In 1979, Pope John Paul II spent just nine days in his home country, Poland. This historic pilgrimage lead to a ‘spiritual revolution’ that culminated in the peaceful collapse of the authoritarian regime in Poland, and eventually to the disintegration of the Soviet Union. Could leaders of the Christian churches today spark a similar ‘spiritual revolution’ to combat manmade climate change?
The primacy of the Bishop of Rome is the term for the highest office in the Church. It consists in carrying out a mission appointed to St. Peter and his successors by Christ. The truth about the primacy is a theoretical plane, dogmatically defined at the I Vatican Council in 1870. It also has a practical dimension, which depends on the individual popes and the particular historical context. A characteristic feature of the pontificate of John Paul II was the implementation of the reforms of the II Vatican Council and the Church’s preparation for the Great Jubilee of the third millennium. John Paul II realized the primacy function in accordance with the tradition of the Church, on the grounds of the biblical image of Peter the Apostle, and continuing the line of his predecessors – John XXIII and Paul VI. The leading element of his pontificate was the openness to the world, to man and his dignity, or sensitivity to the signs of the times. The priority at the level of ecclesial unity was a concern for the community at all levels, including the ecumenical field. John Paul II realized the primacy ministry as Servus servorum Dei, in the ancient formula – priority in love .
The Catholic image of Martin Luther in the course of the centuries evolved from the literally negative one during the time of the Reformation and the centuries that followed, through the theological attempts and historically in-depth analyses inspired by the ecumenical movement up to contemporary acceptance of several theological postulates. Contemporary movements of Roman-Catholic thinking of Luther well summarize historically vulnerable and dogmatically deepened opinions of the recent popes: John Paul II, Benedict XVI and Francis. Following the agreement texts of the Lutheran-Catholic Commission at the world forum, ecumenically open popes can find out in Martin Luther a profoundly religious man, the witness of the Gospel whose theological thought is still relevant and a challenge for the presently secularized world.
This article presents little known facts sampled from the notes and personal records of Professor Stanis$aw Pigoń and Karol Wojtyła. The two met for the first time in 1938, when young Wojtyła began his studies at the Polish Department of the Jagiellonian University. A bond of mutual liking and respect, based on similar personalities and similar war experiences, morphed into an abiding friendship in the years after the war. The article chronicles that friendship on the basis of documents and private papers held in the Jagiellonian Library (Professor Pigoń’s Archives) and the Archives of the Metropolitan Curia in Cracow. Wojtyła, when he became Pope John Paul II always spoke warmly about his university teachers, especially about Professor Pigoń.