Farewell to a Giant, Pope John Paul II.
Even a non-theist such as I cannot help but have enormous admiration and respect for one of the
moral and political giants of the Twentieth Century. No doubt Ronald Reagan played a central
role in hastening the collapse of the Soviet Union, which he had the vision to foresee while his
critics mocked his predictions as both naive and belligerent, but likewise, there can be no doubt
that Pope John Paul II likewise played a central role in such historic change. Last summer my
family visited Warsaw and Cracow and also Auschwitz. As a reminder of the adversities
Pope John Paul II faced, the courage he displayed, and the risks he took to help Jews when he was a
priest in Cracow during World War II, that trip reinforced my long-held view that the world was
quite fortunate that the Cardinals elected him Pope in 1978. I remember the electrifying
effect of his 1979 visit to Poland.
Despite my disagreement with some of his positions (not relevant to this commentary), the more I
learned about him, the greater my admiration. He reached out to Jews, Muslims and even
non-believers. He helped keep issues about human rights at the center of the world
stage. He did something few of us would do-- he forgave the man who tried to kill him.
He has laid the groundwork for world-wide evolution of theocratic ecumenicism and tolerance in the
Twenty-First Century. He bridged political as well as religious boundaries in the Middle
East. In short, it's difficult to overstate the positive effects of his
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2, 2005 #01 Daily Update at PoliSat.Com,
where satire is always
commentary, but commentary
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Farewell to a Giant-- Pope John Paul II.
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