Sunday, April 2, 2006

In remembrance

The fact that Pope John Paul II was very close to his death last year was a surprise to no one. What did come as a surprise was the world’s reaction to it. Never in the annals of history had there been such an outpouring of love, respect and honor given to one man. And never has there been a man who deserved it more.

The Pope tried to live his life as his Christ would. The first thing he did when released from the hospital after his 1981 assassination attempt was meet the man who tried to take his life. His mission? To forgive.

He went to the Wailing Wall, the holiest place for Judaism, in a gesture of reconciliation to the Jews who have been tormented, condemned and most certainly forgotten during the holocaust. He left a letter of forgiveness on behalf of the Catholic Church at this sacred wall.

In 1999, the Pope had a religious conference and invited over 200 leaders of faiths to have a colloquium on interfaith global problems, including conflicts sparked by religious differences. This showed acceptance and respect for all religions which is almost unheard of in this day and age of judgmental intolerance for any idea different from your own.

Pope John Paul II was pivotal in several dramatic events that changed the world. One year after becoming Pope, he returned to Poland, his homeland, a country governed then by a communist regime who was able to atomize people, to keep them apart and keep them afraid. While there, he repeated the message, “Do not be afraid,” in every speech he gave. One year later the Solidarity movement was created by Lech Walesa. It was the first mass anticommunist political movement ever. Walesa later won the Noble Peace Prize for this effort.

John Paul II fearlessly stood up to entrenched power with courage, not weapons. Once Poland did so, Hungarian, Czechoslovakia, and East Germany followed, and down came the Berlin Wall. One of the greatest moments of the 20th century.

It was former leader of the Soviet Union, Mikhail Gorbachev himself, who acknowledged publicly the role of John Paul II in the fall of Communism. “What has happened in Eastern Europe in recent years would not have been possible without the presence of this Pope...” (quoted in La Stampa, March 3, 1992)

No matter what your opinion regarding religion, or even the existence of God, you felt as if Pope John Paul II cared for you, even if you didn’t believe in Catholic ideology. He was an extraordinary man.


“Humanity should question itself, once more, about the absurd and always unfair phenomenon of war, on whose stage of death and pain only remains standing the negotiating table that could and should have prevented it.” - Pope John Paul II


17 comment(s):

Blogger Vicious Trollop said...

The pope was a great man. The world lost a trully caring and brave soul the day he died.

I think we should all try to live our lives just a little as he did his; the world would be a much better place.

4/02/2006 04:20:00 PM  

Blogger Stacy~ said...

What a lovely tribute. He truly lived his words, and did so with grace and dignity and with the belief that what he did was right in God's eyes. Regardless of a person's own religious views, you can't ignore the caring and compassion this man had for others. His impact on the world will not easily be forgotten.

4/02/2006 08:54:00 PM  

Blogger Helena said...

He seemed a warm personality to me. You have to wonder how his replacement is going to stack up by comparison - no doubt time will tell, but he *seems* a more 'detached from the people' personality (so far anyway)

4/03/2006 12:45:00 AM  

Anonymous Sharon E said...

This is a fantastic tribute to a holy and exemplary man.

I guess I would remember him for his love for the youth by celebrating World Youth Day every year and even went to other countries.

4/03/2006 03:01:00 AM  

Blogger Harlot said...

I'm not Catholic but i live in a country where 90% of the population is one. From kindergarten to college, i went--and still am in a Catholic school (go figure), so am very aware of Catholic teachings.

I even saw Pope John Paul II (though REALLY from afar) when he visited our country. It's true, no matter what you believe in, you'd feel his heart, his compassion, his love for humanity, and he would inspire you. Truly a great man.

4/03/2006 06:00:00 AM  

Blogger Gatxan said...

In our country we say that everyone is the best once she or he dies. Although I agree he was a coherent man who truly believed in God, I think he was also very controversial and fell in many important mistakes. In this sense, I can not forgive him (I know, not a very catholic behaviour) for condemning the condom as a way to fight the VHS. I don’t know how many children are being born in Africa with this horrible plague just because some virgin man who doesn’t know anything about sex said the condom is evil and asked the whole world to control ourselves and not to fall in the sin of lust. Thus meaning sex only for having babies and within the boundaries of marriage. Please!

4/03/2006 06:06:00 AM  

Blogger Harlot said...

If i'm not mistaken, it's in the Bible that making love should only be exercised by married couples. That's what the Catholics preach. They do not approve of premarital sex.

In this day and age, it's true, that's not a practical belief anymore. If you enjoy sex and you do take care of yourself, then go for it. I know many priests who even say that if you really can't help it and have to do it, just make sure you protect yourself. But the Pope, being head of their Church, can never support anything that might imply the said act.

About Africa, the spread of disease there, i think is no way related to using condom or not. Most of them can't even have a decent meal *sad* what more buy a condom? I think, the growing plague in Africa is mostly due to wrong (and horrid) beliefs, such as: some men believe that a hymen (what is it about this membrane?!?) can cure AIDS. That's why they rape children! (These men should be hanged throught thier balls while the towns people beat them repeatedly!!!) I think condom is the last thing on these men's minds.

Catholic priests/bishops, etc, have conferences every year and discuss things that let their teachings cope up with the growing changes of society (i.e. considering priests to get married or something--which every priest i know said would probably never happen). The thing with Catholics, they're big with beliefs and old traditions, which is the foundation of their whole faith. Without those, the church would crumble. That's why through these beliefs and traditions, after all these centuries, despite many controversies and mistakes, Catholic Church is still the most powerful religious group in the world.


P.S. Gatxan, did you get TBH? :D

4/03/2006 07:06:00 AM  

Blogger Gatxan said...

Harlot,

yes, I know my analysis about AIDS and Africa was a quite simplistic one (I'm also aware about those horrible practices related to hymen and virginity). However I think that in this world of us, if condoms and contraceptive measures are seen as something sinful, then is like a causing a genocide. Because although it is true that AIDS is being spread by some of these horrible practices, it is also true that the Church has prevented free distribution of condoms for many, many years.

I was raised in a very Catholic family. I’m baptised, I did my all three communions and all this stuff. I went to all those catholic lessons and so. However, as I grew up I lost my faith in the Church. I believe in Christian values and principles and I think some priests do much good. But the Roman hierarchy is taken by ultraconservatives, followers of Opus Dei, etc. And the Pope, although a very religious man who truly believed in God, just let them decide upon questions of a really morale importance. In my country, the Church is losing importance every day. And not because people are giving up religion but we are giving up the Church. Here it seems to us that each day all bishops and priests are further from real life.

Howver, I’m aware this is just my opinion.

Lastly, I COULDN’T GET TBH!!!!!!! I was really disappointed when in my last chance bookshop told me they didn’t have it. From now, I’m going to buy all my books in Amazon....

4/03/2006 07:51:00 AM  

Blogger Bawdy Babe said...

No question that the Catholic church is gravely out of touch w/ the times and the future of this church depends on radical changes. I could never understand how Mother Teresa who worked hands on w/ the poorest of the poor, the sick and the dying, believed that condoms were a sin. How can you advocate procreation when you know the children brought into that part of the world will born to suffer horribly? I just didn't get it, seemed ignorant to me.

However, we are talking about devoted Catholics. They believed in the teachings church with blind devotion. I wrote this piece to honor the man, not his reglion.

Let me quote Bono, "the Pope was the best frontman the Catholic church ever had." With the demise of this "frontman" I see a bleak future for the church.

4/03/2006 08:18:00 AM  

Blogger Harlot said...

I agree. It's just wrong to prevent free distribution of condoms. That's jsut crazy.

I'm not saying i agree with the Pope's belief regarding this but i think he did a good job in firmly standing on the Catholic teachings: to practice chastity and faithfullness (as to not spread HIV). This may not be the realistic POV (i mean, really, abstinence? :P) nor the popular one, but he was upholding their teachings about the sacredness of life and (according to them) the correct practice of sexuality. Also, i don't think the Pope could support the use of condom as it might be confusing. It might seem to condone sex outside of marriage.

Gatxan, it's good to hear your opinion. :D We respect all opinions here. No one will bash/trash you for having a different/opposing POV. Nor will bashing or trashing of other POVs be tolerated on our blog.

About TBH, did you see the links i offered in our BBC announcement? Those might help for finding a copy. You can get it as low as US $2. ;)

4/03/2006 09:09:00 AM  

Blogger Vicious Trollop said...

I agree with Gaxtan when she says that people are "the best" after their dead lol Very sad, but quite true.

I think this man did so many incredible things for the world, it's people, and religions in general, that focusing on condom distribution as a sin is not an issue for me.

Also, he follows what the bible says. No premarital sex. If we all followed the ten commandments this world would be ideal. The bible gave us the right path to follow, it is up to us to choose if we want to go down that way or not. Most of us (including me :P) choose the path that is the most fun lol *wink*

In any case he, of course, had to preach about no premarital sex being the answer, and not condoms. Do I agree? No. Do I take it against this wonderful man that did so many wonderful things? NO!!!

Re: TBH Gaxtan where do you live? There are some nice/cheap options in ebay and amazon. If you don't get it there, email me :D

4/03/2006 09:28:00 AM  

Blogger Vicious Trollop said...

Helena,

Yes, the new pope is tad weird lol. He looks kind of pervy to me *ickkk*

4/03/2006 09:31:00 AM  

Blogger Bawdy Babe said...

HUGE disappointed that vatican did not choose the black archbishop from Africa or one from latin america. the present pope is said to be more of a paper pusher/office manager and not one to get on a plane to meet his flock. i predict this will be a yawner of a pope with more of the same old, same old.

The future of the church, IMO, lies with the next Pope.

4/03/2006 09:40:00 AM  

Blogger Ann said...

Very touching tribute to an extraordinary man.
I was raised Catholic but left the church in my teens. However, I had an enormous amount of respect for him due to his bravery and loving, forgiving heart. Did he accomplish everything that everyone would have liked for him to do? Of course not, but that does not lessen the things he did accomplish.
I agree that the Catholic church's views on birth control are sadly outdated in this day and age, but I think he held true to his convictions and what was in his heart when he did nothing to change that view. Unfortunate, but still a great man.

4/03/2006 11:56:00 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Consider: www.christian.lifejournal.com

4/04/2006 12:06:00 PM  

Anonymous Vixen said...

Bawdy Babe, I just wanted to say that was a beautiful tribute.

4/04/2006 03:19:00 PM  

Blogger Bawdy Babe said...

vixen, a heartfelt thank you.

4/06/2006 01:02:00 PM