.- Pope John Paul IIâs teachings will take centuries to fully explore and understand. Thatâs according to his official biographer, George Weigel.
âItâs going to be several hundred years before the Church really takes on board the breadth and depth of this manâs explication of the Gospel, and in that sense weâre going to be thinking, and arguing, about John Paul II for hundreds of years,â Weigel told the Catholic Herald on April 28.
The U.S. author devoted 15 years of his life researching his biographies âWitness to Hopeâ and âThe End of the Beginning.â In that time he concluded that Pope John Paul was an âutterly normal human beingâ but one who was radically open to the promptings of the Holy Spirit.
âI think everything he did, as a literary man, as a philosopher, as a priest, a bishop, a statesman, a pope, grew out of his radical Christian discipleship,â he said.
âVery few of the billion Catholics in the world are going to have the range of talents that Karol Wojtyla had,â Weigel noted.
But âevery baptised person has the opportunity to live a life of radical discipleship. And thatâs our connection to him,â he said.
Weigel suggests that the most obvious legacy of Pope John Paul is the generation of young Catholics committed to Christian orthodoxy. âI look at my own parish in suburban Washington and see young couples raising Catholic families, who all took some form of inspiration from John Paul II. And I suspect this is replicated all over the world,â he said.
As for those who say the late Pope responded inadequately to priestly sex abuse cases that came to light late in his pontificate, Weigel said that criticism is off the mark. âThe way to think about John Paul II and the priesthood is to recognise that he was a great reformer of the priesthood. The priesthood was in terrible shape in 1978 when he became pope; it was in remarkably better shape 26 years later. Thatâs the context,â he said.