Priestly loving: The BBC versus St John Paul II
In the November 2008 FAITH magazine Fr William Massie, reflects upon Edward Holloway’s pamphlet, “The Priest and His Loving”. A prophetic 1974 foundation of this pamphlet is in the current magazine. Fr Massie quoted this St John Paul II imperative to priests:
be a witness to Christ’s spousal love, and thus be capable of loving people with a heart which is new, generous and pure, with genuine self-detachment, with full, constant and faithful dedication and at the same time with a kind of ‘divine jealousy’ (cf. 2 Cor 11:2) – and even with a kind of maternal tenderness, capable of bearing the ‘pangs of birth’ until ‘Christ be formed’ in the faithful (cf. Gal 4:19). (Pastores Dabo Vobis, n.22)
George Weigel, the Pope’s biographer, recently in effect affirmed that St John Paul lived this out in his friendships. Weigel was reflecting upon a 15th February BBC Panorama “documentary”. The programme was presented by Edward Stourton, host of Radio 4’s religious news “Sunday” programme. To quite a few of us Stourton provides a profoundly secularising spin to the “news”. His documentary was based upon over a hundred letters from Pope John Paul II to a married woman, Anna-Teresa Tymieniecka, a Polish philosopher. (It strangely failed to tell us whether the lady’s husband was ever mentioned which is surely highly relevant to any judgment on the correspondence). Eamonn Duffy was on hand to suggest that this Pope had an “iron will” which he used in this relationship to avoid breaking his promise of celibacy.
The letters reflect a deep and searching friendship, not unlike other letters of Wojtyła’s, … Stourton, however … throws them into the Freudian Mixmaster … and then suggests that there was something … that, while not quite untoward, should nonetheless change our perceptions of John Paul II (wink, wink, nod, nod). …
… Karol Wojtyla had many close friendships; he often worked out the meaning of those friendships in correspondence with his friends. [… this] ought not be surprising – except to those who carry a burden of false assumptions about love, celibacy, and their relationship … As a mature man, he took the decision to express his [proven] capacity for love as a celibate in the priesthood … He was choosing to express his love and his paternal instinct spiritually, through the gift of his life in service to others. ….. [His] close friendships with women … lived in an intimacy that was not sexual but was quite real, … helped Karol Wojtyła/JP II give a fresh new articulation to the ethics of love and responsibility (to borrow 1 of his book’s titles).
Comments to email@example.com (which will be moderated) or twitter to @faithmovuk
July / August 2018
Recent Blog Posts
- Blog: 10.04.18Professor Stephen Hawking RIPWith the death of Stephen Hawking, the world has lost a great physicist who made important contributions to our understanding of cosmology. Together with Prof. Roger Penrose, he linked General Relativity with Quantum Physics in the immensely challenging context of Bla...Read More
- Blog: 13.02.18Over at First Things a transcript has appeared of the 2017 href="https://www.firstthings.com/events/2017-erasmus-lecture">Erasmus Lecture given at the end of last year by Bishop Robert Barron on the subject of “reaching the nones”, that is those who self-declare as being of “no religion”. The whole piece is definitely worth reading, a...Read More
- Blog: 28.01.18The recent Channel 4 News interview of Jordan Peterson, professor of psychology at the University of Toronto, by journalist Cathy Newman is currently trending high on YouTube and various Social Media platforms. The 30 minute interview rapidly covers a lot of ground; the difference between the sex...Read More
- Blog: 08.01.18“Peace is the harmony of good order. Good order is the membering of man in ready acceptance and honest love.” (Edward Holloway, Catholicism: A New Synthesis, 1)As we begin 2018, the sense of tension in the international order is strong. There are fears of nuclear war given the problem...Read More
- Blog: 30.12.17Fr Chris Findlay-Wilson made the below defence of priestly celibacy in the Catholic Herald (15th Dec., letters):"a fresh witness of true love is desperately needed; that it is love – not sex – that fulfils us as human beings." This is a point often made by Fr Holloway, ...Read More
- Blog: 24.11.17Last Saturday was the 100th anniversary of Agnes Holloway giving birth to Edward.He was born just as Lenin’s revolution began. This was the beginning of changing the poor, Christian country of Russia into the powerful Marxist one. It was predicted by Our Lady of Fatima over the previous six...Read More