Petition for “the Great”

Petition for “the Great”

The Catholic Family & Human Rights Institute has set up a petition to have John Paul II recognized as “the Great”. If you want to sign on, read the following for the link:

They stood half a million strong in St. Peter’s Square and chanted “Magnus, Magnus, Magnus.” Translation: “Great, Great, Great.” They were calling for our dearly departed John Paul II to be named “The Great.” Only two previous Popes have been given that title; Leo the Great (d. 461), and Gregory the Great (d. 604). There hasn’t been another one in 1400 years. Until now!

The title “Great” is not given by the Church. It is not given by the College of Cardinals. It is given by the people, by public acclamation and popular use. It is given by you and me.

Most of us will never have the opportunity to make our wishes on this known. But now you can…

I now direct you to where your voice can be heard. Go to and sign the petition calling for John Paul II to be universally acclaimed John Paul the Great.

Your name, along with millions of others, will be delivered directly to office of our new Pope Benedict XVI. The names will also be delivered to the Vatican press corps, the press in the United States and around the world.

Let your voice be heard: “Great, Great, Great, John Paul the Great”

Go to right now and sign the petition.

And, this is very important, right now send this note to your family and friends. Send this around the world. Let this take on a life of its own. Let millions sign!

  • I think this is wonderful and well meaning and all that good stuff.

    But the fact remains that the late Holy Father—who reportedly confessed once weekly—asked in his testament for Masses for the repose of his soul.

    No, I’m not missing the point. I’m only asking that His Holiness’ petition be honored.

    As far as I know, he never asked to be called, here on earth, “the great.”

    He did, however, ask us to pray for his soul.

    It probably feels good, or will feel good, for the only Pope most of us know to be called, here on earth, “the great.”

    I’m feeling is that Father Karol couldn’t care less about the title…I’m pretty much knowing that he could care a great deal about prayers for his soul.

    Sorry if I rained on anybody’s parade, here. And, if you wouldn’t mind, I’d appreciate it if you’d at least take a look at my latest (uploaded before the Holy Spirit chose Benedict) at my site.

    Thank you.

  • I think you’ve hit the nail on the head for me, Kelly. I didn’t want to be the one to yell fart in a crowded theater, but all this talk about “the Great” seemed premature, especially a petition. Isn’t it supposed to be a sort of organic accolade that comes with time? We aren’t very patient these days.

    (And Kelly, I’d read your latest except when I go to I get an error message about the mindspring bit not loading.)

  • I agree on the premature nature of the calls for nt>
    2005-05-04 09:22:34
    2005-05-04 13:22:34
    While I agree with many of your points, (we are SO impatient!)  I do think that the masses are well-intentioned and probably on the right track. I’m sure Leo and Gregory didn’t “want” to be called “great” either. Humility being one of JPII’s main traits, I’m sure he would be amazed at all this. But there is a feeling of urgency building in the faithful that the world needs to be exposed to The Truth, stat, and the demand of many people calling for ‘JPTG’ is understandable. Sainthood will wait, I’m sure, but ‘TG’ is different.  Not to be melodramatic, but the man changed the lives of millions of people living under Communist rule, brought untold numbers of wayward sheep home to the Church, and was a staunch defender of Jesus Christ and His teachings.  Pretty great stuff.  I pray for JPII every day at Mass by name, and add “and the souls who are most in need of thy mercy” because I don’t want to leave out the ‘not-so-great’ people. I’m sure I’m not alone in this. The Santo Subito stuff doesn’t bother me, either, because that was just emotional people who were really saying, “I really, really loved that man.” At least that’s how I saw it.
    GOR- That’s how I see it, too. If I am lucky enough to get to Purgatory, (please, dear Lord…) WOO-HOO, it’s gonna be a great day for me! The knowledge that one day you will definitely see God must be awfully consoling during the purgation!
    I just finished reading “The Divine Comedy”.  Scared. me. to. death.

  • I think Dom and Kelly are right. Our generation has a very shallow understanding of history.

    The way I see it we can all call him The Great who knew him, but only generations will tell if the name really sticks. I may be convinced of his greatness, but I can’t predict what my grandchildren will think. In the same way, I may think a book written last year is great but only time will tell if it will be treasured as a classic for generations of generations and read in schools and treated as part of our intellectual heritage. There have been playwrights more popular in their day than Shakespeare, but no one now remembers their names. (sorry English prof coming out in me)

    However, I would be curious to know if there is any documentary evidence about when “The Great” came to be attached to the names of Popes Leo and Gregory.

  • Re: “The Great”

    I think one particular flaw in his papacy is enough to invalidate the honorific from being applied to John Paul II – that he never evoked a sense of catholicism in the Catholics who loved him.

    In a local newspaper article right after his death, it quotes how a priest who is a dean at our local Catholic university asked somebody in one of his classes if they liked John Paul.  He responded that he thought he was a great man.  The priest then asked if he agreed with any of the pope’s teachings.  The man responded, “Very few of them.”

    And I have heard this in other situations, too:

    Question: “What do you think of the Holy Father?”
    Answer: “We love John Paul, he’s our pope.”
    Question: “Do you obey his teachings?”
    Answer: “Of course not, we’ll not obey that.”

    Re: Purgatory


    I agree with your approach in that we should be humble in assessing the state of our souls.  However, I advise against going too far to the extreme and getting into a mode where we become filled with despair and are dejected in anticipation of a long stay in Purgatory.

    The application of Our Lord’s mercy is mysterious, and there are many means for avoiding Purgatory.  It is within every Catholic’s reach to do so, if they have that intention.

    A book that I own has a very good treatment of the various aspects of Purgatory and I recommend it:

    “Purgatory” by Fr. F.X. Shouppe, S.J.

  • (And Kelly, Ient_author_url>
    2005-05-05 19:06:25
    2005-05-05 23:06:25
    On “Lists”. Don’t sweat the details. Melanie and Kelly. God knows what is in your heart and He’s better at ‘multi-threading” than the latest OS from Microsoft, IBM or Apple.

    A simple “For those who have asked me to pray for them or for whom I am in duty bound to pray…” will ‘cover a multitude’, as it were.

    God can sort out the details.

  • GOR,

    You’re right, of course.

    I think maybe—at least in my case, I don’t know about Melanie but I suspect it’s similar and come to think of it I’ll bet it’s similar to yours as well—that praying for individuals or groups is at least, perhaps more, of a gift for the pray-er than the “pray-ee.”

    It’s a good idea not to, as you say, “sweat the details.” Still it’s a joy for me to pray for you, and—again, as you say—“for those who have asked for my prayers.”

    And, I’d add: “and those for whom I’ve promised to pray.”

    Oremus pro invicem,


  • I agree with Pel .“the Great” is a bit over the top.  JPII was a brilliant theologian, philosopher and a very holy man; however, his Masses were often a liturgical mess (something he could have easily corrected) and he never exercised the control over the bishops’ conferences and the bishops themselves (a tall order even for the greatest administrator-Popes). 

    I do wonder how many souls could he have saved if he had recalled Cardinal Mahoney and scores of other errant bishops to the Vatican instead of letting them devastate their dioceses with heresy?  JPII actually mildly criticized himself in his last book when he admitted that he did not provide enough discipline as he probably should have.

    Still, having said all that, he was an awesome Holy Father and will be fondly remembered for his Theology of the Body—brilliant stuff.  He wrote more on marriage and family than all previous Popes combined.