Looking into the Future Through His Eyes: John Paul II, the Catholic Church, and the Crisis of the West

The age of the ethnic or national transmission of Catholic faith – the age of Catholicism transmitted by a kind of genetic inheritance or osmosis – is over everywhere in the Western world.

Pope John Paul II at a Papal Audience in July 1985 in St. Peter's Square. (© James G. Howes/Wikipedia)

Editor’s note: For several years now, the many institutions of higher education in Kraków have jointly sponsored annual “John Paul II Days,” typically held in November: a series of lectures and symposia dedicated to a scholarly exploration of one or another facet of the Polish Pope’s thought. To honor John Paul II’s centenary, which was marked this past May 18, the 2020 “John Paul II Days” were organized around the theme, “The Next Hundred Years.” In light of the global pandemic, the 2020 “John Paul II Days” were held virtually, with pre-recorded lectures and online discussions. George Weigel, John Paul II’s biographer, gave the following lecture by pre-recorded video on November 5, 2020.

Thank you for the invitation to participate once again in this annual conference.

I appreciate the theme you have chosen for John Paul II’s centenary: looking into the next hundred years. For as a friend of Poland I have long been concerned that there is far too much looking back over one’s shoulder at John Paul II in Poland, and not enough looking forward through his eyes.

I understand the sentiments that cause so many Poles to look back at John Paul II with such affection and even nostalgia. The enormous place he holds in the Polish national imagination is entirely understandable. And yet I believe he would want us to do precisely what this conference intends to do, which is to look forward, through his eyes, into the future. So I hope the conversations generated by the 2020 John Paul II Days in Kraków accelerates the transition in Poland from looking backward at John Paul II to looking forward with a vision shaped by his example and teaching.

In this brief paper, I want to look forward through the eyes of John Paul II at two futures: the future of the Catholic Church, and the future of the Western civilizational project, or more narrowly, the future of Western democracy. These two futures intersect, as I will suggest at the end. For the moment, however, permit me to treat each future individually.

Let is begin with the future of the Church, seen through the eyes of John Paul II. How would he have us think about the Catholic Church of the next hundred years?

As a matter of fact, he told us quite clearly how he would have us think about the Catholicism of the future. He told us in the 1990 encyclical Redemptoris Missio; he told us again throughout the Great Jubilee of 2000; and he told us quite specifically in the apostolic letter closing the Great Jubilee, Novo Millennio Ineunte.

In Redemptoris Missio, throughout the Great Jubilee, and in Novo Millennio Ineunte, John Paul II summed up the teaching of his pontificate and his vision of the Catholic future under the rubric, “The Church of the New Evangelization.” As I tried to demonstrate in my book, The Irony of Modern Catholic History, this central idea in John Paul II’s teaching is the culmination of a complex and often contentious development that began with Pope Leo XIII, who in 1878 took the bold, strategic decision that the Catholic Church would no longer simply resist the modern world, but would engage the modern world in order to convert the modern world.

The energies created by that Leonine decision rippled through the world Church for some 80 years, and it was to gather and focus those energies that Pope John XXIII summoned the Second Vatican Council. John XXIII called Vatican II so that the Catholic Church might have a new experience of Pentecost, an experience of that fire of the Holy Spirit that led the early Church to go out and convert so much of the Mediterranean world. As a young auxiliary bishop in Kraków and then as the city’s archbishop, Karol Wojtyła experienced the Second Vatican Council as what John XXIII intended it to be: an event in which the Catholic Church gathered itself for new evangelical and missionary energy, as it entered its twenty-first century and third millennium.

By giving the Second Vatican Council an authoritative interpretation – which I understand to be the major achievement of the magisterium of John Paul II – and by pointing that interpretation toward the Church of the New Evangelization, John Paul II fulfilled the intention for Vatican II that John XXIII expressed in his opening address to the Council. At the same time, John Paul II gave all Catholics their marching orders – their commission for the future.

What is this Church of the New Evangelization, as John Paul II understood it?

First, the Church of the New Evangelization is a Church in which every Catholic understands himself or herself as a missionary disciple. In the Counter-Reformation Catholicism in which I grew up, the model of the missionary was St. Francis Xavier – someone who went into an exotic, previously unexplored, and perhaps even dangerous part of the world to bring the Gospel to a place where the Gospel has never been proclaimed. The Church still needs that kind of missionary today, and much to its credit, Poland supplies many of them.

John Paul II, however, asked all Catholics to think of themselves as missionary disciples. He asked every Catholic to understand that on the day of his or her baptism, each Catholic was given the Great Commission of Matthew 28.19: “Go and make disciples of all nations.” Thus every Catholic, John Paul II proposed, should measure the quality of his or her discipleship by his or her effectiveness as a missionary: as one who offers others the gift of faith and friendship with the Son of God that Catholics have been given.

Secondly, the Church of the New Evangelization is a Church that thinks of everywhere as “mission territory.” Catholics must no longer to think of mission territory as exotic places far away. Mission territory is all around us, not least in the Western world. It is no exaggeration to say that the Netherlands are mission territory. It is no exaggeration to say that Belgium is mission territory today. Switzerland is mission territory. Germany is most certainly mission territory. The United States is mission territory.

And it is imperative that Polish Catholicism understand that Poland is missionary territory.

In John Paul II’s vision of the Church of the New Evangelization, “mission territory” is every Catholic’s home and neighborhood. Mission territory is every Catholic’s workplace. Mission territory is every Catholic’s life as a consumer, and mission territory is every Catholic’s life as a citizen. It’s all mission territory.

This profound and challenging vision of a Catholic future in which every Catholic is a missionary and every place is mission territory is taking some time for Catholics to grasp, especially in what have been comfortably Catholic societies and cultures for centuries. And yet Catholics must understand that we are living in apostolic times, not Christendom times. Christendom in the West is over. Twenty years from now it will no longer be possible for anyone in the United States to answer the question “Why are you a Catholic?” by saying, “I’m a Catholic because my great-grandmother came from Ireland (or Mexico, or Belgium, or Bavaria, or Italy, or Lithuania, or Ukraine, or Poland).” That answer is not going to suffice, because Catholicism as an ethnic inheritance can no longer flourish in the United States. The culture simply will not permit it.

And this situation is not unique to the United States.

As every parent and grandparent knows, the culture that surrounds us in the West today does not help transmit Catholic faith; worse, it’s often actively hostile to the faith. Thus the confidence that Polish ethnic or national identity will transmit Catholic faith long into the future is misplaced. Indeed, I doubt that Catholicism-by-ethnic-or-national-inheritance is working very well among Polish young people today. Where Catholicism is living and vital among young adults in Poland today, it’s because the faith has been proposed, celebrated, and lived, as I’ve seen for decades at the university ministry led from the Dominican Basilica of the Holy Trinity in Kraków, and at Dominican campus ministries elsewhere.

The age of the ethnic or national transmission of Catholic faith – the age of Catholicism transmitted by a kind of genetic inheritance or osmosis – is over everywhere in the Western world, including Poland. Every Catholic in the West must recognize this. John Paul II certainly recognized it, and that is why he called the Church to reclaim its primary identity as a missionary enterprise.

In order to be the Church of the New Evangelization, Catholicism must renew and reform itself. Let me indicate very briefly two such lines of reform that seem to me especially urgent in Poland.

To be the Church of the New Evangelization requires a deep reform of Polish seminaries and Polish theological education. The priests of the future in Poland are all going to have to be missionaries, whether they’re priests living in and working from religious communities, or priests living and working as diocesan clergy in parishes. Every man who imagines that he has a priestly vocation in the Polish Catholicism of the 21st century must understand that he will, of necessity, be living a missionary vocation. That means that priestly formation in diocesan seminaries and religious houses must be formation for mission. The notion of the priesthood as a privileged career of providing sacramental services can no longer be the dominant notion of the priesthood in the West; it cannot be the driving image of the priesthood of the future in the United States, and I do not think it can be the idea that shapes the Polish Catholic priesthood of the future. Priests of the twenty-first century who think that their primary task is to maintain the Church’s institutional life – priests who do not think of themselves as missionary apostles – will eventually find themselves being museum-keepers.

Secondly, this Church of the New Evangelization in Poland must be a public church, but not a partisan church. It must be a Catholicism fully engaged in culture and in society, offering the truths that it is privileged bear to the public conversation about public goods. But the Catholic Church of the future in Poland, or elsewhere, cannot be a partisan church identified with any particular political party, political faction, political tendency, or political philosophy. Whenever the Church has done this in modern history, serious trouble for the Church’s primary evangelical mission follows.

This is a complex matter, because it’s obvious that some political parties, some political tendencies, and some political philosophies are more adequate than others in reflecting the Catholic understanding of the human person and the moral truths that the Church believes are essential for righteous living, both individually and in society. Nonetheless, the temptation to align the Church with worldly power comes from the source of all temptation, as Christ himself made clear in Matthew 4.8-10. And therefore the temptation to identify the Catholic Church with a particular political party at a particular moment in history is a temptation that must be resisted, in itself and if the Church of the New Evangelization is to be the Church that John Paul II envisioned. The only power that will convert the late-modern and post-modern world is the power of the Gospel.

Let us look now at the future of the Western civilizational project, or Western democracy, through the eyes of John Paul II.

Through those eyes, we can see that this civilizational project – this democratic project – is in crisis. It’s a crisis of incoherence, and if we read carefully John Paul II’s greatest social encyclical, Centesimus Annus, and his apostolic letter, Ecclesia in Europa, the roots of that incoherence come into focus. Let me describe this crisis of incoherence through the image of a stool, a small piece of furniture on which to sit.

So let us imagine Western civilization as a stool with three legs. One of those legs is labeled “Jerusalem,” the second leg is labeled “Athens,” and the third leg is labeled “Rome.” Together, those three legs support what we know as “the West.” How do they do this? Or to put the question another way, what have “Jerusalem,” “Athens,” and “Rome” taught the West?

“Jerusalem,” or biblical religion, taught the West that the history is going somewhere, that humanity’s story is linear. Which is to say that history is neither cyclical, nor repetitive, nor simply random – one thing happening after another to no discernable purpose and in no discernable pattern. No. The biblical message is that history has a direction. And the root of this idea so fundamental to the culture of the West – that humanity is going somewhere, that life is journey, adventure, pilgrimage – is the experience and story of the Exodus: the foundational image of liberation in the Western world.

The idea that history is purposeful, that history has a direction, a telos, has been absolutely crucial to the distinctive civilization of the West. And it was biblical religion that taught that foundational lesson and created that foundational, cultural “support:” first, through God’s self-revelation to the people of Israel and, definitively, in God’s self-revelation through the second person of the Blessed Trinity, born into history from Mary of Nazareth.

What about “Athens?” Classical philosophy, beginning with the pre-Socratics in the seventh century before Christ, taught the West that there are truths (including moral truths) built into the world and into us; that we can know those truths by the arts of reason; and that knowing those truths, we learn our duties and obligations as individuals and citizens.

In March 2000, John Paul II reflected on this when his biblical pilgrimage during the Great Jubilee of 2000 took him to Mount Sinai, where Moses received the Ten Commandments. There, the Pope said that the moral law — the law that leads humanity to righteous living, to happiness, and ultimately to beatitude – was inscribed on the human heart before it was inscribed on tablets of stone. The fundamentals of the moral law we know from revelation are also accessible to reason. It is not a moral law that is “true for believers.” It is a moral law that is true for everyone, because it is inscribed in reality.

“Athens” gave the West confidence in reason’s capacity to get to the truth of things – and not only the moral truth of things, but the scientific truth of things and the philosophical truth of things. That conviction that human beings have the capacity to grasp the truth of things has been crucial to the civilization of the West. Without it, there would have been no development of ethics, no development of science, no development of technology, and no development of a humane politics.

What about “Rome?” The Roman Republic gave the Western civilizational project the crucial idea that the rule of law is superior to mere brute force in ordering public life. Think of Cicero, who was both a serious political philosopher and a practicing politician – arguably a greater philosopher than a successful politician. In any event, Cicero symbolizes the most important Roman contribution to the Western civilizational project: the idea that the rule of law is superior to coercion as human beings structure their common life in society.

Thus the Western civilization project and its modern political expression, which we call democracy, is built on these three legs, these three foundations: (1) biblical religion – life is journey, adventure, and pilgrimage because history is going somewhere; (2) Greek philosophy – there are truths embedded in the world and in us and we can know them; and (3) Roman law – the rule of law is superior to coercion in human affairs.

What do we see today, however? Are those foundations still holding firm? I think not.

In the nineteenth century, European high culture, embodied in such figures as Comte, Feuerbach, Marx, and Nietzsche, said: “No. We don’t need the ‘Jerusalem’ leg on the civilizational stool, because the God of the Bible is the enemy of human maturation and human liberation.” This false idea (which John Paul II’s friend, Fr. Henri de Lubac, SJ, analyzed in an important book called The Drama of Atheistic Humanism) ejected the God of the Bible from the Western civilizational story and thus from the public culture of the West. So, with the “Jerusalem” leg kicked out, there were only two legs left on the stool, which, not surprisingly, became unstable.

What happened then? Well, it seems that when you take the God of the Bible out of the picture, reason begins to doubt itself. For if you remove the notion (found in both Genesis and the gospel of St. John) that God the Creator impressed truths into the world and into his human creation – that God impressed the divine rationality, if you will, into the world and into us – you begin to lose the conviction that there is rationality in the created order; that there are truths and patterns of truths to be discovered in the world; and that reasons can grasp those truths and patterns. When the idea of a rational Creator is lost, it seems that confidence in the human capacity to get at the truth of things follows. And that helps explain the sorry condition of much of Western culture today: a culture in which it is often said that there’s no such thing as “The Truth” – there is only “your truth” and “my truth.”

This loss of “Athens,” due in part to the loss of “Jerusalem,” has serious consequences for “Rome.”

For as Joseph Ratzinger prophetically noted in April 2005, skepticism about The Truth is a prescription for the demise of the rule of law. For if there is only “your truth” and “my truth,” and neither of us can appeal to The Truth to settle our disagreements, then one of two things will happen: you will impose your power on me, or I will impose my power on you. That is what Ratzinger meant by that striking phrase, the “dictatorship of relativism” – the use of coercive state power to impose a relativistic public ethic on all of society. This danger is found everywhere in the West today. And it is one reason why the Western democratic project is in such a state of turmoil.

That turmoil reflects the hard fact that the cultural foundations of democracy, and indeed of the entire Western project, have decayed into incoherence. The West is in turmoil because the West has largely lost “Jerusalem” and is quickly losing “Athens.” And because of those erosions and losses, the West is in grave danger of losing “Rome” – the idea that the rule of law, achieved by rational debate leading to a consensus reflecting the judgment of self-governing citizens, is superior to coercion in ordering our common life.

Let me now bring these two “futures,” seen through the eyes of John Paul II, together.

If the root of the cultural incoherence of the West is a loss of faith in the God of the Bible (the Jerusalemic foundation of the Western civilizational project), then the Church of the New Evangelization – the Church of the future, according to John Paul II – is critically important to the rescue of the Western civilizational project. For it is the Church of the New Evangelization, in its work of proclaiming the Gospel and in its public witness, that will help Western civilization recover “Jerusalem,” and thereby recover “Athens” and the cultural confidence that reason can grasp the truth of things – which is essential to defending the rule of law against coercion in the name of skepticism and relativism.

By being a Church converting the world to the truths of biblical faith, the Catholic Church is also reconverting the world to reason and reason’s capacity to order human affairs. The two go together. By being a Church permanently in mission – the Church John Paul II envisioned during the Great Jubilee of 2000, the Church that he described in Redemptoris Missio, and Novo Millennio Ineunte – Catholicism will both fulfill the Great Commission and offer Western civilization a path beyond this crisis of incoherence.

If we look into the present and the future with the eyes of John Paul II, we see a great challenge. Yet looking into the present and future through the prism of his teaching and his thought, we also see a template for ecclesial renewal and civic reform that gives us hope of bringing to fruition the grand vision he proposed to the United Nations twenty-five years ago: the vision of a new “springtime of human spirit.”


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About George Weigel 307 Articles
George Weigel is Distinguished Senior Fellow of Washington's Ethics and Public Policy Center, where he holds the William E. Simon Chair in Catholic Studies. He is the author of over twenty books, including Witness to Hope: The Biography of Pope John Paul II (1999), The End and the Beginning: Pope John Paul II—The Victory of Freedom, the Last Years, the Legacy (2010), and The Irony of Modern Catholic History: How the Church Rediscovered Itself and Challenged the Modern World to Reform. His most recent book is The Next Pope: The Office of Peter and a Church in Mission (2020), published by Ignatius Press.

9 Comments

  1. We read that “[John Paul II] asked every Catholic to understand that on the day of his or her baptism, each Catholic was given the Great Commission of Matthew 28.19: “Go and make disciples of all nations.”

    Building on Weigel’s thesis of lost genetic identities, the earlier Cardinal Ratzinger (later Pope Benedict XVI) evangelized the sacraments and “baptism” within the context of a more universal memory: “The seat of all faith is, then, the memoria Eclesia, the memory of the Church, THE CHURCH AS MEMORY.” With the sacraments—e.g., baptism:

    “there is no absolute separation between spirit and matter [unlike the Cartesian memory-solvent mindset] matter and word belong together.” [And] “It [the role of the cosmos as a creation] also forms a LINK between the Christian faith and the religions of the nations, which as cosmic religions, seek God in the elements of the world and are actually on his trail, albeit at a distance [….] The sacrament, as the fundamental form of the Christian liturgy, embraces both matter and word, that is, it gives religion both a cosmic and a historical dimension [deepest memory as then enabling Weigel’s ‘civilization project’], and points to cosmos and history as the place of our encounter with God [….] The historicity of faith signifies at the same time its COMMUNALITY and its power to transcend time and to unite yesterday, today and tomorrow by trust in one and the same God” (Principles of Catholic Theology: Building Stones for a Fundamental Theology, Ignatius, 1987, pp. 20-30).

    Ratzinger explains that evangelization cannot come first from “marketable” new “formulas,” which “effort is DOOMED TO FAILURE,” but FIRST, this:

    “What, then, is constitutive of Christian faith ‘today’? What else but that which actually constitutes it: confession of the TRIUNE GOD in the COMMUNION of the Church, in whose SOLEMN REMEMBRANCE [the deepest memory] the means of salvation history—the death and Redemption of the Lord—is truly present. This means is not, as we can see, merely a ‘timeless truth’—an eternal idea hovering independently over a realm of changing facts [….] because [‘creative love’] is neither blind will nor pure feeling but love as meaning and meaning as love, because IT IS THE CREATIVE REASON OF ALL REALITY, it cannot be reciprocated without logic, without THOUGHT and WORD. But because true reason makes itself known, NOT in the abstraction of thought, BUT in the purification of the heart, it is linked to a way, to the way followed by him on whom it may be said: He is the LOGOS” [….] (ibid.).

    “…where this trinitarian structure is forgotten [memory!], the credo deteriorates into a ‘catalogue’.” Without COMMUNIO first, evangelization itself is an incoherent catalogue, a “house of cards” (Pope Francis, September 2013). From all of this, then, what is the possible and very missing link between, (a) on the one hand, the outreaching Pachamama/moral minimization/ centrifugal-Synodality/wider Pluralism of religion/and generic Fraternity—and (b) on the other hand, the more-than-compartmentalized communio of “hope” as in Weigel’s and St. John Paul II’s New Evangelization?

  2. In his book, CROSSING THE THRESHOLD OF HOPE, that John Paul II gave us, we find further support for Mr. Weigel’s commentary.

    “I think of the diocesan synods which almost spontaneously got rid of the old unilateral emphasis on clergy and became a means for expressing the responsibility of each person toward the Church. The sense of communal responsibility toward the Church, felt especially by lay people today, is certainly a source of renewal. In view of the third millennium, this sense of responsibility will shape the image of the Church for generations to come.” (p. 163)

    “This style and this spirit will be remembered as the essential truth about the Council, not the controversies between ‘liberals’ and ‘conservatives’ — controversies seen in political, not religious terms — to which some people wanted to reduce the whole Council. In this spirit the Second Vatican Council will continue to be a challenge for all Churches and a duty for each person for a long time to come.” (p. 162).

    “The encyclical ‘Veritatis Splendor’ demonstrates this, even if it does not directly address sexual ethics, but addresses rather the great threat posed to Western civilization by moral relativism. Pope Paul VI sensed this deeply and knew that it was his duty to undertake the battle against such relativism for the sake of the essential good of man.” (p. 172)

    The role of the High Priest is to meet with God, and to reveal God’s will for mankind through signs, wonders, and miracles, as expressed at Acts 2.22, 43. The emphasis on the Eucharist must not overshadow the importance of the Cup of wine, the New Covenant. (See Lk. 22.20 and Jer. 31.31-34.)

  3. While we are perfecting the laity, here is a slate of concrete reforms for the Catholic Church:

    1 – ALL Bishops and clergy will take and KEEP vows of poverty, and be monitored as such, they won’t be living in mansions and driving luxury cars, or have personal bank accounts. Absolutely ZERO Bishops and clergy independently wealthy of the Church, like McCarrick.

    2 – Dismantle the disoriented Vatican Curia organization of Pope Paul VI. Re-establish the Congregation for the Faith as well the superior and important Congregation, above ALL others, and DEMOTE The Secretariat of State into a narrow administrative role.

    3 – Tripartate Governance & Separation of Diocesan Power: Bishops, Clergy and Laity share a lattice work of departed powers, including parallel financial oversight and parallel seminary oversight and parallel discipline/investigative oversight.

  4. Why do I always find the same commenters on this site who seem to delight in posting essays and articles instead of comments? If they have so much expertise or knowledge to impart, they should submit their work for editorial review and publication. I personally find that little of what I find here would be publishable.

  5. In an era notoriously prone either to cultural amnesia or distortion of the past in the interests of serving current ideology, the importance of memory cannot be overstated. Memory as a continuous “calling to mind” rescues the history of salvation from museum status and makes it present as evangelical opportunity and task in the here-and-now. Nowhere is the past more intensely realized in the present than in the celebration of the Eucharist, specifically in the real presence of Christ, the Lord of history.

  6. Whenever Weigel can’t face his own complicity in the current ongoing collapse of the Church, his stubborn refusal to acknowledge the buffoonery of Francis whom he initially credited for creating a “vibrant” Catholicism, or his unnecessary vitriol towards the most effectively pro-life holder of elective office in history in Donald Trump, which included Weigel’s demands that Catholics not vote for him, he brings up JPII, as though the whole Catholic world is still attuned to everything JP thought and said and is poised to proceed accordingly. On course this corresponds to his belief that the whole Catholic world would be just fine if we all just read Weigel’s latest book, which tends not to differ much from his last book, or the one before that, or the one before that.
    Weigel, like many essentially conservative historians, has always been insightful on the broad history of the collapse of the West. But oblivious to how leading prelates in today’s Church are so grotesquely ignorant of the heritage they are charged by God to protect that broad historical accounts that does not directly challenge our prelates amount to so much fiddling while Rome burns.

  7. With the Vatican’s report on McCarrick just out, with the preeminent role of JPII in the whole saga, this piece by Weigel is just pathetic. So when we talk of JPII’s legacy, his failure to address the clergy sex abuse scandal when it erupted during his papacy should be highlighted. The sex abuse scandal now infecting the worldwide church surged during his papacy. These cases of predominantly homosexual predation by priests and bishops were not forcefully confronted by JPII because these somehow went against the big ideas of his pet theological projects. These were the over-hyped and near cult-like idealization of sexuality (e.g., Theology of the Body, Love and Responsibility, etc.) and of the ministerial priesthood (e.g., Pastores Dabo Vobis, Gift and Mystery, etc.). By turning a blind eye to these developments, the gay mafia in the ranks of the bishops and priests grew in numbers and power and enabled this scandal to explode and its consequent cover-up. JPII promoted the global icon of this scandal, Theodore McCarrick, not just once but five times: Auxiliary Bishop of New York, Bishop of Metuchen, Archbishop of Newark, Archbishop of Washington, and Cardinal. The Legionaries of Christ and Regnum Christi founder, Marcial Maciel Degollado, another icon of this scandal who preyed upon his seminarians and priests and sired children, was favored by JPII with a preferential treatment and called him “a model of heroic priesthood.” George Weigel, in his hagiographical biographies of JPII (Witness to Hope, Lessons in Hope), tried defending this epic papal failure by rationalizing that JPII was disinclined to humiliate others which led him to misjudge others, even among bishops and priests. Weigel is either or both a big liar and/or just blinded by his hagiographical obsession. JPII humiliated, even crushed, a lot of bishops, priests, theologians he judged not toeing the line (picture JPII openly scolding Ernesto Cardenal at the tarmac of Managua airport). JPII should never have been hastily beatified and canonized.

    • Will you, then, blame Saint Philip for baptizing and trusting Simon Magus? Saint John Paul trusted Mr. McCarrick, even as he trusted all of us.

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