Wednesday, December 23, 2009
Tuesday, December 22, 2009
Both John Paul II and Fr. Popieluszko, in the particular way in which God was calling them, stood for the inherent dignity and truth about man that, no matter what external force can take away, human freedom cannot be suppressed, and is a basic and intrinsic right given by God. Whenever reflecting on the (typically modern) suppression of human freedom by external forces, I recall the words of Chesterton:
Freedom is doomed to destruction at every turn, unless there is a recognized right to freedom. And if there are rights, there is an authority to which we appeal for them." (G.K.'s Weekly, April 28, 1928)
While communism sought to offer freedom to the proletariat by seeking to address the alienation of man from his labor and capital, Wojtyla and Popieluszko (the latter through his chaplaincy of Solidarnosc) proclaimed the truth that true freedom cannot be had apart from the truth about the human being. Who is man? Why is he free? Why does his freedom surpass that passing and illusory freedom promised by the authroities? Both proclaimed that true freedom comes from God, is an inalienable part of being created inHis image and likeness, and that if we fail to protect the inherent dignity of each human being, and his right to freedom, everything else that was meant to liberate man will ultimately lead to his enslavement. And so these two Polish priests suffered as a result of their bold challenges to the system and proclamation of the Gospel. Both were stalked by the secret police, both were followed and placed under surveillance, yet both also persevered in their peaceful witness to the truth.
"Oppose evil with good." This was Fr. Popieluszko's motto, and this desire to always do the good was what drove the communist authorities crazy in their dealings with Wojtyla. Two different men, two different cities, and two different generations--yet both men were incorruptible and ultimately paid the price, while conquering the evil which they opposed. Wojtyla was systematically opposed, yet caused fear in the authorities. The authorities feared Popieluszko, and could only resort to kidnapping him, beating him multiple times, and throwing him into a river to squelch his message of freedom, joy, and peace to the people of Poland.
Needless to say, I think we have much to learn from the example of these two (soon to be) saints--although we enjoy the "freedoms" of our country, we do struggle against secular humanism which ultimately fails to address the truth about man in the same way that commusim did. For the truth about man transcends all political systems, all material values, and all economic markets--we are made for eternity, and our freedom to choose goodd derives from the ability to participate in the work of God, and in doing so, to become more of who we are meant to be.
This becoming who we are meant to be is, of course, one work of the liturgy upon us--which leads me to today's update. We are now in Utah for Christmas, and were able to visit our favorite church (where we were united in Matrimony), the Cathedral of the Madeleine. I was very pleasantly surprised to see the new Benedictine setup on the altar--an arrangement that Pope Benedict has praised in his book, Spirit of the Liturgy. The altar crucifix helps the people call to mind that sacrifice that is being re-presented, and reminds the priest of the saving work in which he is participating--without the distractions of the congregation. All are united around the crucifix of Our Lord, the true Light of the world, to whom we all pray ad orientem.
In order, therefore, to live in right relation with others, one must recapture the ability to see in a way that is in conformity with the deepest truths about the human person. It is necessary to acquire a vision of the world and of other human beings, in their relation to God, through an “inner dimension of a share in the vision of the Creator Himself.” Saint Paul wrote, “To the pure, all things are pure; but to those who are defiled and unbelieving, nothing is pure, but both their mind and their conscience are defiled.” Thus, one must acquire a way of looking at the world, which expresses the purity of the interior of the person. Such purity leads to the “peace of the interior gaze, which creates precisely the fullness of the intimacy of persons.” Thus, human intimacy, right relationships between persons, is established on the basis of a proper way of looking.
Monday, November 30, 2009
How true is this!? So many of the very things that were meant to "liberate" women have actually only led to their entrapment and their objectification as a result of the lust of men. Recently, I ran across a great speech entitled "Feminine Identity: Challenge and Quest," given by one of my new favorite people, Msgr. Cormac Burke (formerly a judge of the Roman Rota), in which he discusses the necessity of understanding the truth about femininity, which I actually think can apply to all of us during this Advent season.
Love and life and creativity go together. One of the major impoverishments of our value-free world is that we are no longer artists, no longer creative in any true sense. What sort of creativity can spring from a life-view which refuses to envision limitless beauty, goodness, love, life, glory, generosity - or their opposites?
During Advent, we are forced (especially by the readings during the liturgy), to focus on the fact that we will die, we will be judged, and one day Christ will return as a triumphant mercifully just Judge. Are we preparing our lives for this? Are we living in our homes, in our families, in our workplaces in such a manner that we rejoice in, and respect, the dignity of work---not only of our material work, but the work of our person--the recognition that each of us is a project that is to be made by God's grace through our human action. We are true artists, and ought to be always aware that each on of our acts is either helping create a beautiful picture, contributing to a beautiful masterpiece, or is either tarnishing, obscuring the glory for which God has created us.
Home needs to be remade. To be homemakers is one of the highest ideals for both men and women, especially today. It draws them on to true personal fulfilment, and involves them in the great enterprise of rehumanizing our modern world.
Burke notices that this work of art called life begins in the home--the first school of life and of love for each of us. It is in our homes that we must, as both women and men find the opportunity and blessed occasion to become who we ought to be--through the exercise of charity in our actions and way of treating one another. The way I scold my child, the way I speak to my wife, the way I welcome visitors in my home helps me to humanize society, or dehumanize it at the most fundamental level. A key to this is the confidence that the woman has in the home, and the affirmation which she receives:
Yes, indeed, for we have gone through a century in which woman has stepped down from her pedestal, has cast away her throne and her crown, and preferred to have the democratic right of being just one guy more.
Burke notices the ravages of feminism. But why has woman become "just one guy more?" Many times it is because a man who is unwilling, unable, or clueless as to how to live authentic masculinity treats a woman as just one guy more. A man must recognize the calling to cherish, affirm, build up, and respect the great dignity that a woman has. The sweetheart whom he has married has become the mother of the future of the human race. Who would not bow down in awe in admiration of such a great calling and vocation?
If this richness of the home is not built up, we will (as we are) continue to face a dehumanization and demoralilzation of society:
"...a dehumanized, devalued, civilization where, having stupidly mortgaged our life's possibilities, sinking them in the acquisition of material things, we see society totter on the verge of bankruptcy. In a frenzy of accumulating possessions and experiences, we have pawned or jettisoned the treasure of selfhood and self-gift, and now we are tempted to think there is no way of redeeming what has been so recklessly thrown away. Oh, but there is. It will take time, but there is a way to redemption, and it depends very principally on woman's proudly recovering her feminine identity."
So I think that we all have some thinking to do about what John Paul II might have meant when he said that it is necessary to "understand the soul of the woman." I am convinced that if men and women seek to open heartedly and sincerely understand the opposite sex, we will be well on our way to building up a true communion of persons within our families, the Church, and the greater social order.
Saturday, November 28, 2009
Monday, November 16, 2009
Friday, November 13, 2009
We'll see what happens...
Friday, October 30, 2009
Wednesday, October 28, 2009
Wednesday, September 09, 2009
Friday, September 04, 2009
Wednesday, September 02, 2009
Monday, August 31, 2009
For all Catholics, this record cannot be ignored, and it ought to certainly leave an uncomforatble distaste in our mouths. The man meant so much, was loved by so many, and is now being hailed by the media and the country as a national hero, and has been buried in Arlington, alongside some of the nation's heroes. Cardinal McCarrick read at his funeral from the correspondence between the senator and the Holy Father.
Here in South Bend, I just learned of another correspondence between the senator and another member of the hierarchy. Bishop John D'Arcy, our belvoed bishop of South Bend and Fort Wayne, was the auxiliary bishop of Boston before he was transferred here. Himself a descendant of the very devout Irish Catholic community in Boston, it comes as no suprise that he knew Senator Kennedy, and many of his friends and colleagues. He told us today at staff lunch about some of thier last correspondences, in which the bishop assured the senator of his prayers for him and for his family.
These touching personal stories, and an examination of conscience on my part, leaves me with two things to say:
1) Kennedy's legacy will be remembered for the good, the bad, and the ugly. His death signals the death of an era, an era of confused Catholic politics, which came about as a result of the Hyannisport Congress in 1964 when the Kennedy family met with leading moreal theologians of the time, Fr Charles Curran, Fr Richard McCormick, Fr Milhaven, and others who justified to him that one could in fact hold the teachings of the Church in private, and separate them from their political actions in the public. Unfortunately, this position, together with that one articulated by Gov. Cuomo in his famous ND speech in 1984, has created the problem we have today, of Catholic politicians who do not act for the common good by placing the teachings of the Church at the forefront of their agendas. Kennedy's sad legacy and horrible record on life issues cannot be forgotten, and must be remembered as a huge taint on his character and public record in office.
2) We must trust in the mercy of God, and remember that the justice of God is also the mercy of God. There is no such thing as the "God of justice" and the "God of mercy." We believe in a God who is merciful, and who in being merciful, manifests his justice as a result of his love, which is wholly Other. We can hope and pray for the senator, and beg God to be merciful on this flawed and deeply misguided man. The mysterious and imperceptible workings of grace can so easily be judged by us, who while recognizing the flaws and horrible consequences of the man's politics, can ourselves be quickly moved to judge his soul.
Let me conclude with some words from von Balthasar's book, Credo, that I think have helpled me sort out my thoughts on the situation:
"The Exalted shares in the authority of the Almighty, for the Father "has given judgment to the Son, that allmay honor the Son, even as they honor the Father. (Jn 5:22)." Which power could be greater than that of judging what is most intimate and most hidden in every human being and allocating to him or her eternal destiny accordingly? Almightiness consists much less in that which human beings imagine it to be, namely, changing things in accordance with one's will--Jesus proved, through his miracles, that he could do that too--than in exerting an influence on the freedom of human hearts without overpowering them. Enticing forth from them, through the mysterious power of grace, their free assent to the truly good.
The Church Fathers used to say that God's grace works not through force bu throguh "persuasion," in that it suggests the choice of the better and gives the weak human will the strength to assent to that out of its own conviction and strength. Up to what point the sinful will can continue to resist this inner force of conviction exerted by the good--perhaps to the very last?--is only something for the Almighty Judge of all hearts to know." (p. 65)
We can pray that God moved Senator Kennedy's will to respond to his grace, given especially in those moments of suffering, difficulty, and proximity to death.
Friday, August 21, 2009
Wednesday, August 19, 2009
Unfortunately, much modern popular music is full of immorality, esepcially when it comes to love. Most songs about love are actually about lust, and abotu borken hearts, hurt relationships, and jealousy, anger, and resentment. It is int he country music genre, however, that there continue to exist great songs (although increasginly less!)
I love this song by George Strait, since it is a beautiful reminder of the most important things in life. Very rarely do we have a popular song that affirms the truth of human love, and that children are really a "supreme gift" from God, who blesses a couple with the ability to co-create life with Him! There is nothing more beautiful than a new baby, who can remind us of the innocence, wonder, awe, and childlike attitude that we all ought to have in relation to God, our loving Father.
Tuesday, August 18, 2009
Please pray for us as we week to live the reality and truth of Christ's love for us, which is to be a model of His love for the Church, and God's love for creation. Please pray that we may do what John Paul II calls alled marriages to: "Spouses are therefore the permanent reminders to the Church of what happened on the cross." (FC, 13). What a a mystery and a profound calling to live up to!
Friday, August 07, 2009
Friday, July 17, 2009
1) He, as I mentioned, has come on TV in Italy saying that Obama is not a "pro-abortion president." What this indicates to me is that
2)Vian is right in saying that Obama's first 100 days could have been "worse." They always can be. He could have started a new war with Iran, he could have appointed a much more radical judge to the Supreme Court, he could have pushed for FOCA...
However, Vian made the point specifically about life issues...my point is that actually, Obama's first 100 days mark the most radical changes in policies and issues related to life in the shortest period of time ever. Period. We know that he has appointed pro-choice Catholics to very prominent positions (ie: Health and Human Services secretary, one of the assistants in the same office, the surgeon general, Judge Sotomayor (who while not having a cleaer record on abortion is highly praised by NARAL etc.), Miguel Diaz (who is not pro-choice, but espouses a logically incoherent position realted to life issues), and on and on and on. Not to even mention the speech at Notre Dame (which was also downplayed by the LOR). So the point is, the editor of the Vatican's nespaper has no right to publish such pieces when they are clearly contradictory to the reality, and are simply bait for a liberal media in this country that is only seeking to support Obama and make it appear that faithful, orthodox Catholics are fanatical and radical.
3) About Michael Jackson...rather than praising him and saying things like "His judicial ups and downs following allegations of paedophilia are well known. But no charge, even as bad and shameful, was sufficient to diminish his legend among the millions of fans around the world," if the LOR ought to comment at all, it should focus on the tragedy of his life. The man is a tragic figure who never truly experienced love in his childhood, which led to his many identity crises, and led to his creation of himself as an idol...rather than continuing to treat him as an idol as the rest of the world, Jackson deserves to be treated as a person by somebody. Shouldn't the Church, which upholds the dignity and value of every person, treat him in this manner? Furthermore, ignoring the controversies (ie: "bad and shameful charges") associated with him diminishes the gravity of the immoral acts he may have committed (I say "may," since he was never found guilty, but then again, neither was O.J.)
4) I will withhold further comments about Harry Potter, since I am not qualified to speak about the books or movies, as I have not read them. I do point to the scandal, however, and maintain it as such, that the editor of LOR, which ought to support the work and mission of the Holy Father, is shooting him in the foot. In 2003, Ratzinger said in a letter to a German author, reagrding her critique of Potter, that, "It is good that you enlighten people about Harry Potter, because those are subtle seductions, which act unnoticed and by this deeply distort Christianity in the soul, before it can grow properly." Ratzinger's point is that the unsupervised and undiscussed acceptance of the content in Harry Potter can work very strongly on a child's imagination, which is innocent and attune to the existence of moral good and evil. This capactiy of every child to possess an awareness of these deep truths, however, must be carefully nurtured and directed by its parents according to the faith, so that it does not develop a thwarted vision of reality. The problem with Harry Potter therefore is not that it really deals with things imaginary, but rather that it imaginatively deals with reality. (How's that for a Chestertonian phrase?)
The point is, if Ratzinger has said something publicly about the issue, the LOR should not contradict him, if it seeks to be faithful to its own mission, among which is:
1 - to reveal and to refute the calumnies unleashed against Rome and the Roman Pontificate;
I'm just pointing out the contradictions between the mission of the paper and its recent activities.
Thursday, July 16, 2009
Magda Aniol sings a really cool song about John Paul II. The refrain is, "there is nobody better than John Paul II," until the final part of the song (still in rhyme) begins singing "we have a new (pope), Benedict XVI."
I think it is a beautiful example of how so many young people in the so-called "John Paul II" generation in Poland have shown that their faith is not only based on a national/cultural attachment to the "Polish pope," but rather, that the faith is based upon the love of Jesus Christ and His Church, out of which comes a great love for our current (German!) Holy Father.
While obviously the Church in Poland has its own struggles (such as lustration in the post-communist era), one very admirable and beautiful quality about the faith there is its simplicity and fidelity to the Magisterium and its love for the Petrine Ministry. Obviously, not all Catholics in Poland actually take to heart what they externally profess (such is human nature), but if I were to generalize (never a very good thing to do), I would say that the admiration for the Holy Father has to do with his upholding of traditional moral values and the value of the family and relationships based on Christian charity in a community, all essential aspects of the "fully developed and integrated human life" that the communists sought to destroy. Hence, in the pope was (and is) not only the Vicar of Christ and successor of Peter, but more concretely, one who understands that human life can only flourish when emphasis is placed on the true and unadulterated dignity of the human person. In this sprit, I hope to offer some upcoming reflections on the new encyclical, Caritas in Veritate.
Tuesday, July 14, 2009
Tuesday, June 16, 2009
Participants and Onlookers
Cardinal Dziwisz Gives the Final Blessing
The Millennium of the Baptism of Poland, of which Saint Stanislaus is the first mature fruit—the millennium of Christ in our yesterday, and today—is the chief reason for my pilgrimage, for my prayer of thanksgiving together with all of you, dear fellow-countrymen, to whom Christ does not cease to teach the great cause of man; together with you, for whom Jesus Christ does not cease to be an ever open book on man, his dignity and his rights and also a book of knowledge on the dignity and rights of the nation.
Today, here in Victory Square, in the capital of Poland, I am asking with all of you, through the great Eucharistic prayer, that Christ will not cease to be for us an open book of life for the future, for our Polish future.
"Where are their tombs, O Po-land? Where are they not! You know better than anyone—and God knows it in heaven" (A. Oppman, Pacierz za zmarlych).
The history of the motherland written through the tomb of an Unknown Soldier!
I wish to kneel before this tomb to venerate every seed that falls into the earth and dies and thus bears fruit. It may be the seed of the blood of a soldier shed on the battlefield, or the sacrifice of martyrdom in concentration camps or in prisons. It may be the seed of hard daily toil, with the sweat of one's brow, in the fields, the workshop, the mine, the foundries and the factories. It may be the seed of the love of parents who do not refuse to give life to a new human being and undertake the whole of the task of bringing him up. It may be the seed of creative work in the universities, the higher institutes, the libraries and the places where the national culture is built. It may be the seed of prayer, of service of the sick, the suffering, the abandoned—"all that of which Poland is made".
All that in the hands of the Mother of God—at the foot of the cross on Calvary and in the Upper Room of Pentecost!
All that—the history of the motherland shaped for a thousand years by the succession of the generations (among them the present generation and the coming generation) and by each son and daughter of the motherland, even if they are anonymous and unknown like the Soldier before whose tomb we are now.
All that—including the history of the peoples that have lived with us and among us, such as those who died in their hundreds of thousands within the walls of the Warsaw ghetto.
All that I embrace in thought and in my heart during this Eucharist and I include it in this unique most holy Sacrifice of Christ, on Victory Square.
And I cry—I who am a Son of the land of Poland and who am also Pope John Paul II—I cry from all the depths of this Millennium, I cry on the vigil of Pentecost:
Let your Spirit descend.
Friday, June 12, 2009
I have almost come to the point of desperation and am tempted toward hopelessness: not only is the American liberal media in a love affiar with President Obama, but so also is the Catholic press, and even the Vatican. Why? Obama has brilliant political strategists: he knows that a slim majority of Catholics voted for him, based on his presentation of social policies and an agenda that fits some aspects of Catholic social teachings. He knows that he needs to maintain and count on support from Catholics in order to further his agenda and goals. So begins the onslaught against faithful Catholics who believe in the Church's teachings on the dignity of each human life, and the hierarchy that accompanies the gravity of certain moral issues in relation to others:
-the Notre Dame affair: a speech through which Obama deludes many Catholics with his conciliatory rhetoric and appealing notion of "common ground" in a politically and socially divided nation. He is met with applause and warm congratulations by Fr. Jenkins, who has demonstrated compelte disregard for millions of Catholics in this nation.
-the appointment of Kathleen Sebelius as the HHS, as well as Alexia Kelley (from Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good) as an adviser in this department
-the appointment of Miguel Diaz as the new US Ambassdor to the Vatican. Dr. Diaz was on the Catholics for Obama steering committee, donated $1000 to the Obama campaign, and signed a petition in favor of Sebelius' nomination. He is a Rahnerian theologian who is interested in liberation theology (not that there is anything wrong per se either of the two).
--the nomination of the reverse-racist and liberal Justice Sotomayor for the Supreme Court position.
Why has Obama not selected pro-choice atheists or liberal Protestants for any of these positions? The Catholic Church would be better off.
Two things come to mind.
First, a spiritual persepctive: The devil is at work in our culture and our society, perhaps right now in a way more than ever before. One of the dangerous and effective ways in which the devil works is in small and unnoticeable ways, seemingly insignificant things that, after a period of time, contribute to the downfall of the good and the creation of scandal so as to sow discord. If one looks at the specific choices of these liberal Catholics, we can see the hand of the devil at work. Sure, on the surface, some of these persons will be "nice people," say they are "faithful to the Church," and even claim to be pro-life. But all one has to do is look at the president whom they support, and to whose campaign they have contributed time and money. So as a good friend of mine who is a priest said to me not too long ago, we would definitely see a great rise in the influence of evil working subtly if Obama were to be elected. To put it logically:
The devil hates the Catholic Church and will seek to destroy it.
The Catholics chosen for these posts support policies detrimental to the witness of the truths proclaimed by the Church.
These persons have been chosen by Obama.
Obama is cooperating with the work of the devil.
I am not saying Obama is possessed, but that there are certainly evil influences guiding his actions. I think this is his deliberate strategy, because he knows that the more he can break up the Catholic Church, the more divided will be the voice of opposition to his abysmal pro-life record.
Second, why in the world can't the Catholic media undestand this?
For weeks now, the editor of the L'Osservatore Romano has been defending his soft stance on the Obama administration's policies, even going so far as to say on Italian television that "I don't believe that Obama is a pro-abortion president."
Are you kidding me? Do you actually live in the United States? Why in the world is the editor of the quasi-officialVatican newspaper even involving himself in making political statements like this?
Then, I find out that Archbishop Pietro Sambi thinks Diaz is "an excellent choice because he knows very well the United States and because of his background in the Catholic Church." Furthermore, he thinks "Latin Americans should be very proud." Since when is evertyihg a racial issue? Why need the ambassador be selected on the grounds of his race?
The, I find out that Obama's speech in Cairo, in which he cites the Koran and offers a "we will now work with all of you together to find common ground" content, is praised by the local hierearchy of the Middle East. "It's the beginning of a new process, a new era. Obama really wants to change things, and the image of the United States will benefit from it," said the Chaldean bishop of Cairo.
Are you kidding? Why in the hell does a Catholic bishop care about the 'image of the United States?"
The only image I can think of that our country is projecting is that we do not value human life, but place a price on the hierarchy of its worth (utilitarianism): if you're alive, great. If you're alive and handicapped, that's too bad. If you're old, your life sucks. If you're not born, we can decide what to do with you. If you're not alive, we can bring you to life. Now let's export this mentality to Africa and South America through the UN and programs such as USAID.
As Michael Novak has said, we ask Rome for a sip of water, and they give us a bag of stones.
Maybe I am particularly sensitive to the issue, since I am a double domer and was heavily involved in ND Response to protest Obama. But the fact of the matter remains: the Catholic hierarchy, even within high levels in the Curia, are expressing themselves in a manner that undercuts and undermines the efforts of faithful, pro-life Catholics to expose the truth of the Obama agenda. I don't care if statements have to be made for political or for reasons of politeness: say something, but don't praise Obama, don't suggest your agreement with his policies, and for heaven's sakes, don't undercut the work of many good and faithful Catholics who already find themselves in a very difficult position to defend human life at all stages.
Wednesday, June 10, 2009
Since the beginnings of our Western intellectual tradition, philosophers, poets, and artists have expressed the universal human longing for beauty. Humans all desire beauty, long for it, and cannot live without it. An encounter with a beautiful landscape, piece of art, or person leads us to transcend ourselves, and carries us into the realm of the eternal, the unknown, the mysterious, and the sacred. Dostoevsky wrote that the “world will be saved by beauty.” How true it is that an encounter with a truly beautiful person (not necessarily only physical beauty), can carry us into a new dimension of existence, can bring joy into our day, and inspire us to do the good. This is because such a person lives out the truth of their humanity. We think of Mother Teresa serving the poorest of the poor, in spite of fifty years of spiritual darkness. We think of Maximilian Kolbe, sacrificing his life voluntarily for the life of a stranger, and thus living out the truth of his human person, to live as self-gift. The saints are beautiful people because they witness to us the truth about the human being.
Unfortunately, we live in a world often devoid of beauty, truth, and goodness. The walls of the dark halls through which our culture passes are plastered with images of the grotesque; the immoral and the evil is often presented as good; there is a contempt for truth, as expressed in the “dictatorship of relativism,” in which objective and transcendent truths about creation, and most especially, the human person, are presented as socially constructed, malleable norms which have changed and continue to change over time.
This example of a modern “heresy,” which reduces sexuality to a commodity to be traded and a means for using other people to gain one’s own satisfaction, lies at the foundation of many of the problems we face in our cultural edifice today, in which women especially have suffered greatly as a result of the confusion regarding sexuality. At a more fundamental level, this outlook contradicts the proper ordering within and meaning of a human person.
To truly love another person is to desire their good. For this reason, parents sacrifice their time, money, and leisure for the care of their children. A priest starts adoration at his parish for the spiritual good of his parishioners. Love as goodwill is therefore “selflessness.” In Wojtyła’s view, therefore, true and fully authentic love consists in the sacrificial and unselfish love in which a person makes a gift of his person to another. For a man and a woman, authentic love “cannot but be love as desire, but must as time goes by, move more and more in the direction of unqualified goodwill.”
In a particular way, he sought to address some of the important developments in the Church and society since the publication of Love and Responsibility, especially the promulgation of Humanae Vitae and its aftermath. Karol Wojtyła desired to articulate clearly the “adequate biblical anthropology” necessary for a complete and comprehensive understanding of the encyclical and its implications. He thus wrote this book, largely a commentary on the Book of Genesis, the Gospels, and the Letters of Saint Paul, and titled it, “Man and Woman He Created Them,” a “theology of the body.” Before the volume was published, however, Wojtyła, as we all know, ascended the throne of St. Peter. Since at the time, it was not customary for a pontiff to publish a book, John Paul II decided to convert his work, written in Kraków, into a series of catecheses, given at the weekly Wednesday audiences. Thus, the first five years of his catechesis as pontiff was born.
 See Catechesi Tradendae, 7 for JPII’s understanding of catechesis. In the audiences, he is commenting on the Catechism, providing a lens through which to read it.