Move to Name Pope John Paul II Patron of Europe

News: World News
by Martina Moyski  •  •  December 10, 2019   

Warsaw archbishop initiates move

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WARSAW ( - A move to proclaim Pope St. John Paul II patron of Europe and doctor of the Church has been initiated by Polish bishops.

Archbishop Stanisław Gądecki of Warsaw extended an invitation to the Council of the Bishops' Conferences of Europe (CCEE) during a three-day meeting in Bratislawa, Slovakia on Dec. 1–3 to support the initiative.

The archbishop explained that he asked Pope Francis for permission to extend the invitation to the CCEE to proclaim St. John Paul II patron of Europe and doctor of the Church, confirming, "I have received such permission."

The title "Doctor of the Church" is accorded by the Church to certain saints indicating that their writings and preaching are useful to Christians "in any age of the Church." Such men and women are also noted for their depth of understanding and orthodoxy of their theological teachings. Their writing is considered inspired by the Holy Spirit and determined to contribute to the formulation of Christian teaching although not considered infallible or de fide ("of the Faith").

Early doctors of the Church included Ss. Ambrose, Augustine and Jerome. Recently declared doctors include Ss. Teresa of Ávila ( 1515–1582), Catherine of Siena (c. 1347–1380), Thérèse of Lisieux (1873–1897), Hildegard of Bingen (1098–1179).

Pope St. John Paul II wrote 14 encyclicals, including Laborem Exercens ("On Human Work"), Evangelium Vitae ("The Gospel of Life") and Fides et Ratio ("Faith and Reason").

The sainted pontiff also wrote Theology of the Body, a collection of books growing out of a series of Wednesday audiences in St. Peter's Square and the Paul VI Audience Hall delivered between 1978 and 1984. It examines what it means "to be human, made in God's image and likeness and how that reality is made visible in our human bodies."

In it, the saint exclaims: "The human body includes right from the beginning ... the capacity of expressing love, that love in which the person becomes a gift — and by means of this gift — fulfills the meaning of his being and existence."

The Polish pope was a prolific writer both before and after his papacy. If you put together everything he wrote, it would equal the length of 20 Bibles. He averaged more than 3,000 pages a year during his pontificate alone.

Archbishop Gądecki, who also serves as vice president of the CCEE, addressed his request to CCEE president Cdl. Angelo Bagnasco. The Polish archbishop said the matter of Pope St. John Paul II's becoming patron of Europe and doctor of the Church represents "an extremely important matter for Poland."


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