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środa, kwietnia 06, 2005

The Pope is being secularized (News Poland)

The Pope is being secularized (News Poland)

News Poland

Special Editorial Comment

It's been extraordinary, a flood of wonderful memories from people all over the world about how the Pope has personally touched them. I have been listening to quite a few reports via internet and listening to personal tributes. I don't know if it's only me but I have noticed a common thread among most of the non-clergy regarding the Pope. People look at the Pope through their own particular faith or non-faith filters and so, for example, an atheist will present the Pope as a great humanist (sans any mention of God). I heard a Muslim man characterize the Pope as a man of peace -- no mention of the profound Christian faith at the core of the Pope's being. Many mentioned the Pope's spectacular globe-trotting project to bring about dialogue and understanding among religions. A few people talked of the Pope as a grandfather, or uncle. Is this normal - I mean to reduce the Pope to a non-threatening caricature (albeit wonderful) that fits nicely into our faith frameworks? What about taking a moment to reflect on and confront the fact that what made the Pope such a great humanist, or man of peace, or a globe-trotting, inter-religious dialoger, was in fact the God whom he worshipped? If we fail to mention this, are we secularizing the Pope?

In Poland especially, there is a temptation (and rightly so) to take ownership of the Pope as a great Pole. Poland should recall that there are over 1 billion Catholics around the world, the Pope belongs to all of us (to humanity in general). My gripe isn't with this tendency, it happens in all countries fortunate enough to produce from their ranks a truly exemplary person. Consider how much pride (even if ironic in some cases) the Jews could feel about Jesus -- but St. Paul shattered that reduction (ie. "Neither Greek nor Jew..."). Or Hindus could feel about Buddha. The lesson under threat of being lost is that the Pope was God's instrument, and it is God who deserves the glory, not the reverse.

The Pope's faith facilitated God's work, and due credit belongs to the Pope as a man of great, and steadfast faith (making himself available to God). But let's not forget that the warm and inspiring light that came from this Pope to millions of people, originated from somewhere -- and the Pope would be the first one to tell you it wasn't from himself -- And that it is available to and for all of us. The light didn't go out, it's been released. "With people it is impossible, but not with God; for all things are possible with God." (Mark 10:26-28)

An overview/personal account of the Pope in Poland Monthly

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At 6.4.05, Anonymous XYZ said...

Your point is valid. The reason is that Polish people don't like discussing their faith outside their church. I don't know if it's too personal to do so or it's simply very convenient to close God in the church, but I know that people will look at you with suspicion if you try to do otherwise.

At 7.4.05, Anonymous barb said...

I am saddened by the death of this good and holy man.... as are millions of people all over the world. And I am hoping that the next Pope will be someone as good and holy.... but more progressive. The Church needs to look forward ... not backward. This is a good time to let go of the trappings of medieval court life..... to end calling cardinals "princes of the church". ... to do away with the courtly robes. What does this have to do with Jesus? With Christianity? With Catholicism?
And we should be wary of organizations like Opus Dei which hew to a fundamentalist type of Catholicism. What the Church needs is a good dose of the spirit of John XXIII.... an opening of the windows.....an opportunity to allow disparate voices to be heard.
People are responding to the love they had for this wonderful man who showed such a human as well as holy side to the world......but this devotion and love hasn't made the Church any more relevant to today's Catholics.... this love for John Paul has not translated to a more vigorous faith.
My prayer is that the next Pope will combine the magnetism and holiness of John Paul with the wisdom of John XXIII......
The Church today must respond to the needs of the people......Please God, it will.


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