Panama (spwebdesign) wrote,

I just read that the Pope died today. We've all seen it coming for several days, and I thought I was fairly indifferent to it. So, I'm surprised to find that the news has affected me so.

I consider myself critical of John Paul II's papacy. I hearken for another John XXIII, who ushered in progressive reform in Catholicism. I'm one who found John Paul II's archconservatism maddening at times. Nonetheless, Karol Wojtyla was a remarkable man, and his tenure at the head of the Catholic Church was almost as impressive. For all the negative, he did a lot of good.

There is a story that most Catholics know, at least though who attend church often enough to have heard a homily on this. It's about a young Jewish woman who had been imprisoned in a concentration camp in Poland during World War II. When the Russians liberated the camp, the survivors needed to get to a train to carry them to safety. But this woman was too weak to walk. A young seminarian found her, fed her, and then picked her up and carried her through the snow a few miles to the train, all the while talking to her about grief and the struggle for life. His name is indelibly engraved in her memory: Karol Wojtyla. You can read about this story here.

I know most of you are not Catholic and even more of you are very opposed to what this pope represented. Still, I encourage you to read one of the many obituaries about him, to learn a little bit more about this remarkable man. Here is the BBC's obituary and an article about his papacy's legacy.
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