In the April 25th issue of National Review, Michael Novak includes this statement in his tribute to John Paul II:
To the best of my knowledge, we at Crisis magazine early on were the first to put the name "John Paul the Great" in print, and new editor Deal Hudson emblazoned it on the front cover in 1997.
I know I remember Daniel Nichols using that phrase–with the addition of "Saint"– in conversation long before 1997, and indeed before 1990, unless my memory is wrong. And I thought I remembered it occuring in Caelum et Terra. Which it did: Daniel has located it, in the Summer 1995 issue.
Upon re-reading Novak’s statement, I see that it’s not clear as to whether the 1997 cover was the first appearance in of the phrase in Crisis. But at any rate let it be noted that we used it before the instance he mentions.
Daniel’s piece is just a few paragraphs, so I think I’ll take a few minutes and type it in as a separate post.