The Preparation for the Great Jubilee
Second Vatican Council
Pope John Paul II
Remote Preparation
Immediate Preparation
1997- The Year of Jesus
1998 - The Year of the Holy Spirit
1999 - the Year of the Father
Pope John Paul II

An immensely important part of God's providential preparation for the New Millennium has been the pontificate of Pope John Paul II. An original thinker, both as philosopher and theologian, he was uniquely qualified to ascend the throne of Peter to continue and bring to fruition the teaching of Vatican II.

The Second Vatican Council has been characterized as a pastoral council; however, it could be more accurately called a personalist council. Personalism is a modern intellectual movement that has influenced every other discipline. It prefers to speak of the human person, of creativity and freedom, rather than of nature, law, authority and duty. While personalism was intended as an antidote for authoritarianism (such as that of the Soviet and Nazi regimes) in which the individual human person is devalued, in the democratic countries it has resulted in erroneous interpretations of man and unbridled views of freedom. However, although the Second Vatican Council used the contemporary language of personalism it did not do so apart from the authentic truth about man and his world enshrined in the philosophy of St. Thomas Aquinas and Sacred Tradition.

Since the Council two erroneous polarities seem to have dominated the discussion of the Council's merits. On the one hand there are those who count themselves as progressives. In some cases they contributed to the Council or simply rejoiced in its personalism, but who now for the most part interpret it falsely, after the fashion of the world, without reference to either Christian philosophy or Sacred Tradition. 

On the other hand, there are those who reject the Council's orientation and its documents (in one degree or another), and who see the Church before the Second Vatican Council as the last integral expression of the Catholic faith. This integralist view takes many forms, from subtle suspicion to overt attack on the Council, its teaching and its pastoral decisions.

In the midst of this time in salvation history, God seated a man on the chair of Peter who had spent his adult life integrating personalism with the perennial philosophy of the Church and her Sacred Tradition. To these personal intellectual gifts he added the charism of Peter to guide and protect his judgments when they would have influence on the direction of Church teaching. This combination of intellectual insight and supernatural charism manifests a special providence of God who provides for the Church to enter the Third Millennium of Christianity and build a civilization of love. 

Perhaps, even more remarkable has been the integration of the man himself, who in his own life has shown himself totally disposed to the will of God, through the Blessed Virgin Mary. In carrying out the teaching of the Council, the Holy Father has shown a true evangelical freedom that risks treating others' consciences and freedom with the same respect with which God deals with every human being. This is perhaps the greatest teaching he has given us, his personal example of supernatural respect for each and every human person.