Monday, April 04, 2005

Pope John Paul II -- the selection reaction

Here's an excerpt from the somewhat prescient National Review editorial on the election of Karol Wojtyla in 1978:

The peoples of the Communist-ruled nations are the subjects of a new system of serfdom. They are not, of course, the personal property of any overlord: but it comes, in the end, to much the same thing. They have no legal rights against the state, their wages and terms of employment are dictated, and they are summarily shot for trying to escape. The Communist ruling class virtually owns the laboring class-an ironic reversal of Marx.

Only in Poland have the new serfs found an institution strong enough to defend their rights and interests. That institution is the Catholic Church, and Poles have shown it a phenomenal loyalty. But until now they have been the forgotten men of Europe, while American leadership, such as it is, has chirped that Poland is not Soviet-dominated, that it meets our ideals of freedom, etc.

Wojtyla's selection is not only a personal honor but an homage to his countrymen and a recognition of their plight. It may also mean that the Church sees its future in something like the Polish condition: Communist power is still expanding, and the secular West lacks the resources of spirit to resist. If liberalism crumbles, more than one nation may need a Wojtyla.

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