Saint John Paul II Speaks to Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton: How Models of Male Domination Have Created This Mess

Dear Friends,  While I generally try to avoid controversial pieces, I feel called to weigh in on what I believe is a fundamental problem with the presidential election we are facing.  May the Lord guide our nation as we go forward, and may he give us the grace to again walk in his ways.  In the hearts of Jesus and Mary on this Feast of the Holy Rosary,      Judy fullsizerender

Man, who is the only creature on earth which God has willed for its own sake, cannot fully find himself except through the sincere gift of self.     Second Vatican Council. Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World, 24.

Whom to vote for on November 8? That seems to be the million-dollar question these days. Many people feel that we are living in an absurd election cycle with two unacceptable candidates running for president. The debate about which one to choose is paramount among Catholics who feel that neither major party nominee represents a Catholic worldview.

While confusion abounds, one thing seems clear: both candidates share the same fundamental problem. They’ve built their proverbial houses on what St. John Paul II called “models of male domination”—systems of power based on a fallen, disordered prototype of “masculinity” that rejects the concept of “being a sincere gift of self” in the image of Christ and instead endorses ruling over others at any cost, using aggression and violence when “necessary.”

In reality, Saint John Paul II’s words regarding “models of male domination,” which the sainted pope penned just over twenty years ago in his encyclical letter The Gospel of Life, are nothing short of prophetic. That’s because his words are incarnated, albeit in different ways, in the platforms and lifestyles of both presidential candidates:

1) Donald Trump, an ultra-Alpha male with a lifelong creed of radical domination in the personal and economic spheres who has fully embraced unbridled capitalism and the shameless objectification of women, among other things denounced by John Paul II.

2) Hillary Clinton, an ultra-Alpha female with a lifelong creed of radical domination in the socio-political realm who has aggressively promoted socialist policies and the shameless objectification of unborn children, among other things decried by John Paul II.

If we personalize Saint John Paul II’s words in The Gospel of Life and address them to each of these candidates, they would say:

My dear Hillary,

In transforming a culture so that it supports life, women occupy a place in thought and action that is unique and decisive. It depends on them to promote a “new feminism” which rejects the temptation of imitating models of “male domination” …You are called to bear witness to the meaning of genuine love… Women first learn and then teach others that human relations are authentic if they are open to accepting the other person: a person who is recognized and loved because of the dignity which comes from being a person and not from other considerations, such as usefulness, strength, intelligence, beauty, or health. This is the fundamental contribution which the Church and humanity expect of women. And it is the indispensable prerequisite for an authentic cultural change.”  Pope John Paul II, The Gospel of Life, par. 99

And to the Donald?

My dear Donald,

In a word, we can say that the cultural change which we are calling for demands from everyone the courage to adopt a new life-style, consisting in making practical choices – at the personal, family, social and international level – on the basis of a correct scale of values: the primacy of being over having, of the person over things. This renewed lifestyle involves a passing from indifference to concern for others, from rejection to acceptance of them. Other people are not rivals from whom we must defend ourselves, but brothers and sisters to be supported. They are to be loved for their own sakes, and they enrich us by their very presence. Pope John Paul II, The Gospel of Life, par. 98

These words are eerily spot-on, are they not? That’s because what we are seeing today is the ripe fruit of the “culture of death” that John Paul II vigorously sought to evangelize during his long pontificate; a “culture of death” that has ramped up with such force and blatantcy that it leaves us practically speechless—and voteless—right now.

In my opinion, whomever we choose on November 8, we lose. We can expect no life-giving societal change from either candidate until each begins to understand that all human beings are made in the image and likeness of God, “exist mutually ‘one for the other’,” are created to love and be loved, and are called to be ruled by the supreme law of love. No other type of governance will do. And no other form of governance will give us the freedom, peace or protection we yearn for.

This article was previously published at Aleteia.

Where a Wiccan Meets Mercy: Yes, Virginia, There is a New Evangelization


“In this Holy Year, we look forward to the experience of opening our hearts to those  living on the outermost fringes of society.”   Pope Francis, Misericordiae Vultus, par. 15.

When I spotted them standing on the downtown Denver street corner handing out pamphlets, I kept my eyes down so as not to be accosted by what I thought were Jehovah’s Witnesses. But as soon as I heard the young man say to a passerby: “If you’d like to learn more about the Catholic faith…” I stopped dead in my tracks.

“It’s not very often that you see Catholics on the street handing out flyers about the faith,” I offered with a smile, extending my hand to introduce myself to the brave evangelist. “What group are you with?”

John shared that he was a seminarian at the nearby St. John Vianney Seminary and that he’d recently been ordained a deacon. In evangelization training with St. Paul Street Evangelization, he was there with a group of soon-to-be ordained priests trying to engage passers-by in a non-confrontational conversation about Jesus Christ and the Church, hopefully planting seeds for them to learn more about both.

A disheveled, confused looking young man with a devil’s face on his t-shirt and the word “DEMON” tattooed in large letters on his bicep approached. “Dude, can I have one of those?”

John happily offered him a rosary, which the young man proceeded to place around his neck while explaining that he is a Wiccan who uses magic on people. “I only use good magic, but there are others in my coven who are infernal. The magic makes me very disoriented, because it takes so much out of me,” he continued.

The rosary-adorned Wiccan quickly moved to another group of seminarians to seek more goods, and John, my daughter, Kara, and I joined our voices in prayer for his soul. Before long, he reappeared wanting to hear more about Mary, the Mother of God. “Wicca has a great mother in its religion, too,” he informed us. “We call on her for help,” he explained.

Suddenly, I remembered a story I’d read on the Internet about a former satanic high priest who was awakened to the truth of Jesus Christ via a Miraculous Medal given to him in a shopping mall . I quickly dug into my backpack and found a small white envelope with the words “Blessed Miraculous Medal” on the front and gave it to him.

“Here you go,” I said placing the envelope in his hands. “Mary is the Mother of Jesus Christ. Remember to call on her if you ever need help.”

He smiled and took the medal out, then placed it on a beaded chain that fit snugly around his forehead. Off he meandered down the street sporting the rosary around his neck and the Miraculous Medal on his forehead—with us praying a “Hail Mary” for his conversion.

“What led you to the priesthood?” I asked Deacon John after the Wiccan visitor left.

“It was attending Denver’s World Youth Day in 1993 with Pope John Paul II.   Following his visit, it was like a wave of the Holy Spirit came through the whole city and nothing has been the same since. There’s a lot of strange stuff in this city, but there’s a profound Catholic presence also. God is really moving here.”

Deacon John and I said our goodbyes and I walked into the corner department store I originally intended to enter to resume shopping with my daughters.

“Is there anything left in this world that will satisfy me?” a song screamed from the store’s speakers, seeming to speak right to the confused young Wiccan we’d just met on the street corner, seeming to speak to all of the searching people in the world. I thought of John Paul II’s words to the Church on World Mission Sunday in 1985, “Jesus alone can satisfy humanity's hunger for love.” Jesus alone, I prayed.

This article previously appeared on Aleteia.