COMMENTARY/EDITORIAL by Michael B. Smith
IN MEMORIAM: POPE JOHN PAUL II.
Written Friday, 8 April 2005
 Among one of the most influential people of the twentieth century was Pope John Paul II. I
greatly admired this man of faith. The pain of loss is even more accute when someone you greatly
admire or love passes away. The Pope died Saturday, two days after Terri Schiavo was starved to
death. I am not a Catholic, but I greatly admire the Pope, especially a man like Pope John Paul II.
It's obvious I'm not the only one who respects him. As I write this (8 APR 05), his earthly vessel
was visited by more than four million people. Roman Catholics and many more people were
honoring this man, who was a son of a Polish tailor. Little did young Karol Wotyla know that he was
going to be one of the most influential people in world history, not just for whom and what he
represents, but in no small way, his modesty, his humility, and his love of people, especially the
children.
  He has been laid to rest in St. Peter's Basilica. Pope John Paul II, on the day he was buried,
brought many, many, many people together. I saw footage of the leaders of Iran attending the
funeral mass along with the President of the United States of America. For the first time in my life
I have seen on television the millions and millions of people who came to see the Pope and attend
his funeral mass, as well as a billion-plus people who respected and loved Pope John Paul II...
including me.
  As I was watching and viewing pictures of the funeral, I was shocked to see how many people
came to give their respects. Why? What caused this man to merit this humongous and worldwide
measure of respect? Is it because he was the mortal head of the Catholic Church? Yes, partly. Is it
because he embodied the ideas, principles, and beliefs of the Savior, Jesus Christ? Surely. Is it
because he helped to fight against the forces of evil, to include naziism and communism? Take a
look at the nation of his birth, his homeland, and you will see that he stood against that evil and
fought against it, too. Although he never fired a shot, he helped nations shrug off the bounds of
Soviet-era strongarming. He even forgave the man who shot him in 1981.
  This world is much better off today for having this servant of God and Christ Jesus on this earth.
In his declining years, the Church was (and is today) confronted with some devastating issues, such
as homosexual marriage, abortion, contraception, and some of the clergy molesting children. He
was not in the best of health, so others, I'm certain, had to speak for him and the Catholic Church.
  It was quite amazing to see the respect others gave him. I grew up knowing that Pope John Paul
II was the most visible Christian in Christendom. Today, I don't know who that is, beacuse he has
gone to be with our Father and our Savior.
  What did the life of Pope John Paul II mean to me? His life meant that serving others is a critical
and vital part of our earthly lives. His example, being a leader, a Christianm and a man, is one that
all of us would do well to try to emulate. As the vicar of Christ, he embodied the life a Christian
should follow, the way the servant of Christ should be.
  May God bless Karol Wotyla, Pope John Paul II. Grant him peace. Grant him joy.
  God, please help us. We need Your wisdom, Your love, and Your peace. Not just today, but
forever.
Posted 6 MAY 2005
Reviewed 2
7 JAN 2012
Pope John Paul II. R.I.P.
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