Marquette Warrior: Pope’s Lesson: Don’t Pander to the Secularists

Saturday, April 02, 2005

Pope’s Lesson: Don’t Pander to the Secularists

The GOP3.COM blog recently posted an eloquent epitaph for the papal reign of John Paul II:
Three great individuals led the charge at the end of the Cold War, also known as the Third World War by many American Conservatives, to final victory with the drawing back of the Iron Curtain and the dissolution of the Soviet Union into its independent member Republics. One of them, President Ronald Reagan, entered the “Shining City” Upon a Hill this previous summer. His fought alongside Cold Warriors Pope John Paul II and British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher.

It seems as if one more of the great victors of the battle over Communist ideology may soon depart this earth. The Pope has been in and out of the hospital the past few weeks, and current news stories indicate that he is near death. Earlier today rumor had it that he had passed. The Lord will likely bring him home this weekend.

We are given dominion over the things of this world, called to be stewards to the earthly paradise bequethed by God to Man. We are also called to be shepards to God’s people. Few among us have so marvelously served the mission of protector of the creatures of God and His Kingdom as our Pope, to Catholics and non-Catholics alike.

We have been blessed to have him. May he rest in peace.
Like Reagan and Thatcher, John Paul was accused of being a reactionary, of wanting to turn the clock back. All were bêtes noires of people who consider themselves “modern” and “progressive,” and stood for basic values unapologetically. They prevailed against people who thought themselves much more “sophisticated.”

John Paul II engaged in what was, to the secularists, heresy. He judged the world by the standards of the Church, rather than judging the Church by the standards of the world.

The social science evidence is clear that this, and not accommodation, is the recipe for a vital church. Among American Protestant denominations, those that have accommodated to secular ideologies – ordaining gay clergy, worrying about “inclusive language” in scripture, condoning abortion – have seen membership dwindle, while more conservative churches that call their members to higher standards of sacrifice and personal morality have prospered.

Those that have pandered to members whose orientation is basically secular have been engaged in a futile attempt to hold people whose orientation is leading them out the door. And this at the cost of preaching a vital faith that will win new converts. Issues that bother liberal academics and liberal journalists in Europe and North America aren’t of much concern to people seeking such a vital faith, especially in places like Africa and Latin America.


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