Local Muscovy church Наша Дама Вечера had no less than three biographies each for Sts. John and John Paul. One for each was in the body of the bulletin, one for each was in a special insert flyer, in case you missed the first one, and the third was a cardboard insert behind the second one, in case you missed that.
Each biography was fairly detailed, explaining when and where each saint was born, the struggles they had during wartime, and when the joined the priesthood. Each biography took a slightly different take on the importance of the individual. For example, St. John’s bios respectively looked at his need to reach out to other faiths and establish assurances that Catholicism is no threat to other beliefs, his need to internationalize the Vatican, and his conviction that reforms for the Church were actually the more correct interpretation. This shows different authorship, and explores different facets to each man’s path to sainthood.
But come on. John Paul II also had three biographies: each mentioned his secret studies despite Nazi persecution, his firm grounding in the sciences, his love for Mary, his passion to reach out to the public, and so on. Only one mentioned that he has a particularly strong fanbase among Chicago’s Polish community.
Yet not one of the three mentioned his radical hatred of Communism, which he dramatically helped smash across Eastern Europe. He calculated that the Soviets could not contain or control Poland for long, and egged on the dock workers. When the Soviets threatened violent retaliation, the Pope told the Poles to “Be not afraid,” and they listened. The dock workers were the first domino to fall, pushed over by a fearless Pope. Reagan and Thatcher continued the momentum, but only after they saw John Paul II take the initiative.
In an age when the Church feels obliged to defend itself against skeptics (and few are more skeptical than the Vatican itself, by the way), it makes sense that they attempt to explain why saints are important to ordinary people. Perhaps no Church figure in recent memory was more important than St. John Paul, who literally changed the wold through his faith.
But we can’t mention Communism? Why not? He brought faith back to millions of people. And not just Catholics: there are millions of Orthodox practitioners who now see their cultural centers and museums turned back into churches from Romania to Russia because of John Paul.
God forbid that we offend the liberal Catholics who don’t see a problem with Communism.