John Paul Ii

We do not expect that John Paul II will greatly alter the ways of Roman Catholicism. But there is reason to hope that he will be open to change such as toleration toward other Christians and adherents of other religions and also encouragement to Catholics who are emphasizing the centrality of Christ.

Although Catholics are a huge majority within Poland, John Paul’s experience under Nazi, then Communist rule, should make him more sensitive to the plight of religious minorities. When the Polish government was hounding the Oasis movement with its evangelical overtones and other Polish bishops were vacillating, it was the future pope who helped Oasis to achieve recognition and hence, a measure of protection (see News, October 6, p. 44).

The pope is receiving advice from diverse quarters. We think he could do no better than heed the Apostle Paul’s charge: “A bishop, as God’s steward, must be blameless; … he must hold firm to the sure word as taught, so that he may be able to give instruction in sound doctrine and also to confute those who contradict it” (Titus 1:7a, 9).

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