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How Far Have We Come? Remembering the Catholic 1980s


It is commencement season at Benedictine College, and that means I’m seeing the parents roll into town to watch their children graduate.

And that means we parents are sitting around talking about our own college days, which for most of us were in the 1980s.

So, for those who remember it and for those who care, let me describe what that was like.

If you were young and Catholic in the 1980s, Pope John Paul II was the first pope you were aware of. He was the miracle pope. He walked through the twin disasters of Nazi- and then communist-occupied Poland, and emerged unscathed. There had been that strange 1978 summer of three popes – Paul VI, John Paul I and John Paul II – and he came out of that unscathed too. Then he got shot in 1981, and came back again.

He was the charming, unstoppable miracle pope. Our faith was like that too.

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