Saturday, April 30, 2005

I have finally arrived

Just wanted to announce my arrival at my new home on the front lines of the culture war: sunny California! As a new Orange County resident, I'm sure that it will take me a while to get past the culture shock, so blogging may be sporadic to non-existent as I make the adjustment. I don't think that I'll ever adapt to the point where purple glitter in baptismal font will be acceptable (and yes, I did actually see that in a local parish, along with a Richard Rohr flyer about reforming the "patriarchy" that limited women's "participation" in the Church). But several parish communities in the area look promising, so I have high hopes. Anywhere surrounded by Angels and Padres can't be that bad, right?

Thursday, April 14, 2005

Examples in problems that result from analyzing implicit error

I was planning to structure this second post around showing why the earlier dialogue between myself and Dr. Svendsen became such a debacle, but I've decided to defer that discussion for a little while in favor of discussing an example that came up in the comments section of my previous post. To recap the subject of that post, my observation was that the failure to determine with specificity whether the Reformers considered the Catholic formulation of sacramental efficacy (as they understood it) implicitly or explicitly wrong from the perspective of justification was rendering it impossible to analyze the Reformers' arguments. I also noted that the standard critique based on the condemnation of the Anabaptists by the Magisterial Reformers is insufficient to make out the historical case one way or the other, because it would be possible to have a sacramental theology that condemns both the Anabaptists and the Catholics for explicit justificational error. For example, if having sacramental efficacy with any objective component whatsoever apart from the faith of the individual or community was considered a violation of sola fide, then any version of the Catholic belief, even after correcting for the common misinterpretations, would be explicitly erroneous. In that case, it would be explictly erroneous to even speak of an organization or minister as having any validity apart from the faith of the community (certainly, the Protestant notion of "calling" appears to reflect such an understanding), but such external validity is more or less the definition of Catholicism. If such an argument is true, there is simply no way that one could possibly be Catholic by any reasonable definition of that term and simultaneously correct on justification. Consequently, I think that there is legitimately an open question as to whether the Reformers considered Catholicism per se an explicit contradiction of sola fide that must be denied (allowing for the theological knowledge of the individual) for someone to be a true Christian.

If I'm right about that historical question being open, then I consider several of Tim Enloe's responses to be unhelpful and/or question-begging. For example:

What you mean by "what did the Reformers think about the Catholic view of sacramental efficacy" needs to be defined precisely because we're going to have to be able to distinguish more general concepts like "baptism actually does something" and "Christ is really present in this bread and wine", assumptions shared by all but the most radical of men in the 16th century, from Protestant polemics against "ex opere operato" and "sacerdotalism" and "transubstantiation" and so forth. If "the Catholic view of sacramental efficacy" actually does mean the worst of what the Reformers were protesting against, then no, they didn't accept "the Catholic view of sacramental efficacy". If it refers instead to more general concepts underlying specific details that may be legitimately debatable, then the argument will need to take a different form and will not be solvable merely by having men paste "clear" texts from their massive "Calvin Was Quite Clearly A Bapterian Just Like Me" file.

But this avoids exactly what I just pointed out, which is that "baptism actually does something" and "Christ is really present in this bread and wine" may have nothing at all to do with whether Catholicism was an explicit error from the perspective of justification. Zwingli rejected both of those premises, but it's not at all clear to me that his rejection of Catholicism based on justification was substantially different from Luther's or Calvin's. "Calvin Was Quite Clearly a Bapterian Just Like Me" simply isn't the issue, and moreover, you can't even reach an argument about the "general concepts underlying specific details" without completely analyzing those specific details according to accepted methods.

Now I'm going to go off on a tangent for a moment. That term "accepted methods" is probably setting off all sorts of alarm bells about "Enlightenment-style" rationality, but it oughtn't. The reason "accepted methods" are accepted is that they have been confirmed by experience to convey reasonable certainty about some aspect of objective reality. It's not a question of some a priori rationalistic certainty that the method will reveal truth, which is what Enlightenment philosophy taught (following Aristotle). Instead, it's a gritty, experential sort of acceptance that establishes both the reliability and the limits of whatever method is being employed, which is pretty much how modern scholarship operates. Of course, there's always that temptation from the Enlightenment to overreach the reliability of a method, but the advantage of keeping things experiential is that you can call someone on it simply by arguing that someone has gone beyond the limits where the method is considered reliable (or alternatively, has claimed that the method is more unreliable than it is). That's why I'm harping so much on these dialectical issues, because they illustrate areas where people are prone to overclaim beyond the limits of historical reliability. It's also why I keep trying to focus on specificity and answering questions than we can actually expect the historical method to answer, and where the method is most reliable is in dealing with highly particular claims about specific details. Only after you establish those types of claims as well as you possibly can, can you then begin to make arguments from them. Indeed, it is expecting historical inquiry to answer questions that it can't possibly answer that smacks of the Enlightenment more than anything.

Keeping that in mind, here are some statements that exasperate me:

Nevertheless, as a matter of principle I profoundly dislike the major emphases of Baptistic theology because I find them to be unbiblical on an exegetical basis and anti-social on a historical basis. The problems in which paedobaptist societies can become enmeshed simply pale in comparison with those created by the sectarian zealotry of radicalized forms of credobaptist society, such as the one you advocate. Credobaptism is the child of Modernity, and as such it is always groveling at the feet of Modernity, thanking Unbelief for being so tolerant of it and allowing it to have one more irrelevant voice in a public square ruled by the godless Secular State.

"Anti-social on a historical basis?" There is no way that you can possibly convince me that this claim is subject to historical proof. It's so broad that I can't even conceive of a way that it could be defined historically, much less actually demonstrated. Nor do I expect that you could prove even something as broad as "credobaptism is the child of modernity." And if you can't show definitively either by reductio ad absurdam or by admission that the errors you describe are implicit in Baptist theology or credobaptism (which would require an extraordinary amount of record evidence to be reliable from a historical standpoint), then you have no business saying it in any discussion that is supposed to be historically rigorous. I agree with Dr. Svendsen; the whole point of CRE is to put these discussions into a particularized context in reality. Untestable polemics are unproductive.

Thankfully, however, most Baptists seem to be just ordinary, decent folk trying to live their lives quietly and peaceably. They read their Bibles, try to live in harmony with God's will, and do the best they can with what the Lord has given them. Consequently, I think God very often protects them from becoming consisent with their ethic of individualism, and also uses them to remind paedobaptists not to become presumptuous about the better things He has given us. "Who makes you to differ?", indeed, as the Apostle says.

This is the incredibly patronizing tone that commonly results from the kind of theorizing that you are doing. I almost think open hatred would be preferable.

Your description of Paul's Gospel as being a couple of propositions about not adding any works to faith, which you then so ruthlessly apply to the world that it causes you to hive off from everyone who even remotely appears to be "compromising" the dualism of your view, is a rather shallow way of reading Paul. I don't care how good you are at manipulating Greek symbols; you are NOT in the head of the original author with that sort of view. Whatever his errors may be, I much prefer N.T. Wright to you and your friends on this point. Wright at least takes into account the actual history of redemption rather than subordinating it to unnaturally-absolutized 16th century polemics which fresh historical research is increasingly showing to be quite in need of clarification.

Have you even read any of Wright's opponents, or do you just decide based on some a priori conclusion about what the conclusion ought to be? How can you seriously make the claim that Wright's opponents don't "take into account the actual history of redemption?" You make these judgments about the "rather shallow nature" of Dr. Svendsen's view and conclude that he is "NOT in the head of the original author," but you don't appeal to any of the sorts of tools that we used based on experience to adjudicate those sorts of claims. And I can't even fathom how "fresh historical research is increasingly showing [16th century polemics] to be quite in need of clarification." How is that a question that historical methods can even answer?

To get back to the original point, you're right that historical theology questions are paramount here. In order to get at your question about whether the Reformers thought of "the Catholic view of sacramental efficacy" as an implicit or explicit error on justification, it's first important to figure out what sort of men the Reformers were.That is: Were they late Medieval men trying to reform an existing society without breaking it to ruins? Or were they proto-Modern men trying to restart society from scratch regardless of breaking it into ruins?

This is exactly backward. The first importance is to apply the techniques you have to collect as much information as you can, and then figure out what sort of men the Reformers were based on that information.

I take the opposite approach and argue that the Reformers's principles were fundamentally catholic in the sense of what McGrath has called the "tremendous doctrinal diversity" that existed in the late Medieval Church. I think that the idea that the Reformers were very concerned with organic continuity with the best of the Christian past far better explains the so-called "Romanizing" features of some of their activities than does the idea that the Reformers were messily wrapped up in logical discontinuity with their historically innovative, but purportedly "timeless", principles. That is one very important locus from which all this "savagery" that you mention is flowing.

I agree that this is the area from whence the "savagery" is flowing, but you've got the reasoning entirely wrong. Forget whether the Reformers were "very concerned with organic continuity" or whether they were "messily wrapped up in logical discontinuity." There is absolutely no way that historical inquiry can answer those questions meaningfully; they are far too complex. McGrath makes his conclusions about "tremendous doctrinal diversity" based on thousands of particular cases examined in gory detail before he ever starts making judgments on the issues you're describing. You should do the same.

Hence, having stated my assumption about what kind of men the Reformers were, it then seems necessary to me that a much deeper conversation about "what Catholics believe" about the sacraments is necessary. I find the baptistic "it's a work added to the Gospel" species of argument about the historic Christian position of sacramental efficacy to be out of bounds of ministerially-determined orthodoxy which both your Church and mine accept (even though quite obviously we go in very different directions with it).

There is no "historic Christian position of sacramental efficacy." From a historical perspective, there are a bunch of particular positions of sacramental efficacy. Those "very different directions" of which you speak may be exactly the point of historical divergence on sola fide, so claiming that both our traditions accept "ministerially-determined orthodoxy" is simply creating agreement through vagueness.

I don't buy the assertions of the "Watch out! It's a Judaizer!" crowd that, e.g., Lutheranism is flirting with denying the Gospel because it believes in a form of baptismal regeneration. I don't buy the prooftexting of Calvin that makes him out to be a sort of prototypical Thornwellian Presbyterian and which then tries to shout down any other reading of Calvin as mere "twisting" of the man's words based on intent to deceive and compromise with "Romanism". Such arguments are, I believe, specious on historical grounds. They only work in the truncated sort of world where Systematic Theology has been elevated to the level of the Platonic Forms, and the plausibility of all other readings dismissed out of hand on the basis of radicalisms about justification.

I was with you on not buying these things right up until you got to the charge of speciousness. That is an awfully ambitious claim that would require an exorbitant amount of information to reasonably demonstrate. It doesn't strike me as "specious" to read Calvin this way, and it doesn't appear to have looked specious to Fr. Kimel either, who is hardly someone with an axe to grind against "Romanism." This is just another example of making a claim that sounds as if it is grounded in fact without providing the sorts of justification that one one ordinarily expect from such a claim.

Anyway, to bring this back to the topic, these excerpts are a classic examples of what happens when you fail to distinguish an explicit error from an implicit error. Whatever error there is in Baptist theology can't possibly be explicit from the generally "Reformed" point of view; otherwise, something like the CRE would never exist (as Dr. Svendsen noted). Consequently, the right course of action in attempting to rebut Baptist theology would be first to analyze the problem in the most particularlized and detailed way possible in order to frame the issue accurately BEFORE going into rebuttal. Over and over again, Tim jumps to conclusions without performing this crucial first step, and as a result, his arguments are perceived to be needlessly dismissive and hostile. They are the kind of arguments that generate heat, but not light.

I see an entirely different approach on Dr. Svendsen's side. Not every presentation is a full-blown explanation, but the claims that they make are of the sort that lend themselves to being supported or debated based on particulars. What appears to be a general statement (such as "denying the Gospel") actually turns out to be a relatively small set of particular claims that can be analyzed in a straightforward manner, so that they aren't speaking in these broad, unprovable terms. The rhetorical trappings may appear similar, but viewing them in the light of relative particularity, they are as different as night and day.

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

Dialectical problems in analyzing implicit errors

Despite having a title like a dissertation, the concept I have in mind is pretty simple. It begins with the observation that one of the sharpest divides between Protestants who consider themselves "Reformed" concerns the proper disposition of those groups toward Catholics based on the doctrine of imputed justification/sola fide. The intensity of this division gives people on both sides strong incentives toward being able to claim the original Reformers in support of their views, particularly because the doctrine in question is considered to be not only a common tenet of both sides but also the cornerstone of the Reformation itself. I believe that the frantic quest to claim the territory of the Reformers for one side of the other has obscured the historical issue at the center of the controversy: whether the Reformers actually considered certain Catholic "errors" to be implicit or explicit.

To recap what I mean by those terms, an "explicit error" is a plain and clearly expressed contradiction to what one considers a dogmatic truth. An "implicit error" is a belief that can either be orthodox or explicitly erroneous depending on intent or conclusions drawn from the belies. Clearly, there are some aspects of Catholic theology that the Reformers simply considered explicitly erroneous, particularly the ordination of a sacrificial priesthood. But what is relevant to the issue at hand is the Catholic belief in sacramental efficacy, and particularly, whether the Reformers considered that belief an implicit error or an explicit error. The main difference is that the former would leave Catholic teaching on justification corrigible by either forestalling the erroneous conclusion or correcting the erroneous intent. The latter view would not appear to leave such an option open; one would need to scrap the Catholic notion of sacramental efficacy entirely.

The knee-jerk response is to point out that the Magisterial Reformers condemned the Anabaptist view, thereby demonstrating that they considered baptism essential as a true instrument of grace. Because they considered baptism an essential element of grace, the Magisterial Reformers must have considered the Catholic error only implicit, since the Catholic error wasn't in the belief that baptism was essential but rather in the reason that Catholics considered baptism essential. Unfortunately, I don't think that this rejoinder resolves the issue so cleanly. The problem is that there are views of sacramental efficacy that would suffice to reject the Anabaptist view while still explicitly contradicting the Catholic view, and therefore, the simple rejection of the Anabaptist view doesn't entail that the Reformers considered the Catholic error implicit rather than explicit. On the other hand, neither is it clear that the Catholic view of sacramental efficacy specifically was considered a denial of the Gospel based on the broader condemnation of Catholicism as a whole and the invocation of the anathemas of Galatians, etc. It seems to me that the specific question of whether the Reformers considered the Catholic doctrine of sacramental efficacy a denial of the Gospel is still an open one.

The problem as I see it is that people have rushed into attempting to co-opt the Reformers for their respective sides without doing the preliminary analysis to determine the view of the Reformers vis-a-vis Catholic sacramental efficacy. As a result, it isn't possible to put the Reformers' arguments in a proper dialectic context for resolving the relevant issue (specifically, whether Catholicism is corrigible on justification or not). The end result is a great deal of frustration and hostility that seems to be avoidable by simply returning to the careful discipline of trying to answer this specific question (viz., what the Reformers thought about the Catholic view of sacramental efficacy) from the historical record. From what I have seen, there is far less attention being paid to that matter than there ought to be, with people instead electing to jump prematurely into the persuasive mode.

I think the implications of the problem are significant. If the position exemplified by Dr. Svendsen (i.e., that Catholic sacramental efficacy is an explicit error on justification) is correct, then he would be exactly right both in maintaining that the evangelical style should be confrontational and in arguing that accommodation to this point of view is itself an implicit error. On the other hand, if the Reformed Catholics are correct, then the relative ecumenism of their position is more appropriate, since "grabbing them by their baptism" would be a valid way of reaching Catholics where they can likely be corrected. Leaving aside the significant Scriptural issue of the "New Perspective on Paul" and those associated entanglements, there is a real, understudied problem of historical theology that is relevant to the dispute here, and jumping to conclusions is not helping to address that problem IMHO.

Now, obviously it's not a matter of great import to me as a Catholic which of these evangelical styles gets adopted. Frankly, if you're not trying to exclude Catholics from the workplace or the like, I'm fine with either the confrontational approach or the common foundation approach, because in the end, it's still about you considering my beliefs wrong and trying to convince me otherwise for my own good. But the degree of savagery involved in these particular conflicts seems to be detracting seriously from each side's ability to be effective in accomplishing good on other common areas (so-called "co-belligerency"), and that ought to be a bad thing by anyone's lights. If this provides an approach for all of you to calm down and to start confronting a problem in a calmer, more systematic way, I'll be happy. And if not, well, I'll still feel better for having made the attempt. :-)

Comments, flames, and other feedback welcome.

The light comes on!

I think I have genuinely identified what was confusing and frustrating me in my previous interaction with Dr. Svendsen, and oddly enough, it came from noticing a relatively innocuous-sounding statement in the middle of this response to Kevin Johnson on the subject of Mary:

In the first place, something doesn’t have to be “heretical” to be wrong, just as someone doesn't have to be a heretic to be wrongheaded. It is not so much of a concern that the statement betrays someone with an erroneous understanding of how to do biblical exegesis (something that is easily forgiven since it is something evangelicals engage in regularly). The primary concern is the heretical Marian mindset from which that statement springs.

Therein may lie the entire problem in a nutshell, which I will endeavor to explain. I think that Dr. Svendsen has drawn an astute distinction here between explicit and implicit error. Something that is explicitly erroneous, which is probably what one ordinarily considers "heresy," is the explicit denial of a proposition accepted as true. Denying the divinity of Christ, for example, is explicitly erroneous. On the other hand, there also appears to be a class of statements or conduct that is not explicitly erroneous but that *can* be erroneous depending on the actor's intent or the conclusions drawn from a proposition. These sorts of errors are, I believe, what Dr. Svendsen means by "apostasy in progress," when one has not yet gone out from Christianity. Dr. Svendsen clearly considers implicit error a far greater threat, as he indicated in this post and an earlier post:

In reality they have abandoned the truth of the gospel, and that abandonment of truth has a spiraling effect that should act as a sober reminder to all of us. Once one has successfully resisted some degree of truth, God releases his grip and allows him to pursue more severe rejection of truth. Once they accomplish that, the spiral continues in its downward course to apostasy—and, of course, along the way, they’ll end up taking many others with them. That’s the real danger. It’s easy to recognize error when it doesn’t look Christian—not so easy when it does. That’s why it’s always better for those who will eventually become apostate to do so quickly. If you’re going to “go out from us” and romance Rome, do so. Do it with gusto. Do it with courage. Do it with conviction. But do us all a favor and cease being subtle about it. Why contribute to someone else’s destruction?

I realize there will be others who disagree with me on this, but in a very real way, the imminent death of the pope is a good thing (this line will, of course, become a "whipping boy" quotation and will end up on numerous RC discussion forums and blogs to bolster their belief that I hate Catholics and am gleefully awaiting the pope's demise). It is a good think because it benefits the interests of the many who are trying to figure out what Roman Catholicism really is, what it believes, and in which direction it will finally go. The death of the pope means the appointment of another pope, who may be either more conservative or more liberal than the current pope--and knowing just who that is and in which direction he plans to steer his denomination is of primary interest to those of us who wish to see some clarity of statements on RC positions; not to mention that it matters for the future of Roman Catholicism at large.

Incidentally, I should mention that I saw nothing malicious in the latter statement, since I took it exactly as a request for the doctrinal conflicts to be made explicit. As I've said before, I think that is exactly the right course of action, and I certainly have no qualms about saying that increased clarity in Catholic beliefs is a good thing. Really, I share Dr. Svendsen's hopes in this regard. But I include it specifically here because it illustrates the theme that Dr. Svendsen views implicit (hidden) error as presenting even more danger than some explicit errors.

In the main, I agree both that there are implicit errors and that implicit errors are often more dangerous than explicit ones. This is the principal reason that I strive for everyone's theological cards to be laid on the table plainly and openly. A theological error cannot be addressed until made explicit in some way, either by reductio ad absurdam (illustrating that the explicit error logically follows from the person's beliefs) or by explicit admission of the erroneous conclusion or intent. From a dialectical standpoint, this means that implicit errors must be handled in a completely different manner from the method used to address explicit errors. The goal of dealing with the former is only to make the error explicit while the goal of the latter is to actually correct the error. Indeed, what makes implicit errors so much more dangerous is that they must be exposed before they are rebuked. In essence, you can't fast-forward to rebutting the view; you have to go through the entire dialectical process of exposing the error before you can even start to respond to it. In my opinion, insufficient attention is being given to this fundamental dialectical distinction, and that inattention is spoiling both the analysis of arguments and the presentation of arguments. I'll devote my next couple of posts to giving examples of how I see the problems manifesting themselves.

Thursday, April 07, 2005

Starting off on the right foot

I thank Dr. Svendsen for accepting my apology. In the spirit of trying to be more civil, I thought I would take a little time giving some attention to a matter that (in my view) contributed to the decline of civil discourse: giving credit where credit is due. It seems like a small thing, but it gets bypassed far too often when the goal is "winning" a debate and "getting" one's opponent. In that respect, there's a particular series of arguments with Dr. Svendsen that I think hasn't given him his due, and I'd like to address that.

When the subject of Dr. Svendsen's thesis or his work Who Is My Mother? based on that thesis arises, it's become almost reflexive for some Catholics to make some sneering reference to "heos hou." I think that behavior is wrong, and that opinion is based on reading the arguments on both sides. While I think it's reasonable to disagree with Dr. Svendsen's conclusion that the "non-ceasing" interpretation of heos hou fell into semantic obsolescence, the amount of crowing on the Catholic side is far out of line with the the strength of the argument even if the objection is correct. Dr. Svendsen put it well here:

I freely concede in my book (all the misrepresentations of my views by Pacheco and Sungenis notwithstanding) that if a clear example of this usage can be found in the literature of Matthew’s own day, then Roman Catholics may have a case for their understanding of Matt 1:25. But even then, the Roman Catholic interpretation would simply move from the realm of exceedingly improbable to the realm of highly improbable. It would be a remarkable admission, indeed, for someone candidly to assert that his dogmatic belief is based on improbabilities regarding the Greek language. Yet, that is the most the discovery of one contrary instance of this phrase will yield the Roman Catholic position.

And that's quite honestly the bottom line of the whole thing. We've got to admit when the facts are against us, which is what people having a respectable position do. There may be other reasons to accept the perpetual virginity of Mary, but we have to acknowledge that based on the linguistic evidence we have, there wouldn't be a reason to think that Mary was ever-virgin. This interpretation and the related interpretation of "brothers/sisters" can be considered bare possibilities, but they certainly aren't anything like probable, and as Fr. Raymond Brown put it, such interpretations wouldn't be accepted absent other considerations. That doesn't mean that the belief is *based* on such improbabilities, because it's really a question of the other considerations outweighing the improbability of this particular conclusion. But that doesn't change the fact that it *is* an improbable interpretation and that accepting it is going to require some pretty darn good evidence for why the improbable interpretation should be accepted. Acting as if Dr. Svendsen is an anti-Catholic zealot for raising a question that might occur to any reasonable person doesn't make any sense. It is (to be entirely candid) a weak point in the case for Catholicism, a hard thing for anybody to accept, just like the problem of evil is a difficult objection that many reasonable people have to Christianity. Failing to display humility and to give credit on this point, as we should in all charity do, simply weakens our own presentation by failing to address valid concerns and by making us appear less straightforward than we ought to be.

OK, I'm glad to get that off my chest, because it had occurred to me to say something quite a while back, but I had forgotten about it in light of lots of things going on. Happily, this occasion provided a reminder of that charitable impulse. I hope nobody will take what I'm saying here amiss, but I genuinely feel that Dr. Svendsen is being unfairly criticized on this issue, and I think that it's a significant reason for the mutual antipathy that has developed in Catholic-Evangelical discussions.

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

Trying to do better

I took down my last post directed at Eric Svendsen and the comment that inspired it. Substantively, I think that it was right, but I'm not happy with the way I handled those comments, or indeed, with the way that I handled the exchange overall. As a Christian, I have a greater responsibility than simply winning arguments or being right. My behavior must also meet the standards of charity and fraternity with my Christian brothers, and I don't feel that the earlier exchange did that, for which I apologize to Dr. Svendsen. I'm leaving that exchange up, because I think that there are significant substantive issues there that oughtn't be trashed at this point. But I will do my best to fashion a more charitable and fraternal explanation that displays respect for my opponent, who did take a great deal of time out for this dialogue.

To those of my commenters who commended my patience, please don't be fooled. This is hardly an example of what Christian charity ought to be, and it did not live up to my personal standards of conduct. Don't congratulate me for it; learn from my mistake.

Monday, April 04, 2005

Regarding Pope John Paul the Great

I agree entirely with Dave Armstrong's assessment of the papacy of Karol Wojtyla. What is not seen yet, but will be seen in the coming years, is that John Paul II's living legacy will become the very soul of the Church in the future. On a personal level, the papacy of John Paul II has defined, shaped, and clarified my Catholicism in a powerful way, and I dedicate myself to being a part of the following that I believe will end up being his greatest gift to the Church, to which he gave so much. Truly, few people in history have been given the grace of serving Christ in the profound way that Pope John Paul II did, and if the fruits of his life in Christ are a true indication of this man's heart, then his reward in Heaven will surely be great.