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By Patrick Novecosky, Crisis Magazine, September 14, 2020
From his first Mass as pope to the last days of his life, John Paul II often repeated what became a primary theme of his pontificate: “Be not afraid!” At the heart of this call was that all people — Christians and non-Christians — should not fear to open their hearts completely to Jesus Christ, allowing him to transform them from within. It was a call to conversion and repentance. So, when Joe Biden quoted the former pope last week, exhorting Americans to “be not afraid,” it raised the hackles of a good number of faithful Catholics.
“The campaign for the presidency has come down to fear,” Biden said during a campaign stop in Pittsburgh. “But I believe Americans are stronger than that. I believe we’ll be guided by the words of Pope John Paul II, words drawn from the scriptures: ‘Be not afraid. Be not afraid.’” The same quote now appears in a Biden-Harris television spot. …