2005-04-03

The Pope


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I'm not Catholic, so I won't pretend that this is a deep, personal loss for me. Still, the world has lost a leader who boldly stuck by his convictions.

The two things I remember most about Pope John Paul II:

1. How he came to be Pope. When I was a kid I learned a bit about the Pope selection process as John Paul I died a month after becoming Pope and we got to watch the process unfold twice in a short time. Also, it was a big deal that John Paul II was not Italian.

2. His Christ-like modeling of forgiveness. Shown here, the Pope meets with the man, and takes the very hand that tried to take his life.

I still don't understand how the Roman Catholic church squares their view of the Pope with God's word, but I've learned that in practice they are little different than the rest of us. Over the 20+ years of John Paul II the world has changed a great deal, and his church has changed a great deal. He's issued some difficult guidance on difficult issues. Sometimes his flock listens and follows, and sometimes the lambs wander off.

As times change, some denominations have compromised their core values. Time will tell if the Roman Catholics head off in the same direction via the selection of their new leader.

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