Creating Pope John Paul II: religion, the 'War on Terror' and the politics of discourses of Howardage

Holly Randell-Moon

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This essay explores the ways in which Australian Prime Minister John Howard represented the death of Pope John Paul II by eulogising him as a liberationist who led the struggle for freedom against de-individualising regimes such as communism. Such a positioning attempts to align the Pope with the rhetoric of the current 'war on terror' by appealing to the 'common' elements of Christianity, reproduced in other contexts as 'the individual' and 'freedom of choice'. This has the effect of displacing the specificity of the Pope's Catholicism onto politicised discourses of 'freedom' and 'individualism' in Western democracies such as Australia. It is argued that these representations centre on a discursive production of religion specific to the Howard Government's political rhetoric. Through the development of a new term 'Howardage' the particular historical and cultural investments in Australianness, that are effected through the discursive framing of religion under the Howard Government, can be identified in representations of the Pope's death.
Original languageEnglish
JournalBorderlands e-journal
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2006


  • Pope John Paul II
  • Howard, John
  • Australian government
  • War on Terror
  • Christianity

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