Take back your rights!

Blog of personal philosophy, advocating liberty.

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

Each man's death ...

When Father Karol Wojtyla was named pope, there were, of course, the jokes: “Pope Pole the First will wallpaper the Sistine Chapel.”
I like the following better, only in part because it’s mine: “What do you call a person who speaks three languages?”
“What do you call a person who speaks two languages?”
“What do you call a person who speaks only one language?”
An American.
“What do you call a person who speaks eight languages?”
Pope John Paul II.
Perhaps because it followed so closely after the killing of Terri Schiavo, John Paul’s passing – being forecast, being prematurely announced, being expected though it was – was still emotionally wrenching, even to this non-Catholic.
I was in my car, on my way to a friend’s, listening to – of all things – National Public Radio’s “news” broadcast and the segment of the announcement concluded with a musical selection: Leonardo De Amicis’ rendering of John Paul’s reading of the Beatitudes.
Perhaps I am supposed to be embarrassed, but I just sat in my car, bawling like a baby.
All the passion of the day and the previous days, all the sorrow of the departure of a great man, all the drama of the passing of a humane and decent person, all combined to overwhelm me and my emotions.
Lots of stories have been told of his humanity, of his decency, of his strength, of his courage.
One short segment of videotape, though, will always stick in my mind as symbolizing Pope John Paul II: Some tourists, probably American, were chanting, “We love you.”
He raised his hand and, apparently shifting mental gears to get into English, responded, “I … love … you … more.”
The world, with all its continuing problems and miseries, became a better place because of him.
Rest In Peace, Karol Wojtyla, Pope John Paul II.


  • At 6:34 PM, Blogger Aussiegirl said…

    Beatiful, Michael, thanks for sharing your thoughts. I think his passing did affect many non-Catholics -- one doesn't have to be Catholic to mourn the passing of a fine and good man, a man of decency. As God's emissary on earth, it was fitting, and therefore so stunning, when John Paul answered, "I love you more" -- because this is the relationship that I am slowly realizing through a process of discovering my own faith that we share with God -- who loves us more -- because he is Infinite -- and so is his love. Faith is a long and continuing journey, with many highways, byways, detours and dead ends, but it all leads to the same place, the same Truth, the same realization. When something like this happens, when we lose a human being who exemplified the deepest and finest characteristics of mankind, the characteristics that are a reflection of the Creator -- then we are brought up short. Those were good tears -- and I thank you for sharing them with us -- I think we all wept, and not only for him -- but for ourselves -- and our sometimes lonely walk here on earth.

  • At 8:57 AM, Anonymous Catlover said…

    As a cradle Catholic, I have really struggled with understanding HOW God - and the Pope - can possibly love us humans. The longer I live, the more contempt I have for the human race, the more aware I've become of the truly evil nature of man. I'm thinking of Evil in the terms C.S. Lewis used, and I forget his exact words, but he spoke of the pleasures of petty authority, the pleasure of putting other people in the wrong, mean-spiritedness, etc. I understand what he meant more and more everyday and, as unchristian as it is, I LOATHE people for it. Yes, Aussiegirl, it IS a lonely journey here on earth. I will pray to acquire John Paul's sincere love for mankind, but that will be a huge feat!

  • At 10:56 AM, Blogger Michael Morrison said…

    "The more I know people, the more I love my cats?"
    Catlover, you do have a jaundiced view and I'm sorry.
    Just be aware of aussiegirl and you can know there are LOTS of good people, probably many more than not-good people.
    Pope John Paul II even forgave and loved the man who shot him.
    How can you not try to raise yourself, to strive for that height of compassion and love?
    Yeah, me neither.
    But we can try.
    You will be happier if you recognize, or at least try to see, that the aussiegirls are in the majority, if not in intelligence, at least in essential goodness.

  • At 5:42 PM, Anonymous Catlover said…

    Sorry, Michael, but I don't agree that people like Aussiegirl are in the majority. Quite the contrary! I'm talking about true GOODNESS which, of course, means STRENGTH, COURAGE when the majority is against you. If you really want to test your theory, go to work in an office and voice some unpopular opinions, or speak out against an unjust policy. I'm afraid you'll find that you're a minority of one. Even those self-proclaimed "Christians" will give you a wide berth in the hallways even if they secretly agree with you.

    NO - most people are not good. Most people are weak - and it is that weakness - the willingness to go along with Whatever - that makes tyranny possible. As somebody pointed out, Hitler didn't commit all those atrocities all by himself - he had THOUSANDS of willing accomplices who were only too happy to either actively participate in the killing or to passively do so by informing on their fellow citizens.

    Yes, I may be a cynic - but I'm a realist. And I prefer my cats more and more everyday.


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