As most of you know, various news sources are reporting Pope John Paul II has died, while others, including the Vatican, are denying this. However, the Vatican has confirmed that he is dying, and that it is only a matter of time. I am in Toledo, Ohio, preparing to speak this evening at the Toledo Reformed Theology Conference, so I am watching the coverage at Fox News, and it is truly fascinating.
It is truly amazing to listen to them promoting Mary as Mediatrix, the Rosary, etc., and, of course, he is being passed directly into the presence of God with no stops in purgatory. In fact, one of the commentators (Monsignor Lisante) said that John Paul must have released many from purgatory due to his own sufferings (see how relevant the topics have been in our debate series on Long Island?). It is truly amazing to observe and even sadder to realize that so few of those who are hearing this have any idea what is being said or what it means.
Now a Vatican representative is saying that Mary has opened wide the door to heaven to John Paul, who dedicated himself to Mary (a reference to the Papal motto, Totus tuus, “totally yours,” addressed not to Jesus, but to Mary). If you are likewise watching, do not hold your breath waiting to hear about repentance from sin, the perfection of the work of Christ, the imputed righteousness of Christ. But you will hear much of Mary, far more than of Jesus. The true faith of Rome is on display in this situation. American Roman Catholic apologists seek to diminish the centrality of Mary in Roman theology, but here you see how foundational Mary is to the piety of the leadership of the Roman Catholic Church in Rome itself.
I will continue blogging live observations as time allows until I have to leave to speak this evening.