Monday, July 17, 2017

Why I'm Interested in A Pope and a President

In a conversation on a friend's blog that had veered wildly away from the actual topic of the blog post, I mentioned having heard somewhere about a book which talks about Ronald Reagan's devotion to the Blessed Mother, and some sort of relationship with Pope St. John Paul II. Although I was a bit curious, I didn't really plan on trying to find out the name of the book until I walked by accident into someone's room and saw the book sitting on a chair by the door. Someone who didn't think it would be very interesting asked if I was going to read it, and I wanted to comment on why I thought I would, but the comment would have been way too long for a combox, so I'm writing it here.

 Many people who have a devotion to Our Lady of Fatima believe that the disintegration of the USSR and the fall of Communism were directly attributable to Pope John Paul II's consecration (along with the bishops who consented to join with him) of the world Our Lady of Fatima on March 25, 1984. This consecration was requested by the Blessed Mother at Fatima. It's interesting that it was Pope John Paul II who finally made the consecration because he was not originally a great believer in the apparition.

You may remember that he was a great admirer of Hans Urs von Balthasar. I'm pretty sure that it was the pope's admiration of this theologian that made his name known to beyond theological circles. It's certainly how I came to hear of him and buy some of his books. Very early in his book about Mary, he relates why he does not believe that the apparition is authentic. The Holy Father seems to have been influenced by von Balthasar's opinion. It was, of course, after the pope survived an assassination attempt on the feast of Our Lady of Fatima in 1981 (when he was bent down to look at her image) that he began to practice that devotion.

 Of course, in the secular arena, especially in the Republican arena, the collapse of the Soviet Empire was the work of Ronald Reagan. So, I would find it fascinating if there is a Marian link there, too, and especially if this is something John Paul and Reagan had discussed.


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