Monday, April 04, 2005

Requiem For A Pope

The world is mourning the passing of Pope John Paul II, who reigned for a remarkable 26 years. His long papacy came on the heels of John Paul I, who lasted barely a month. In fact one reason the relatively young and vigorous Karol Wojtyla was selected in 1978 was that many of the Cardinals had barely finished unpacking after returning home, only to have to turn around and go back to Rome again. They didn't want to have to do it a third time.

So the outpouring of affection for John Paul II is understandable. Indeed, for anyone much under the age of 40, he is simply the only Pope they remember.

One of the most remarkable things I've heard about him over the last several days was something he did at the conclusion of World War II. Many Jewish children had been orphaned during the course of that conflict, and they had been taken in by the Catholic church. As a young priest, he actually pushed to have them returned to Jews so that they could be raised Jewish, rather than Catholic. It is refreshing to hear something like that, when you consider that so many religious fanatics these days insist that their way is the ONLY way and everyone else is going to hell.

But one thing I do have to wonder about are all the people praying for him and his soul. Is that really necessary? I mean, he was the Pope, for crying out loud! If he needs help getting into heaven, what the hell hope is there for the rest of us?

0 thoughtful ramblings: