Sunday, April 03, 2005

il papa

This morning I went to Sunday service in a Unitarian church which is situated in downtown Dublin. Although I was raised a Catholic, I am hoping to marry my fiancée in a place of worship next year and since I have already been married once before, I cannot do so in my own church even though I will be legally divorced.

Since Pope John Paul II had passed away less then 24 hours before, I was very curious to hear what the minister of this church had to say on the matter. He covered this ground with his opening remarks, and IMHO did so very well. His words went something like this:

“We must begin of course, by offering our deepest sympathies to all in the Catholic community of Pope John Paul II's passing yesterday. It could be said that I did not exactly see eye to eye with him on many things, in fact I dare say most people here did not see eye to eye with him on many things; this is probably the bulk of the reason why we are all here today! Nonetheless, it must be said that he was undoubtedly one of the greatest figures of the twentieth century.”

Many critics of the papacy of Karol Wojtyla point to his conservative nature as a negative. I disagree – I think his hands were pretty much tied by what the Catholic Church stands for. The scriptures and traditions and moral attitudes were, according to the faith, quite literally written in stone. While I was indeed at odds with him on several different issues, I cannot fault him for his stance considering the position he held; all he was doing was his job.

Among things I admired him for were his continued support for human rights, plus his determination to travel all over the world and inspire his followers personally – he was extremely good at this. Back in 1979 he visited Ireland and captured the hearts of the youth of the entire nation with but seven simple words: “Young people of Ireland, I love you”.

As we can all see by the pictures on TV, he was a profound influence on many millions. I hope they are as happy with his successor.


Buffalo said...

I believe the Pope to have been a good and honorable man. He brought about some positive change in the church and the world. For some the changes weren't far enough or fast enough, but in considering his age and generation he went a long ways.

shandi said...
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shandi said...
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hermione2001ie said...

Here's my scathing/Humanist point of view on the demise of JPII.

Age of Pope when he died = 84
Life expectancy of a person in Zambia = 33

I'm not saying that the Catholic church (and the Pope's Pro-Life-ism) is wholly to blame for the spread of HIV/AIDS in many African countries, but I'm pretty darn sure it contributed to it. So I think the Pope was lucky to get to 84, sure he'd been ill for a while and I'd never wish any kind of suffering on anyone, but at least he had a fair innings before the terminal decline. Is there a mass outpouring of grief for a young person in Zambia who has died of AIDS? Nope. So what makes the Pope's life more valid and more worthy of mass-mourning? I don't know...all seems a bit hypocritical to me.