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Pope John Paul II 1920-2005

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Arthur_Vandelay

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This is a thread for TTFers to offer their thoughts and reflections on the life and passing of Pope John Paul II . . .

From the ABC website on Pope John Paul II:
Pope John Paul II, who was known as Karol Jozef Wojtyla until his election to the papacy, was born in Poland in 1920.

The second of two sons, by the age of 21 Karol Wojtyla was the only surviving member of his family - his mother dying in 1929, his brother in 1932 and his father in 1941.

Involved in the Church from birth, he made his first Holy Communion at the age of nine, and was confirmed at the age of 18.

An artistic man, Karol Wojtyla enrolled in a drama school on completion of high school, and in Cracow's Jagiellonian University.

However, Nazi occupation forces closed the university, and Karol Wojtyla was forced to work in a quarry and then a chemical factory to avoid being deported. By 1942, Karol Wojtyla was aware of his call to the priesthood. He began clandestine courses at a Cracow seminary, and at the same time, was one of the pioneers of the clandestine "Rhapsodic Theatre".

At the conclusion of World War II, Karol Wojtyla continued his studies at the seminary, and recommenced his study of theology at the Jagiellonian University, which had reopened.

In 1946, he was ordained.

Shortly after his ordination, Karol Wojtyla went to Rome where he worked under the guidance of the French Dominican, Garrigou-Lagrange.

He completed a doctorate in theology in 1948, while exercising his pastoral ministry among the Polish immigrants of France, Belgium and Holland during his vacations.

On his return to Poland, Karol Wojtyla continued his theological studies, eventually becoming a professor of moral theology and social ethics.

On July 4, 1958, Pope Pius XII appointed him Auxiliary Bishop of Cracow.

Pope Paul VI then appointed him to the role of Archbishop of Cracow, and made him a cardinal in 1967.

As a cardinal, Karol Wojtyla participated in Vatican Council II and all the assemblies of the Synod of Bishops.

In 1978, he became Pope and adopted the name John Paul II. He was the Catholic Church's first non-Italian pontiff in over 450 years and history's first Slavic pope.

Travelling widely since his Pontificate, Pope John Paul gave general audiences to more than 16 million pilgrims. His travels earned him the nickname the 'globetrotting pope'.

He spoke eight different languages, learning Spanish after becoming Pope.

Pope John Paul II was shot May 13, 1981 at Saint Peter's square by a Turkish extremist, Mehmet Ali Agca.

In 1983, the Pope met with his would-be assassin in Rome's Rebibbia prison to forgive him.

He visited Australia twice as head of the Catholic Church, the second time in 1995 to beatify Mary MacKillop.

His first visit to Australia as Pope was in 1986.

"I come as a friend to urge you, pursue your lives, all those values worth of the human person, to encourage you to be open-hearted, generous to the unfortunate and caring towards those who are pushed to the margins of life," he urged Australians.

His messages, regardless of where he was in the world, focused on human rights, particularly the rights of children.

He also chastised Western nations and communist countries, viewing communism and capitalism as flip sides of a coin, neither of which would lead to happiness.

Since his accession to the Pontificate, he restored conservative stances on abortion, contraception, biotechnology, and the place of women in the Church.

He published four books, Love and Relationships in 1960, Crossing the Threshold of Hope in 1994, Gift and Mystery: On the 50th Anniversary of My Priestly Ordination in 1996 and his autobiography Get Up and Let Us Go in May 2004. The book follow his life from new Bishop of Crakow to being elected Pope. The book's publication also marked the Pope's 84th birthday.

In 1994, Time magazine named him 'Man of the Year'.

In later years Pope John Paul II developed Parkinson's disease, and increasingly began to rely on his cardinals to carry out some of his ceremonial duties. At Easter 2002, he was unable to carry out the washing of the feet ceremony, which is symbolic of the Last Supper. It was the first time the role had been performed by cardinals.

In an unprecedented gesture, the Pope publicly apologised for the past misdeeds of the Catholic church.

He was also forced to deal with the sex abuse scandal that was engulfing the Catholic Church, calling an emergency meeting with US cardinals in Rome. In an address to bishops from north-eastern states, he them to give more guidance to Catholic priests in their country to prevent another child sex abuse scandal.

He also called on the clergy to work for greater dialogue with other faiths in the wake of the September 11, 2001, attacks in the United States.

The Pope's schedule was relentless. In 2003, he travelled to Pompei, Slovakia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia and Spain. As his health continued to deteriorate his visted Switzerland in June 2004 - his first foreign trip for nine months. In August 2004 he visted Lourdes on a two-day pilgrimage to one of the Roman Catholic world's most revered shrines. It was his second pilgrimage to the shrine in southern France.

In early 2005 his health deteriorated further, and the Pontiff spent 28 days in hospital in two periods in February and March. During the second hospital stay he underwent a tracheotomy to ease respiratory problems. The surgery rendered the man once known as 'the great communicator' unable to speak.

Despite the surgery he continued to deteriorate, eventually suffering a heart attack and septic shock from a urinary tract infection.

The Vatican announced that the Pontiff died at 9:37pm on Saturday April 2, 2005.
 

scotsboyuk

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The world has lost a very good man, hopefully his example will inspire others to think of their fellow man. May he find peace and eternal rest with his God.

Sede Vacante
 

Barliman Butterbur

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I respected his sincerity. I thought he was wrong on gay and women's issues, but in the main, I thought — as a non-Catholic — that he certainly was one of the better popes because of his humanity, his caring, and his hands-on involvement with the world and its people.

Just this morning I read that about 75% of the world's Catholics want a more liberal pope next time, and that the "team" of cardinals (sorry, don't know the correct term) responsible for choosing the next pope want just the opposite. They want an older pope who'll do a short term (read that die early on), in a much more conservative manner. (I heard this in an interview with a Father Ryan on last night's 60 Minutes). Evidently the Vatican higher-ups want some sort of breathing space, as they consider that the last pope rather stood the Church on its head doctrinally and politically over the last 26 years.

Barley
 

Hammersmith

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Four Cardinals are considered most likely to be "papabili", those worthy to succeed Pope John Paul II.
  • Oldest is Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, a 77-year-old German, who is known as John Paul II's ideological "enforcer". He has been in the Vatican for more than two decades and became one of John Paul II's closest collaborators. He is Prefect for the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith - an organisation once known as the Inquisition - which has allowed him to stamp his theological conservatism on the Church over a period of more than 20 years. In the 1980s, he described homosexuality as an "intrinsic moral evil" and said rock music could be a "vehicle of anti-religion". To some he is a saviour to the Church in an increasingly secular world, to others he is an authoritarian who punishes liberal thought.
  • Cardinal Dionigi Tettamanzi, Archbishop of Milan, 71, is the likeliest Italian candidate and heads Europe's largest diocese with 4.8 million followers. He is a highly respected theologian who specialises in sexual morality and bioethics. Cardinal Tettamanzi is considered highly orthodox but he is also known for his social commitment and a more populist position on globalisation. At the time of anti-globalisation protests during the G8 Summit in 2001, he said that "a single African child sick with Aids counts more than the entire universe". Counting against Cardinal Tettamanzi is a relative lack of international experience.
  • Cardinal Claudio Hummes, Archbishop of Sao Paulo, Brazil, is a doctrinal conservative who supports decentralisation by increasing the powers of national conferences of bishops. The growing strength of the Catholic Church outside Europe and North America could also help the 70-year-old's cause.
  • Cardinal Francis Arinze, a 72-year-old Nigerian, could become the first black man in 1,500 years to sit on the throne of St Peter. He is from humble beginnings in the Nigerian countryside where his parents worshipped traditional African gods. He studied in London and became Africa's youngest bishop at the age of 32. Cardinal Arinze is seen as a conservative within the church, who takes a hard line on women priests, abortion and homosexuality. But he believes Muslims, Buddhists and Jews can go to heaven and and has forged links with leaders of other faiths. He is regarded as personable, charming and a good communicator.
(Source)
These are some of the candidates. I'm not a Catholic, but I personally think Tettamanzi or Hummes would be good choices.
 

joxy

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"Humanity, caring, and hands-on involvement with the world", are I hope, characteristics of all leaders, and of all Christians - not, of course, exclusively.
Certainly Karol Wojtila demonstrated those charactertistics to the full, especially by his adoption of a completely new form of papal ministry, the many visits he made to every part of the world.
Those visits will form a lasting memory of him; but above all he will be remembered as the inspiration for the ending of the "evil empire" which seemed so indomitable at the time when his colleagues so wisely placed him in the line of succession from St Peter.

Of course he was far from being above criticism, but I do not consider that criticism is justified, of his understanding of women's and of gay people's "issues".
And of course there will be speculation as to who will soon be chosen by the cardinal electors (the "conclave", taken from the "college", of cardinals), but no one item seen and read will have any more value than any other. There is certainly no means of assessing what any "percentage" of 1.2 billion people want, or of knowing the opinion of "Vatican higher-ups" about the last 25 years of the church - though I would very much doubt the suggestion that, whoever they may be, they considered the church had been inverted, or diverted; quite the contrary, it has continued steadily on its straight path, gaining strength all along the way.
I would not take Hammersmith's source too seriously, but it does contain the name of the one man who would make an outstandingly good pope, Francis Arinze.
 

Barliman Butterbur

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Hammersmith said:
...he described homosexuality as an "intrinsic moral evil" and said rock music could be a "vehicle of anti-religion"...takes a hard line on women priests, abortion and homosexuality. But he believes Muslims, Buddhists and Jews can go to heaven...
This is the kind of doctrinal doodoo (stronger words got censored) that makes me crazy! I won't go into why, because my "whys" are all over this board in the jetzt-verboten threads on religion. I'll just make one general comment: people's worth should be judged (as if anyone had the right to judge another) according to the amount of their kindly cooperative compassionate behavior towards others over time — and that's all.

Barley
 

Hammersmith

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joxy said:
I would not take Hammersmith's source too seriously, but it does contain the name of the one man who would make an outstandingly good pope, Francis Arinze.
No? Sky News is a subsidiary of Fox, and is the UK's best (in my opinion) broadcast news channel. It displays little of the bias that Fox is renowned for and certainly has access to the resources required to report on stories. I'll admit that it's the only source I've relied on for this particular topic, but they've never led me astray in the past :(
 

Gothmog

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Just a reminder

This is a thread for TTFers to offer their thoughts and reflections on the life and passing of Pope John Paul II . . .
While there is inevitably going to be a certain amount of contemplation of a successor, let us keep to the spirit in which this thread was started.

Thank you.
 

Gil-Galad

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I am not a catholic,but Orthodox Christian....
In spite of all historical and religious problems between the Catholic Church and the Orthodox Church ,pope John Paul II asked us(the orthodox Christians and the Orthodox Church) for forgiveness ,for all those things done by the Catholic church in the 13-15th centuries.He asked us for forgiveness for the fact that the Catholic Church did not help the Bulgarian Kingdom,the Serbian Kingdom and the Byzantine empire stop the invasion of the Ottoman Turks,although we had helped the catholics in their wars with the arabs.He asked us for forgiveness for the destruction of Constantinople the heart of the early Christianity and the Orthodox Church (Istanbul nowadays)by the Otomman Turks and for letting us(a huge part of the orthodox population-Greece,Bulgaria,Serbia,Macedonia,Romania) to live 400-500 years under literary slavery.

No other pope had asked us for forgiveness,no other pope had had the dignity to to do this.Pope John Paul II had it....

He did not divided the people according to their believes.No matter whether they were orthodox,baptists,muslims,jewish, he saw in everyone of them only love,good and humanity....

An extraodinary and great man.

I feel really sorry for all people who believe in God,Allah ,Yahve or whatever,because they all lost a great man,who believed in the good in everyone of us and the love between all human beings.
 

Arthur_Vandelay

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Pope John Paul II mended a great many bridges during his tenure . . . but he burned a few as well.

As Gil-Galad's post attests, one of the Pope's greatest achievements was his active encouragement of inter-faith dialogue--most poignantly, perhaps, between Catholics and Jews.

The Pope deserves praise also for upholding the Catholic Church's strong social justice tradition: championing the rights of the poor, the marginalised and the displaced. In Australia, refugee advocates have been enheartened by his statements on the treatment of asylum seekers in affluent countries:

“The Church...hears the suffering cry of all who are uprooted from their own land, of families forcefully separated, of those who, in the rapid changes of our day, are unable to find a stable home anywhere…at the same time, States with a relative abundance tend to tighten their borders under pressure from public opinion disturbed by the inconveniences that accompany the phenomenon of immigration. Society finds itself having to deal with the ‘clandestine’ men and women in illegal situations, without rights in a country that refuses to welcome them, victims of organised crime or of unscrupulous entrepreneurs”.
Although his notion of a "culture of life" was often invoked by figures involved in the Schiavo case, the "culture of life" the Pope promoted was much broader a concept than some were prepared to accept. I don't share his position on abortion, but his was the most consistent "pro-life" stance one could adopt, given that was equally opposed to the death penalty. And he insisted that a "culture of life" be accompanied be the cultivation of a "culture of peace"--hence, for instance, his opposition to the Iraq war.

But as Barley's post indicates, the Pope's stance on such issues as abortion, homosexuality, the role of women within the church and in society, and contraception has alienated many within the Church. Their concerns are legitimate and should not be dimissed as "irrelevant" or "wrong." It will only be to the Church's detriment if it becomes yet another battleground in the culture wars.

Karol Wojtyla was a successful Pope not because of his conservatism but because of his charisma. If the new Pope is to follow in his predecessor's footsteps, he should complement the ecumenical direction of the Church with an internal ecumenism: he should seek also to mend the divisions that exist within his Church. Insofar as such internal divisions reflect divisions that exist in the wider world, this would be a great achievement.
 

Ingwë

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I am from Bulgaria and I am not a catholic, but Orthodox Christian like Gil-Galad. But I think the world has lost a great man, not only a Christian but a leader. He was fair man and maybe one of the best popes for ever. Rest in Peace...
 

joxy

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From the inside of the church I do not see the alienation and division that A_V sees from the outside.
On the contrary, the list of supposed causes for those factors actually bring together and unite us.

And a thank you to the young Orthodox contributors for their generous messages.
It was one of John Paul's greatest desires, now sadly unfulfilled, to see the reconciliation of the two great churches.
 

Arthur_Vandelay

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joxy said:
From the inside of the church I do not see the alienation and division that A_V sees from the outside.
On the contrary, the list of supposed causes for those factors actually bring together and unite us.
With all respect, I was raised a Catholic, and my family, extended family on my mother's and father's sides, and some of my friends are practising Catholics. I have even spoken to a few priests. I do see dissatisfaction. It shouldn't be ignored. I appreciate, nonetheless, that you don't see it.

But let's not dwell on it here. For your interest:

A pontificate of trouble (Australian)
Less preaching, more listening, say liberal voices (Sydney Morning Herald)
Legacy of unity comes at a high price (Guardian)
A Pope of unity but also division (Deutsche Welle)
Disconnect between US Catholics and Rome grows (abc News)
Pope's reign full of contradictions (CNN)
Bishops fear purge of liberals as Pell gives nod to conservatives (Sydney Morning Herald)
Remembering Pope John Paul II (ABC Radio National--The Religion Report)
Crisis in the Catholic Church: the Pope's contradictions (Der Spiegel)
 
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Walter

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From the inside of the well, the frog does not see all things which the eagles from the sky can easily descry.

It's all a matter of perspective... ;)
 

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He was a good pope, and I have no doubt, a good man-and his death is rightfully mourned. Well at least he is now released from the tyranny of life to the freedom of death. ;)

That being said, I disagreed with some of his views, though that is life, I guess.

On a side note, anyone notice the irony of the French state flying the flag at half mast after his death-isn't it kind of ironic that such a secular state was mourning the death of a religious leader. Double standards perhaps?
 

Arthur_Vandelay

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Inderjit S said:
He was a good pope, and I have no doubt, a good man-and his death is rightfully mourned. Well at least he is now released from the tyranny of life to the freedom of death. ;)

That being said, I disagreed with some of his views, though that is life, I guess.

On a side note, anyone notice the irony of the French state flying the flag at half mast after his death-isn't it kind of ironic that such a secular state was mourning the death of a religious leader. Double standards perhaps?
I'm as opposed to the French government's policies on religious dress as the next person. But perhaps you might as well have asked: Isn't it ironic that atheists/agnostics/secularists on TTF are paying (qualified) tribute to the death of a religious leader? Double standards perhaps? Religious or otherwise, the Pope was a figure of no little significance in the world (and particularly in Europe)--politically and historically--and I don't think the French government has compromised its secularism by paying its respects to him.

And France has played no small role in the history of Roman Catholicism, either.
 
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