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When popes and presidents meet, headlines could not inform the personal tales — GetReligion

Readers who’re within the historical past of all this, I’d suggest studying a Faith Information Service advance story that ran with this headline: “A look back at the history of US presidential visits to the Vatican.”

The part coping with the a number of conferences between Reagan and John Paul II is brief, however attention-grabbing.

When Reagan and John Paul II met for the primary time on the Vatican on June 7, 1982, they already had a lot in frequent. In 1981, they each survived assassination makes an attempt, they usually seen their assembly as a divine signal that that they had a goal to satisfy. “God saved us each,” John Paul II reportedly stated, “in order that we will do what we’re about to do. How else can or not it’s defined?”

The assembly, which lasted 50 minutes, marked the primary time a pope and a president spoke alone behind closed doorways. The 2 had exchanged a flurry of letters within the months main as much as the assembly, addressing the way forward for Europe and an finish to the escalating nuclear tensions.

For the subsequent six years, the Reagan and John Paul II partnership reshaped Europe amid the tumult of the Chilly Conflict, revealing the potential of a union between two world and ethical superpowers.

Apparently there was extra to those encounters than musings on loss of life and the way forward for Europe.

Due to personal conversations with Catholic members of his White Home internal circle, Reagan had develop into fascinated with a selected set of mysterious Catholic revelations. He wished enter from the occupant of the Chair of St. Peter.

Any public point out of this dialogue would have been explosive, to say the least. Here’s a chew of an “On Religion” column that I wrote on this topic:

The key matter, at Reagan’s request: The visions of Our Woman of Fatima to a few kids in Portugal in 1917, together with prophecies linking St. Mary, Russia and, the world would later study, the capturing of a “bishop in white.” This was essential details about John Paul II.

The pope believed Mary intervened to avoid wasting his life on Might 13, 1981, when an murderer tied to Bulgarian spies and Soviet navy intelligence gunned him down in St. Peter’s Sq. — on the sixty fourth anniversary of the primary Fatima imaginative and prescient.

The pope wanted six pints of blood to outlive. Reagan required eight pints throughout surgical procedure after he was shot six weeks earlier, on March thirtieth. He was satisfied his survival was a part of a divine plan, which Reagan referred to as the “DP.”

Reagan met John Paul II for the primary time a 12 months after the shootings. He informed the pope: “Look how the evil forces had been put in our means and the way Windfall intervened.”

Reagan’s daring “tear down this wall” speech in Berlin adopted one in every of these face-to-face discussions with John Paul II, with the president refusing to delete these explosive phrases from his textual content (as requested by diplomats within the State Division).

None of that made it into the headlines, in fact.

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FIRST IMAGE: Picture of St. Pope John Paul II and President Ronald Reagan, from the photo archives of the Reagan Foundation.

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