Sunday, April 03, 2005

BBC NEWS | In Depth | Pope John Paul II

Hmmm, bit of an odd situation this for me. Firstly, I'm definately not a Catholic; I'm not religious; and I really didn't agree with some of Pope JP II's attitudes e.g. on contraception, where the Papal doctrine has allowed AIDS to spread far more quickly rather than tackle the route cause of the problem that people just aren't as resistant to the temptation of lust as the Church would like them to be.

However, I've been addicted to the TV over the last few nights, feeling a kinship with many others around the world watching the news reports of the Pope's ailing health. It was riveting stuff, on the one hand I was thinking that perhaps the Pope would make a miraculous recovery, but on the other hand, was almost willing the Pope to die on the basis that surely he must be suffering beyond the call of duty and time for him to be relieved of this.

He was an incredible man with many good qualities, perhaps the most important for me were that he actually seems uncorrupted by his power, yes he was autocratic but he also engaged in a transparency in the workings of the Papacy that has not been seen before. He also bridged gaps with other religions, the most significant for me being the admission of Catholic persecution of the Jews, an apology for the lack of intervention leading up to and during the Holocaust and absolution of the Jews for the death of Christ (only 2000 years late but who's counting...)

Coming off the back of an emotional week for me with the suicide of Paul Hester, the former Crowded House drummer, It's really made me feel rather unsettled, not least of which because I'm finding myself swept along in not one but two waves of mass grief. Bizarrely it's all rather comforting, if not a little strange, raising a lot of questions for myelf about my own belief system.



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