Thursday, July 24, 2014

Paul the Prophet

Paul VI and Karol Wojtyla
I am reading Peter Hebblethwaite's biography of Paul VI. Clearly, Hebblethwaite writes as a historian sympathetic to "the spirit of Vatican II" in his account of Paul's life. Nevertheless, it is a worthwhile read for one capable of recognizing those personal asides where the author's' objectivity leaves much to be desired. Also, I was amazed also to read that Paul, sensitive to criticism from both orthodox and heterodox Catholics over his 15-year pontificate, boldly predicted that one day he would be referred to as a prophet! How right he was. Paul VI’s beatification come October 2014 offers us an opportunity to reintroduce the world to the prophetic nature of Battista Montini, Paul VI. As readers know, in my book I describe in detail  why the word “prophetic” is used to describe his final encyclical, Humane Vitae. Not only did it fall to Paul to complete and promote Vatican II, it was he who shouldered defining and exemplifying Church teaching and tradition in a world increasingly hostile and alien to it. That his teaching has taken root today is marvelously exemplified here.