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Saturday, April 02, 2005

Thoughts on the Death and Life of Pope John Paul II and a Poll


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As Roman Catholics and others who have come to admire Pope John Paul the Second hope and pray for his recovery, most now acknowledge that his illness this time, is unlikely to be conquerable, even those very close to him.

Pope Losing Consciousness, Condition Is `Very Grave'

Pope John Paul IIAs Ted Koppel pointed out recently on Nightline last night, the Holy Father's last lesson to us, may be one of dignity in Death.

As the faithful gather at St. Peter's in Rome, I cannot help remembering his visit to Chicago in October of 1979 that I watched with friends on television while 1,000 miles away at college.

What a spectacle it was to see what looked like a million people gathered in Grant Park on the Lake Front of the City of Chicago.

His several day visit here catalyzed the city which has millions of Roman Catholics in its region and, it is said, perhaps correctly, more people of Polish descent than Warsaw.

Today, the minds and hearts of all these people are focused on this man, whose strength of character was one of the keys to the end of the Soviet Union, whose, charismatic ability to reach out to young people was unparalleled, and whose strict conservatism challenges many American Catholics even today.

Yet, he is loved.

For the Holy Father is for Roman Catholics and people around the world, not just "The Pope", not just a figurehead, but a man, a strong and powerful charismatic leader, who was not only a man of almost tireless enthusiasm and energy, of dozens of languages, of reflection, prayer and intelligence, but, to many, a good, happy, joyful man, who opened the church to them and drew them nearer.

All of those people, myself included, will mourn at his passing, yet, he looks towards death, to his meeting with God with joy. He said in the last day or so, search Google for the direct quote, "I am full of joy, be joyful with me." to one of his closest aides. Yet, I think he meant that message to all of us.

For the message of the Roman Catholic church, of Christ's death and resurrection so recently celebrated last weekend at Easter, is that death is not an end, but a beginning.

I think this will be true for Pope John Paul II in more than just the theological sense. His tenure was so long, his accomplishments so many, it will take historians a good deal of time to make sense of it all. With his death, we may begin to more fully understand what we have lost.

Yet, we pray that his passing will be a peaceful one, and hope that his successor will do as much as he did to help make the world a better and safer place.

And so, that leads to the next part of the post. I was tempted not to include it, particularly since my last poll has garnered only 3 responses. But I have developed a simple poll about where readers of this post might think the next Holy Father might come from.

Pope John Paul II was chosen in part because as a Polish Cardinal, he was uniquely placed to put pressure on the Soviet Union. That he did.

Will the next selection have a similar agenda in mind? Will it be aimed at placing attention at problems in Africa, South America, Korea or the U.S., will the trend towards Italian popes return? Is it time for the first Irish pope in hopes of settling the troubles there once and for all.

Perhaps this is just a way of distracting myself from the day's news. But I offer it to you. I may draft another one later today.

Where will the next Pope most likely come from?
Somewhere else in Europe
The U.S.
The Rest of North America
South America
The Middle East
The Former Soviet Union Countries
The Rest of Asia
Other - Explain by clicking comment at end of post

Free polls from Pollhost.com

And so we watch and wait and ponder and think about the passing of a man of this quality, whose temperament, whose conviction of the sanctity of his values, whether one agrees with all of those values or not - in a time when world leaders seem to change their values with their shoes, who visited more of his flock than any Pope before putting a personal face on the Papacy to millions, and wonder what the world will be like without him, and what we could do better for it.

That's the sort of thing you think about when you were born with a name like,


P.S. As I was looking for a picture of his Holiness on the Vatican Web Site I found the text of the Pope's Message in the Mass at Grant Park. It was in Italian, so I ran it through Alta Vista's Bable Fish translator which may not done a very precise job of tranlation. In fact it certainly introduced errors. So for the correct Italian text follow this link :

Homily of Holy Father in Chicago October 5, 1979

VISIT PASTORALE In The United states


Chicago, Grant Park
5 October 1979

My siblings and sisters in Jesus Christ.

1. The readings of the celebration odierna put to us immediately in front of the deep mystery of our vocation of Christians. Before rising to the sky, Jesus collected its disciples around to himself and once again explained to they the meant one of its mission of salvation: "Therefore it is written - he said -: the Christ will have to suffer and to risuscitare from the dead men the third day. In its name will be foretell you to all people the conversion and the forgiveness of the sins "(Lc 24,46-47). In the moment in which taken to dismissal from its Apostles he commant they, and through of they to all the Church, and everyone of we, to go to carry the message of the redenzione to all the nations. Saint Paul expresses this thought with force in its second letter to the Corinzi: "It has entrusted to we the ministry of the reconciliation. We act as therefore from ambassadors for Christ, like if God exhorted for means ours "(2Cor 5,18-20).

Once again, the Getlteman introduces to us in the mystery of the humanity, a humanity that has need of the salvation. And God has intentional that this salvation of the humanity was put into effect by means of the humanity of Christ, than for we died and was risuscitato (cf. 2Cor 5,15), and that its redentiva mission has entrusted us. Yes, we are truly "ambassadors of Christ" and workers for the evangelizzazione.

In the Apostolic Esortazione Evangelii Nuntiandi, that it wrote for desire of the third Shareholders' meeting of the Sinodo of the Bishops, my predecessore on the Chair of Saint Peter, Paul YOU, invited all the people of God to meditate on its must fundamental evangelizzare. It invited everyone of we to examine to us in which way could have been witnesses of the message of the redenzione, in that way we could have communicated to the others the Good Novel that we have received from Jesus by means of the Church.

2. There are some necessary conditions if we want to take part to the evangelizzatrice mission of the Church. This afternoon, I wish to emphasize one of these conditions in particular. I want to speak about the unit of the Church, our unit in Jesus Christ. You allow me to repeat how much Paul said to YOU on this unit: "the spiritual testament of the Getlteman says to us that the unit between its follows to us is not only the test that we are its, but also that it is the envoy of the Father, criterion of credibility of the Christians and the same Christ... Yes, the fate of the evangelizzazione sure is tied to the testimony of unit given from the Church "(Paul YOU, Evangelii Nuntiandi, 77).

I am pushed to choose this particular aspect of the evangelizzazione watching to the migliaia of men and women who I see today assemble around me to you. When I raise my look, I see in you the people of God, joined in the song of the praises of the Getlteman and in the eucaristica celebration. I also see all the people of America, one formed nation of many people: "and pluribus unum".

3. In the first two centuries of your national history, you have completed along way, always to the search of a better future, than one sure stability, of a hearth. You have walked "from the sea to one splendid sea" in order to find your identity, in order to discover one to you to the other along the way, and in order to find your place in this immense Country.

Your ancestors arrived from many different Countries through the oceans in order to meet themselves here with people of various communities that had settled down themselves in the Country. The process s' is repeated in every generation: new groups arrive, everyone with a various history, and it is implanted here becoming part of something of new. The same continuous process when the families move themselves from the South to the North, from the East to the West. Every time they arrive with their past to one new city or village, in order to become part of one new community. The model is repeated continuously: "and pluribus unum": many form one new community.

4. Yes, something of new has been created every time. You have carried with you a various culture and have contributed to all with with your particular one distinguished wealth; you had different experiences and you have put to them in common, completing the uni to you with the others, in order to create the industry, agriculture and the commerce; every group has carried with himself own the various human values and it has participates them to you with the others for the enrichment of your nation. "and pluribus unum": you are you become to you one new identity, new people, whose true nature cannot be explained adequately with the simple superimposition of the several communities.

Therefore, watching to you, I see the people that he has woven with just the destiny and hour common history writes one. Although your difference, you have decided to accept an other to you, some time in imperfect way and also until the point to subject a several other to you to types of discrimination; to times only after along period of incomprehension and refusal; even if hour gone developing the sense of the understanding and the appreciation of the mutual differences. In expressing the gratefulness for the numerous received blessings you become pure attention to the duty who you have for less fortunate in means you and in the rest of the world: a service, love, participation duty. Like people, you recognize in God the source of yours many blessings and you open yourselves to its love and its law.

This is the America in its ideal and its decision: "one nation, under God, indivisible, with freedom and justice for all". Therefore it has been conceived the America; this is how much it has been called to being. And for all this we say thanks to the Getlteman.

5. But there is also an other truth that I see when task to you Is a deeper truth also, and more demanding, of the common history and the union that you have constructed from the wealth of your various ethnic and cultural patrimony, that patrimony that you hour just want to know and to preservare. The history is not get exaustedded in the material progress, the technological conquest, or also only in the cultural development. Coming entirety here around to the altar of the sacrifice in order breaking the Bread of the Eucaristia Saint with the successor of Peter, you become witnesses of this deeper truth: of your unit like members of the people of God.

"We, also being many, are a single body in Christ" (Rm 12,5). Also the Church is composed of many limbs and enriched from the diversity of those who single community of faith and baptism forms one, the only body of Christ. That that assembles to us and ago of we one is only our faith, the faith one and apostolic. We are all one, because we have accepted Jesus Christ like the Son of God, the Redentore of the human race, the single Mediator between God and the man. With the Sacramento of the Baptism we have been truly incorporates to you in the Christ crocifisso and glorificato, and by means of the action of the Saint Spirit we are becomes to you the living limbs of its only body. Christ has given the mirabile to us Sacramento of the Eucaristia, with which he comes manifested and continuously carried out and perfected the unit of the Church.

6. "a Getlteman, a faith, a Baptism" (Ef 4,5), therefore we are all with bound, like the People of God, the body of Christ, in an unit that extends the diversity of our origin, culture, education and personality, in an unit that does not exclude the rich diversity of the ministries and the services. With Saint Paul proclamiamo: "Since, as in a single body we have many limbs and these limbs do not have all the same function, therefore also we, also being many, are a single body in Christ, and everyone for its part we are limbs uni of the others" (Rm 12,4-5).

If then the Church, the body one of Christ, dev' to be the necessarily discernibile sign of the evangelico message, all its members must demonstrate, in the words of Paul YOU, that "harmony and force of doctrine, life and cult that Paul characterized the first days of its existence (YOU, Apostolic Esortazione on the reconciliation in the Church, 2), when the Christians" were assiduous in listening the instructions of the apostles and in the union fraterna, in the fraction of the bread and the prayers "(At 2,42).

Our union in the faith must be complete, if we do not want to desistere the debit testimony to the evangelizzatori Gospel and the being. No ecclesiale community can therefore break its ties with the treasure of the faith as it is proclamata from the mission of instruction of the Church, because it is to this mission of instruction of the Church, to this "Magisterium" that has been in special way entrusted from Christ the warehouse of the faith. With Paul I assert this great truth to YOU: "Even if translate in all the languages, this content does not have neither intaccato neither cripple; also if covered of the own symbols of every people... the content of the catholic faith must remain, which the ecclesiale Mastery has received it and it transmits "(to Paul YOU, Evangelii to it Nuntiandi, 65).

7. _ final, and above all, the the mission to evangelizzare that be mine and yours, must be put into effect by means of one constant and lose interest testimony to the unit of the love. The love is the force that opens the hearts to the word of Jesus and its Redenzione: the love is the only foundation of the human relations that they want to respect in all the dignity of the created sons of God to its image and saves from the dead women and risurrezione to you of Jesus; the love is the only force drawer that it pushes to us to put in common with our siblings and sisters all that that we are and that we have.

The love is the powerful stimulus that ago to be born the dialogue, in which we listen to uni the others and we learn vicendevolmente. The love makes to rise, above all, the dialogue of the prayer in which we listen to the word of God, that it is living in the Sacred Bible and living in the life of the Church. We make then that the love constructs to the bridges between our contrasting different sides and some time. We make that the love scambievole and the love for the truth are the answer to the polarization, when factions because of seen different in things form themselves that they regard the faith or the priorities to give to practical actions. Nobody in the ecclesiale community would have to be never felt mentally ill or not loved, also when tensions in the course of the efforts common rise in order to make to fructify the Gospel in our society. Our unit in how many Christians, in how many Catholics, must always be an unit of love in Jesus Christ our Getlteman.

Between little minuteren we will celebrate our unit renewing the sacrifice of Christ. Everyone will introduce a gift different to offer in union with the offer of Jesus: the dedication for the improvement of the society; the efforts for consoling those that suffer; desire of giving testimony to the justice; the purpose to work for the peace and the fratellanza; the united joy of one family; or the suffering in the body and the mind. Different gifts, yes, but all joining in the only great gift of the love of Christ for its Father and we, all joining in the unit of Christ and its Sacrifice.

And hour in the force and the power, the joy and the peace of this sacred unit, we engage there once again like joined people to execute the comandamento of our Getlteman Jesus Christ: gone and taught to my Gospel to all the nations. With the word and the example given testimony to my name. And here, I am always with you, until the end of the world.

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