Sunday, April 10, 2005

The Only Pope I've Known

Pope John Paul II has been laid to rest and may he rest in peace. As was pointed out in the comments, I grew up Catholic and went to Catholic church for my first 16 years of life. I've been all over the board on my feelings on the Catholic church and don't have the time or inclination to trace my journey from Catholicism to Protestantism, but regardless of how I felt, the same Polish man in a tall hat was always at the top.

The Pope passed away while we were in Italy, which is an experience in itself, but it meant that I missed the media frenzy that surrounded his death. I've more or less caught up at the BBC, CNN, the Guardian, and the Bellingham Herald. Much ink has been spilled by people more in the know than me, so I've only got this to add, energy and life is fleeting.

I remember the Pope flying to Eastern Europe in the 80s, or Latin America in the 90s and he was a bundle of energy. Even in the 2000 Jubilee celebrations this Pope seemed to have a lot of energy and desire to keep living. Then it was announced that he had Parkinson's disease and the shaking became more apparent. The formerly mobile and spritely elderly Pollack wasn't even able to say anything at the last Easter Mass. It such a short span of time the Pope moved from the living to the dead. I guess that is what I'll always remember about this man, he showed us how to live in peace with others, but also how to go to our death with confidence in the resurrection and Jesus.

Thank you Lord for Karol Wojtyla!

ps. The Italian media is all excited about their hometown boy, Cardinal Dionigi Tettamanzi, the archbishop of Milan. as the next Pope. Since the Italian media is all a flutter about him, he is probably a bad idea. I'd rather see Cardinal Francis Arinze of Nigeria elected as a sign of the increasingly global reach of the Church, but I'm not even Catholic so I don't think I'll be an influencing factor.