Saturday, April 02, 2005

Pope Changed World.

This is an article I came across in some old newspapers i found in the basement, and as a surprise I came across this article by Eric Margolis from Sunday, October 19, 2003...and I thought it really did the sum up what a great man that the Pope was. Here it is:

Great heart, courage and deep compassion have made huge impact

"After covering world affairs for the past 20 years, I (a non-catholic) believe the greatest man of our era has been His Holiness, Pope John Paul II.
This past week, the most remarkable pope since the Middle Ages commemorated his 25th anniversary as both leader of the world's oppressed peoples - no matter what their religion.
The first pope since the 16th century who was not Italian, Polish-born Karol Wojtyla quickly confirmed his countrymen's deserved reputation for courage and audacity by shaking up and revitalizing the Vatican bureaucracy and world wide Catholic priesthood, which were afflicted by low morale, loss of faith, poor leadership and often shocking corruption.
John Paul purged the Church notably its Latin American branches, of Marxist priests preaching "Liberation theology," one of the graver recent challenges to Catholicism around the world.
The Polish Pope reasserted the authority of Rome over the Church, parts of which, in many nations, had grown unresponsive, indifferent or outright rebellious to papal authority.
In short, John Paul reinvigorated the Catholic faith by insisting its tenets be faithfully observed, even when strictures against contraception, abortion, divorce or homosexuality ran sharply counter to social trends.
The cost of this dogmatic rigour was high, particularily in Europe: large numbers of Catholics dropped from the Church.
But the alternative was worse: To become like Britain's dying Anglican Church, which, by embracing every trend, from tambourine playing services to homosexual clergy, has ended up standing for nothing, becoming meaningless and irrevelant.
John Paul was also a modern warrior pope.
Branding communism the greatest evil the world had seen, he launched a personal crusade against the Soviet Union in secret alliance with the United States.
Vatican money, channeled through Latin America, funded Poland's Solidarity Movement, which ignited the rebellion against Soviet rule that led to the final collapse of what was truly an evil empire.
The Kremlin knew the Polish Pope was its most dangerous enemy.
He commanded no divisions, but he inspired the hearts and minds of Eastern Europe's peoples, and ignited their uprising against Soviet imperial Rule.
John Paul became their liberator.
As a result, the Soviets tried to assassinate him.
But John Paul was not just spiritual father of East Europeans.
He raised his mighty voice and mobilized the Church to defend the world's oppressed, voiceless peoples.
No one became a stronger defender of the five million suffering Palestinians' than John Paul II.
When the Muslim world forgot the Palestinians' plight, the Catholic Pope reminded them.
He ceaslessly called for a just peace between Arabs and Jews based on a viable Palestinian homeland.
When the Muslim world turned its back on the slaughter and rape of Bosnia's Muslims by Neo-Nazi savages calling themselves Christians; John Paul demanded the western powers rescue the Bosnians.
John Paul ceaselessly commanded Catholics to purge their faith and minds of that two millennium-old evil, anti-semitism, calling for true amity between Catholics and Jews, and between Catholics and Muslims.
As soon as the Cold War ended, John Paul urged the victorious West to temper its capitalist system by protecting the poor, the downtrodden, the helpless.
Unbridled capitalism could be as great a danger as communism, warned the Pope.
But in the post-Cold War get-rich-quick scramble, few in the West heeded his pleas for social justice.
When President George Bush and British PM Tony Blair decided to invade Iraq, Pope John Paul repeatedly accused them of preparing to wage an illegal, immoral war of aggression.
In this, the Pope spoke for much of the world, urging the U.S. and U.K. to work through the United Nations and enhance the power and authority of the world body.
But Bush and Blair ignored him, and are now paring the price for their arrogance, folly, and greed.
Critics of Pope John Paul charge he failed to adopt the Church to the time. But no great institution can long survive that shifts course to every change in the social winds.
Under John Paul, the Roman Catholic Church has declined in adherents, but it has grown stronger and more vital.
The Pope's sweeping reforms and newlu appointed cardinals will perpetuate his monumental works long after his death, and maintain the Church as a rock of faith in the stormy seas of life.
The Church will survive its recent shameful sex scandals, as it has survived so many past disasters.
Ironically, orthodox Muslims and Jews understand uch better than many western Christians how important it is for a great, cardinal faith that spans mankind's history to keep firm its moorings and resist the siren calls of modernication and accommodation, no matter how inconvenient.
It is heartbreaking to see this redoubtable Pope and profound humanist, this "Great Spirit," as Hindus would say, increasingly crippled by grave ailments and nearing his end.
But each time I see Pope John Paul, my spirit lifts with the knowledge there is indeed objective good, and that a man of great heart, courage and deep compassion can change for the better this often sordid world."

*Sigh* The world has lost a trully great man. A man who talked the talk and walked the walk. Despite the heavy toll on his body, he never gave up. And as one of the Saints said..."Preach the word of the gospel and when neccessary, use words." I cannot think of one other person who has had such an effect on the modern world, both politically and spiritually. And as a personal note, I had the great honour of meeting Pope John Paul the second when I stopped over in Rome one Christmas many years ago. I atteneded the Christmas Eve Mass with my Parents, and we had an aisle seat. As the Pope came down the aisle, he walked past us, but then stopped, came back, and touched me (in the Catholic Church this is known as a blessing) and that moment has forever been embedded in my mind. Little did I know at that time what a truly great and Holy man he was. Yes his beliefs ran contrary to the modern world, but one cannot but help and honour a man who stood so steadfast for his beliefs and values and did not falter or waiver from those. JP2, we loved you. *Sigh* and now the bells are ringing...thank you John Paul, you served the world well.


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