Saturday, April 2, 2005

Pope John Paul II 1920-2005

I'm gonna take time out from the world of sports to talk about more important stuff.

R.I.P. Pope John Paul II

Preface: I'm not Catholic at all. In fact, my roots go back to all flavors of Protestanism dating back before those roots arrived in the New World. I go to a church most would probably classify as "evangelical" (I personally hate the label for reasons I'd rather discuss personally rather than on my blog). However, I still feel the loss of John Paul II.

- He had the courage to stand up to a facist dictatorship when others around him gave in

- He stood up to communism when others sought compromise

- He directed his bishops in Latin America to stand up to oppressive juntas. (The Archdiocese of Sao Paulo kept one of the most detailed records of torture under Brazil's military rule.)

- He honored non-Catholic Christians like Martin Luther King who stood up for Christianity overall.

- He had a special concern for poor people

- He never compromised on value issues, even when it was controversial to go against public opinion.

- He even stood up to terminal illness. Even though illness took his life, he didn't let it stop him from fighting for what he believed in.

Just a person whom all Christians can look up to.

They say that the next Pope may come from Africa or Asia. Which got me thinking. John Paul II came from a country, Poland, where Christianity was actively persecuted. What if the next one's a Chinese Pope, an Indian Pope, or a pope from an African or Asian country where Muslims are the majority? What kind of impact do you think he'd have?

Just a thought.

My biggest prayer for the next papacy: that the next Pope would help take the lead in helping to resolve issues between Catholics and non-Catholic Christians, and that non-Catholics would be receptive and meet him. Because whatever feuds exist have gone on long enough, and we need to speak with one voice if we are to meet the dual challenges of radical secularism and Islamic jihad, neither of which care what type of Christian we are.
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