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A World More Dignified for All …
By: Abraham A. van Kempen, Editor
Each week we let Saint Pope John Paul II share meaningful signposts to spark socio-economic resolves through justice and righteousness combined with mercy and compassion; in short, love.
Why do I share words of wisdom voiced by John Paul II?
Born in the Polish town of Wadowice and named Karol Józef Wojtyła (18 May 1920 – 2 April 2005), John Paul II evolved into becoming a poet, priest, preacher, Pope, theologian, evangelist, world leader, saint, and Pastor of billions.
His Holiness teaches me to dignify the audience I try to reach: Evangelical Christians in general and Christian Zionists in particular. The late Karol Józef Wojtyła sprinkled enough salt so as not to sting and shined enough light so as not to blind. Never did he beat around the bush. He told it like it was cordially but firmly. I still have lots to learn.
Effectuating Change with Soft Power – the Power of Attraction and Repulsion
Here is one example. In June 1979, John Paul II traveled to his native Poland. This first papal trip in 1980 to Poland uplifted the nation's spirit and sparked the formation of the Solidarity Movement, which later brought freedom and human rights to his troubled homeland. Poland's Communist leaders intended to use the Pope's visit to show the people that the Pope’s visit to his homelandwould not alter their capacity to govern, oppress, and distribute society's goods. If the Pope would inspire insurrection and riots, the Communist leaders of Poland were prepared to crush the uprising and blame the suffering on the Pope.
John Paul II won that struggle by transcending politics with ‘soft power’ — the power of attraction and repulsion. He began with an enormous advantage and exploited it to the utmost.Though a Pole, the Pope was beyond the regime's reach.
By identifying with him, Poles exercised the opportunity to cleanse themselves of the compromises they had to make to live under communist rule. And so millions of his countrymen gravitated to their own Karol Józef Wojtyła. He told them to be good, not to compromise themselves, to stick by one another, be fearless, and that God is the one source of decency, the only standard of conduct. They listened.
'Be not afraid,' he said.
Millions shouted in response, 'We want God! We want God! We want God!' The regime cowered. Had the Pope chosen to turn his soft power into belligerence, the country might have been drowned in blood. Instead, the Pope simply led the Polish people to desert their rulers by affirming solidarity with one another.
Visiting his native Poland in 1979, Pope John Paul II struck what turned out to be a mortal blow to its Communist regime, to the Soviet Empire, [and] ultimately to Communism."
In ‘Dear friends from the five Continents,’ Saint Pope John Paul II expressed his sympathy toward a select group of young visitors “from countries where hatred, violence, and War bring suffering to entire populations.” He also welcomed the young people of other Churches and Ecclesial Communities and said: “May the World Youth Day be another occasion for us to know each other and implore together from the Spirit of the Lord the gift of all Christians' perfect unity!
The Pope assured his young audience that “my faith, like that of Peter and like the faith of each of you, is not just my doing. It is essentially and primarily the work of the Holy Spirit, a gift of his grace … to bear witness to him in every corner of the world.”
"Do not be afraid!
Open, indeed, open wide the doors to Christ!.
Open your hearts, lives, doubts, difficulties, joys, and affections to his saving power, and let him enter your hearts.
To serve Christ is freedom!”
With Every Good Wish to You, I am,
Abraham A. van Kempen
PS We experienced a glitch last Friday. Part of our blog was garbled. Here is a corrected copy of ‘Remember the Marshall Plan – Debating Biden’s Stimulus Plan.’
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