexual priest problem within the Catholic Church long before any reporter in the media knew about it) and his analysis is logical and intelligent. In the "Keys of this Blood" Martin weaves into the context of modern history the Catholic Church's claim to be Christ's true Church (hence the Keys of Christ's Blood) with the papacy at its head and its central role in modern politics, whether modern man wants it or not. It is a must read for anyone seeking to understand the modern world and the forces shaping it.
Oct 23 11 12:42 PM
...Shortly after he was elected...the Archbishop of Liverpool and a rather gray, austere man who'd been a career cleric...told me at dinner that he was absolutely entranced by the election of Wojtyla. And I said, "Why does he impress you so much?" And he said they had sat together on the proprietary commission for the bishops in the early 1970. And a number of meetings had been in Rome in the winter and the weather was terrible. And...it was rather austere, a meeting of people who didn't really know each other very well from different countries.
And the key figure was Wojtyla. And he would tramp into the meetings, always just before they started, and on one occasion, he marched in (he walked all the way from wherever it was in Rome he was staying), and his cassock and his feet and his socks were sopping wet, skirted up his sock, took his shoes and socks off, squeezed the water from the socks and hung them on the radiator and he said, "Gentlemen, should we get down to business?" And they were just so entranced by a bishop with balls. You know, a man who was rugged and the energy and the lack of self importance. And so people suddenly felt here was somebody who wasn't tired, somebody who had vigor who was absolutely sure of himself. He could take his socks off in public. Were there any other stories that this man told you about Wojtyla?
The job is clearly very isolating, very dehumanizing in all sorts of ways. And a story told me by a friend of mine I think highlights that for me. He's a theologian who was invited to act as an advisorat one of the synods at the early 1980's. And the Pope at that time had a habit of inviting some to supper so he could get to meet people, talk to them. So a dozen of these young theologians were taken to the papal apartments for dinner and my friend was lucky enough to sit next to the Pope. And it was for him an extraordinarily tense and fraught occasion. So rather desperately trying to find something striking to say to the Pope he said, "Holy Father, I love poetry, and I've read all your verse. Have you written much poetry since you became Pope?" And the Pope said, "I've written no poetry since I became Pope." So my friend, rather running ahead of himself said, "Well, why is that Holy Father?" And the Pope immediately froze, changed the subject, turned away to the person on his other side. But about twenty minutes into the meal he turned round to my friend, leaned over to him and said "no context." And at the end of evening, as they were all taking their leave, my friend said, "Holy Father, when I pray for you now, I'll pray for a poet without context." And the Pope was extremely frozen about this He clearly felt he'd said more than he should have said, shown a part of himself that he didn't really want to share with a stranger and so he didn't respond to that.
But I do think it's a very revealing story. The whole submerging of his own humanity in the office which, given the conception of the papacy he's inherited, I think is required by the job... He's succumbed to this less than other popes--you know, the famous business about the swimming pool, insisting on having one built for him, insisting on having holidays, on going skiing. But all the same, at the heart of it, where the poetry is written, no context.Can you talk a little on that word "context," the homey details that are missing from the Pope's life?
I think most priests have some sort of safety valve. They have families, not necessarily their own, but they have people they go to, where they can take the dog collar off, crash out, be vulnerable. I think the terrible thing about being Pope is that you can't be vulnerable. You can't be uncertain, you can't differ. The whole thing is constructed so that in the end, you're the one who knows if you're faithful and it's a paradox because the biblical sources of all this build fallability and doubt into the whole picture of Peter in the New Testament. It is of somebody who blunders around, who's fatally weak at the terrible moment, and yet the Lord says to him, you know, "When you are confirmed, confirm your brethren."
The papacy is lived with a bit of that, "confirming your brethren," but the notion that popes are people--vulnerable popes get bad reputations. Paul VI was the vulnerable pope of this century. The man who offered publicly, visibly and so people said, you know, "he was weak."Can you tell us a few of the stories about these other popes, and what they tell us about the enormous load of responsibility of the office?
The papacy's something you inherit, it carries with it a tradition, and the tradition is defined by the last few people who've held it, the Pope's who've made you bishop promoted you to being a cardinal, who've steered the council, and for Wojtyla think the two key Popes are Pius XII whom he's become more and more like and the circumstances of the last years of Pius XII have replicated themselves in the last years of John Paul, a pope of great personal sanctity, visibly...
The Pope's self-image is to some extent borrowed from the papal tradition that he inherits, and Wojtyla's popes are Pius XII, who made him a bishop, and who set an extraordinarily magical image of the papacy. People called Pius XII `Papa Angelicus.' And he presented an extraordinarily dramatic image of the Pope as saint. He was always being photographed in prayer. He was given to enormous public gestures, the hands. He had a very refined, austere Roman face. And he imagined the papacy himself in these sorts of terms.
Paul VI told the story of when he was a Secretary of State, during the war, the key man really in the Vatican, Pius XII would sometimes take him by night into the crypt of Saint Peter's where all the tombs of the popes are. And rather like taking one of the disciples into the Garden of Gesthemane, the young Montini would be taken and would wait while the Pope prayed. It made an enormous impact on Montini. Here was the successor of Saint Peter, praying by the graves of all the other successors of Saint Peter, praying by Saint Peter's grave.
And that immense image of continuity, of loneliness, of sacred office, is very much the twentieth century understanding of the papacy. And it's a comparatively recent one. People didn't feel like that about eighteenth century popes. They didn't feel like that about popes in the seventeenth century. It's something that's emerged over the last 150, 200 years, and which Pius XII brought to a very high level of refinement. And this notion of the pope, almost as a sort of icon of sanctity, is really a very new thing. It's a product of the age of mass media. People didn't feel like that about popes in the eighteenth century, or before. But now the Pope is a sort of holy picture. And Pius XII is the great transmitter of this image.
It's something that Paul VI--who was a much more humble man, a much more intelligent man, a much more open man-- nevertheless, he inherited that It colored his papacy, and it's gone on to color this one. In some ways this papacy is reenacting the last years of the papacy of Pius XII, a pope who had, at the beginning of his pontificate, opened things up, a series of great encyclicals, which had changed the liturgy, which had tried to breathe life into Catholic theology, but by the end of his reign, a preoccupation with Communism, a preoccupation with Orthodoxy, is freezing things up, making it very tight and closed.
And we're seeing something like that in the last years of the present Pope. So there's a sort of inheritance there. And it's heightened, too, by the inheritance of Paul VI, because Paul the VI who projected a great image of the Pope as the sufferer, suffering servant of God, like the figure in
Isaiah:53, who was reviled and rejected, and yet is the focus of God's action in the world. And that, largely for...Paul VI, focused on the rejection of Humanae Vitae, and his unpopularity as the pope who frustrated the Council--a reputation he knew was unjust, and felt very deeply. And Wojtyla provided a good deal of the rationale behind Humanae Vitae, he identifies very strongly with it. It's not just Paul VI's encyclical, it's his.
And so that dimension of Paul VI's self-understanding, but transformed by a much more robust and aggressive personality, much more defined personality--I think that's another important element in this Pope's self -understanding. You said the key to John Paul II's character is to understand the importance of suffering to him. There's an amazing quote in Tad Szulc's biography of him where he says, "I understand that I have to lead Christ's church into the third millennium by prayer, by various programs. But I saw that this is not going to be enough. She must be led by suffering. By sacrifice. The Pope has to be attacked. The Pope has to suffer. So that every family may see that there is a higher gospel, the gospel of suffering, by which the future is prepared". Talk a little about what you say is this key to understanding this man.
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