April 7, 2005

by Reb Yudel
Yitz Greenberg on JPII

From the Forward Newspaper:

Jews are disproportionately liberal, politically and theologically, and they held the pope's conservatism in Church policy against him. Therefore, most never fully understood, still less appreciated, his broader theological framework.

He maintained that his pro-tradition, pro-family, pro-life, anti-feminist, anti-gay teachings — combined with his opposition to the death penalty, his Common Good doctrine critique of free-market capitalism and his challenge to the use of force in international relations — added up to a defense of the culture of life.

In retrospect, John Paul's Jewish critics judged him too harshly.

Up until his reign, a willingness to expand the post-Vatican II trends and pursue more positive attitudes toward Jews and Judaism went hand-in-hand with theological liberalism. Both policies involved a critique of the tradition and acknowledgment of past failures.

But John Paul cut that connection. While he bent the church to his will to check liberal trends on many social issues, he extended Vatican II's opening to Jews and Judaism.

In the end, he went toward the Jews where no pope had ever gone before.

I daresay that when the dust of history settles, the Jewish community will recognize him as one of the most righteous of the gentile nations.

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