The power of the teaching of the Catholic Church, especially through the voice of the Holy Father, is remarked on in this article from the Wall Street Journal.
“This being the season of hope, Islamic extremists of course have been engaged in their annual tradition of blowing up Christian churches.
“An attack by a radical Muslim sect on two churches in northern Nigeria killed six people on Christmas Eve. On the Philippines' Jolo Island, home to al Qaeda-linked terrorists, a chapel bombing during Christmas Mass injured 11.
“One of the central public events during these days at year's end is the Pope's midnight Mass at St. Peter's Basilica in Rome. In his homily the pope invariably pleads for peace, but on Friday evening a viewer could not have missed the meaning when Benedict XVI twice mentioned "garments rolled in blood," from Isaiah 9:5.
“The image, as befits Isaiah, is poetic and disturbing. Benedict surely intended it so: "It is true," he said, "that the 'rod of his oppressor' is not yet broken, the boots of warriors continue to tramp and the 'garment rolled in blood' still remains." He was of course referring to the sustained violence against Christian minorities by Islamic fundamentalists.
“Hours before this, from a window above St. Peter's Square, Benedict also took a pass on the holiday pabulum handed out by other world leaders this time of year by explicitly criticizing China. He said the "faithful of the church in mainland China [should not] lose heart through the limitations imposed on their freedom of religion and conscience."
“For some, the Vatican's efforts on behalf of Christian minorities in Islamic countries or among China's population of 1.3 billion is regarded as worthy and admirable, but only a footnote against the grand sweep of current geopolitical concerns. Iran's bomb, China's economic importance and all that. This is a mistake. In these times, the pope's agenda is the civilized world's agenda. The pope's agenda is individual freedom.
“To the extent that the goal of freedom still occupies a high place in the purposes of foreign policy, then the pope remains an important strategic ally, as he has been since Karol Wojtyla left Poland to become pope in October 1978.
“The reality of the modern Church's interests aligned with the world's best interests emerges forcefully in the recently published second volume of George Weigel's magisterial biography of John Paul II, "The End and the Beginning." For this final volume, Mr. Weigel had access to material from the archives of former Communist intelligence services. The book's first half tells the tale of Communist security agencies—the Soviet KGB, East Germany's Stasi and Poland's SB—coming to grips with the threat posed to their system by Karol Wojtyla, first as archbishop of Cracow and then as Pope John Paul II. One Polish Communist Party ideologist called then-Cardinal Wojtyla "the only real ideological threat in Poland."