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April 03, 2005

Reagan And John Paul II

Here's an interesting article about Reagan and John Paul II. i've been hearing a lot lately about how the Pope was such a key figure in ending European communism. i'm a skeptic. i think the most important thing John Paul did to help end communism was to stay out of Reagan's way.

Posted by annika, Apr. 3, 2005 |
Rubric: History



Posted by: David St Lawrence on Apr. 4, 2005


Posted by: reagan80 on Apr. 4, 2005


Posted by: Wayne on Apr. 4, 2005

Carl Bernstein wrote that the CIA and JPII actively collaborated to use the Catholic infrastructure in Poland to aid Solidarity.

At the very least Solidarity received assistance from the Church, perhaps even $$.

Posted by: Jason O. on Apr. 4, 2005

I really can't disagree more, the Pope’s efforts in supporting the Solidarity movement in Poland was a catalyst in the early days of the decline of Soviet influence. Whether he had much influence outside of the situation in Poland would be debatable, but the decline of Soviet influence in Poland is clearly one of the defining moments in the fall of the Soviet empire.

I’m not suggesting that Reagan’s actions were not the principle driving force behind the fall of communism, but to lessen the contribution of the Pope is really an injustice to the actions he took relating to communism. This was a man who personally knew the horrors of both Nazism and Communism and did much to work towards lessening their grip on his native land.

Posted by: George on Apr. 4, 2005

I gotta agree with George. First off when I was in college, I knew of a Priest that was actively working against the spread of communismn in South America. My understanding was that he had close contact with U.S. Intelligence. Who knows how true this is, but it seemed pretty real, and demonstrates the lengths the church was going to bring change.

More substantively, there was a reason the Ruskies had the Bulgarians pop the guy. He was causing them trouble, and it was worth the extraordinary risk of being found out for them to try to kill the Holy Father of about a billion of the world's citizens. Nobody is a bigger fan of R squared than me, but I think the Pope was a big player here.

Posted by: Pursuit on Apr. 4, 2005

Si, Jorge correctamundo! Well said too. The Poles pulled the thread that unraveled the garment of communism, and JP II lit the fire in their hearts.

Posted by: Casca on Apr. 4, 2005

Look, the dude's gonna be canonized, so i'm trying to be nice. But he was wrong about a lot. i'll admit he was a great symbol for the dissidents in Poland, and the Church may have been a conduit for American support going to Solidarity. But it was Reagan, alone among all world leaders since Churchill who had the balls to take on Communism with the ultimate goal in mind of ENDing it. Reagan wanted to make sure that the pope didn't muck up the works by criticizing the arms race.

It's hard for me to reconcile JP's anti-communism with his opposition to both gulf wars. i just don't get it, and that contradiction will always affect my opinion of him. That and a bunch of other things that i will probably keep to myself, because he was on balance, a pretty good guy, and a good pope. Not perfect by any means.

i think the eulogizing by the MSM is pretty over the top, not to mention filled with mis-information about the Catholic faith. i hate being patronized by idiots. i wonder if they'd be making such a big deal about the pope if it hadn't been for those infamous exit poll statistics last november. But maybe i am getting too cynical in my old age. And i digress.

One parting shot: They make such a big deal about JPII forgiving his would-be assassin, but come on. Lets be honest. For a pope, isn't forgiving people the equivalent of showing up to work on time?

Posted by: annie on Apr. 4, 2005

Gee, Annie, if forgiving people were that easy for popes, I don't thnik we would have had the Inquisition (oops, I'm sorry the Society for the Protection of the Faith, as it's now known), the 30 Years War, etc. That forgiveness is one of the few things I can honestly say I truly admire about him, since I would never be able to it myself. I'd want to kill the SOB.

As a lapsed Catholic, I have to say that JPII is one of the main reasons I am a lapsed Catholic. Without a doubt he was a truly devout and good man, but I cannot live with his version of the faith.

That said, I have to agree with the posts about him being a large part of the reason communism collapsed. Don't forget that, in my opinion, his stance on war never really changed. He did not want a war against eastern europe either. He did not necessarily consider it a just war within the meaning of the Catholic Church's definition of such a war. He also, I think, agreed with Reagan that communism would collapse of its own weight once we stopped propping it up.

I agree with you on many of the other points you make about him, but I do think that on the communism issue he walked the walk.

Posted by: JJR on Apr. 5, 2005

"But he was wrong about a lot."

so you are denying that jpII was the pope?

Posted by: louielouie on Apr. 5, 2005

Yah, JJR, but that's why he's pope.

Posted by: Casca on Apr. 5, 2005

Casca, no argument there. I'm just saying that's why I'm not much of a churchgoer anymore.

Posted by: JJR on Apr. 6, 2005