I’m leaving tomorrow evening for Poland. In preparation, I’ve been reading George Weigel’s great biography of St. John Paul II. Here’s a minor passage, but one that shows what a great pastor young Father Karol Wojtyla was. Here, in Weigel’s words, are five themes from Fr. Wojtyla’s 1954 retreat for students:

  • There was no dividing life up into the serious and the frivolous, the true and the unimportant. The contemporary tendency to fragment life, or to reduce the question fo truth to a secondary issue, had to be resisted. “The method of the Kingdom of God is the method of truth.” Because of that “man must be prepared to agree with reality in its totality.”

  • Christianity was not for the sacristy and the sanctuary alone, nor was it an abstraction. “The Kingdom of God proclaimed by Christ is not merely theory … but a call to action.”

  • Jesus Christ was not God pretending to be man; Jesus Christ was the incarnation of God entered fully into the drama of the human condition. “One man experienced the might of the holiness of God: Jesus Christ. He bore the weight of man’s guilt and stood bearing the ballast before God. The awareness of sin on the one hand and of the holiness of God on the other drew Him to sacrifice Himself and to union with God. This explains the mystery of the garden of Gethsemane and of Golgotha. … “

  • Love is not “fulfilling” oneself through the use of another. Love is giving oneself to another, for the good of the other, and receiving the other as a gift.

  • The lethal paradox of the age was that, for all its alleged humanism, it had ended up devaluing the human person into an economic unit, an ideological category, an expression of a class or race or ethnicity.

You are great, [Wojtyla] told his young people, because you are God’s creation. Anyone who tries to pull you below that standard is demeaning you. Asked why Father Wojtyla was so attractive to young people, Teresa Malecka answered, simply, “He is a good man.” His capacity to convince others of their capacity for goodness was a part of that magnetism.

You don’t have to be a Catholic, or even a Christian, to recognize the truth and the nobility in these teachings — and their relevance for us today.

Contrast that to the messaging, visual and lyrical, in the new Miley Cyrus video, released on Wednesday. It’s called “Mother’s Daughter” — and Cyrus’s mother, who has to be one of the world’s worst parents, actually appears in it. The video is NSFW. It’s evil, straight up — and it has already been viewed over 8 million times. Sample lyrics:

Hallelujah, I’m a freak
I’m a freak, hallelujah
Every day of the week I’ma do ya
Like I want to
I’m a Nile crocodile, a piranha

Oh my God, she got the power
Oh, look at her, she got the power

So-so, so don’t f*ck with my freedom
I came back to get me some
I’m nasty, I’m evil
Must be something in the water or that I’m my mother’s daughter
Don’t f*ck with my freedom
I came back to get me some
I’m nasty, I’m evil
Must be something in the water or that I’m my mother’s daughter

In the clip, Cyrus wears a latex suit with metal “teeth” over her vagina. Watch:

“I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live… “ — Deuteronomy 30:19.

The choices in front of us are becoming increasingly stark, aren’t they?

UPDATE: I should have anticipated this before hitting “publish,” but let me say now: posting “but the pedophile priest scandal!” as if it negates the point I’m trying to make is dumb, and I’m not going to approve any more of them. If you want to make a substantive comment about how the pedophile scandal negates the contrast of visions here, I’m happy to publish it. Otherwise, don’t bother; I’m not going to junk up the comments thread. It’s like comparing Roosevelt to Stalin, and saying that Jim Crow negates Roosevelt’s vision.

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