John Paul II: A Call to Bishops

I just finished reading John Paul II's Rise, Let Us Be On Our Way (Warner Books, 2004)--a letter, of sorts, to fellow bishops. A quick and easy read, interesting both for matters of biography (the book roughly tracks the period after Wojtyla's ordination, focusing on his appointment as an auxilary bishop then bishop in Poland) and for reflections on the nature of the church, priesthood, and episcopate. It is also an invitation into the friendships that were so crucial to JP II's ministry (the array of Polish names gets pretty overwhelming). Especially interesting is the former Pope's discussion of his involvement with Vatican II, and then his task as bishop to "implement" the Council. Citing the importance of de Lubac for his thought, one finds in John Paul II's vision the kind of ancient-future sensibility which is able to think both ressourcement and aggiornamento. As he puts it near the end of the book (p. 213):

Our faith, our responsibility and our courage are all necessary if Christ's gift is to manifest itself to the world in all its splendor. Not just the kind of faith that safeguards and keeps intact the treasure of God's mysteries, but a faith that has the courage to open and reveal this treasure in constantly new ways to those to whom Christ sends His disciples. And not just the kind of responsibility that limits itself to defending what has been handed down, but the kind that has the courage to use its talents and multiply them.

While I continue to be nonplussed by JP II's tendency toward nationalisms and his friendliness to liberalism and capitalism (I can now see that this emerges from his experience with the atrocities of both the Nazis and Communists), this vision of an ancient-future Catholic faith that is unafraid to articulate a vision of the world to the world resonates deeply.