Sunday, April 03, 2005
Watching the commemorative mass officiated by Cardinal Angelo Sodano and all the faithful there wiping tears and praying... it was and is moving, touching and very appropriate - however Christians simply ought to know better than that!
The Pope - this Pope - is not the first to go that way. It is not the end of the world (alas) neither is it the end of the papacy or the Church. His body is lying in state - his body... Note the nuance! For Christians, this means even more - much more! For we, Christians, believe in an afterlife - in eternal life with Christ! If anything, the Pope is freed - just like Terri Schindler was. And Sister Lucia. And anyone who leaves this world when his or her time comes, after having completed his or her journey... In Terri's case, maybe her journey should have continued indeed; her mission seemed to have been accomplished though - she raised public awareness to cases similar to hers. And she is free now too.
The Pope should be mourned, sure - as an extremely good man, as he irrefutably was / is. He was an "apostle of freedom" and of peace, indubitably. He was not the Way though - Jesus is. Karol Wojtyla was not God - he surely was a saintly man though! :)
Padre Cruz. Brother André. Padre Pio. Those are some of my personal favorites - however, their numbers are "countless" according to... the Pope who has departed just now!
Countless numbers refused to yield to the cult of the false gods of the 20th century and were sacrificed by communism, Nazism, by the idolatry of state or race
- Pope John Paul II
The Pope said countless Christians had been united in their readiness to die for their faith in the 20th century.
Those who died in Soviet gulags, in Nazi and Japanese prison camps during World War II, in the 1994 Rwanda genocide and during the recent fundamentalist unrest in Algeria were honoured in prayer and song.
Choirs from Ukraine, the Philippines and Africa took part.
It was one of the most important events of the Vatican's Jubilee year promoting Christian unity.
In his sermon, the Pope, who turns 80 on 18 May, said Christians had experienced "hatred and exclusion, violence and murder" in the modern age.
He noted that some 3,000 priests were interned in the Nazi death camp at Dachau.
A prayer read in Czech recalled the six million Jews who were killed in the Holocaust.
The killing of more than a million Armenian Christians in Turkey during World War I was also remembered.
Saying he himself witnessed "much pain and many trials" as a young man in communist Poland, he said his generation was particularly marked by war, concentration camps and persecution.
The candlelight service also paid tribute to Christians who died in the Spanish Civil War and the Mexican Revolution and to Archbishop Oscar Romero, murdered by a right-wing death squad in El Salvador in 1980.
List remains secret
BBC Rome correspondent David Willey says there has been some criticism of the Pope's decision not to make public yet the list that the Vatican has drawn up of more than 12,000 new Christian martyrs of the 20th century.
Vatican officials don't exclude that it may be published at some time in the future.
Special tributes were paid to Russian Orthodox Patriarch Tikhon, who stood up to the Bolsheviks after the 1917 revolution, and Olga Jafa, a Russian teacher exiled to a Soviet gulag.
The tributes also included Anton Luli, an Albanian Catholic priest who spent 28 years in prison, and Paul Schneider, a Lutheran anti-Nazi priest tortured to death in Buchenwald concentration camp.
Many of the people who suffered or died for their faith were "unknown soldiers", the Pope said.
"There are so many of them. They must not be forgotten. Rather they must be remembered and their lives documented," he said.
An average of about 465 Christian
believers are being murdered daily
for their faith. (JHD Calculation)
Body of Pope John Paul II lying in state
CTV.ca News Staff
The body of Pope John Paul II has been laid in view of the world as the Vatican enters nine days of mourning and begins preparations for his funeral.
The 84-year-old pontiff died Saturday evening in his Vatican apartment after an extended struggle with ill health, ending his 26-year reign as leader of the world's 1.1 billion Catholics.
The announcement came shortly before 10 p.m. local time, as some 40,000 people kept vigil in St. Peter's cobblestoned square.
The Pope's body has now been moved to the Vatican's Apostolic Palace for viewing by officials of the Roman Curia and the diplomatic corps.
Vatican television broadcast images of the pontiff lying in state in the Palace's Clementine Hall, with two Swiss Guards keeping watch on either side of the body.
His body is clad in crimson vestments and his head is covered with a white bishop's miter, his bishop's staff under his arm.
The Vatican has released the death certificate signed by the pontiff's personal doctor. It certified that the cause of death was septic shock -- blood poisoning -- and "irreversible cardio-circulatory collapse."
John Paul had been seriously ill with septic shock since Thursday following a urinary tract infection. He had also grown weak recently from bouts of breathing difficulties, Parkinson's disease and an enlarged prostate gland.
A special open-air Requiem Mass was held Sunday morning outside St. Peter's Basilica for the repose of John Paul's soul.
The mass began with a solemn parade of the College of Cardinals down the steps of the basilica as a choir sang. Many worshippers wept, while others waved Polish flags or held up pictures of the now-deceased leader of their church.
The Vatican secretary of state and the No. 2 Vatican official, Cardinal Angelo Sodano, presided over the mass and read from text that the Pope himself had prepared for the Sunday after Easter.
"It is love which converts hearts and gives peace," the text read, John Paul's words resonating through the square.
"To all humanity, which today seems so lost and dominated by the power of evil, selfishness and fear, our resurrected Lord gives us his love which forgives, reconciles and reopens the soul to hope," his message read.
The crowd burst into applause as the Pope's portrait was shown on giant screens erected around the square while the message was read.
Funeral later this week
On Monday, the Pope's body will be transferred to St. Peter's Basilica for public viewing. It will remain there for three days, during which time hundreds of thousands are expected to file past to pay homage.
Since under the Order of Service for the Burial of the Roman Pontiff, the Pope's burial must take place no sooner than four days and no later than six days after his death, a funeral is expected sometime between Wednesday and Friday.
More than 200 foreign leaders, including Prime Minister Paul Martin, are expected, along with countless of faithful Roman Catholics who will converge on St. Peter's Square for the funeral mass.
The General Congregation of the Cardinals will gather on Monday to finalize the funeral details requested by the Pope himself.
As Italy begins three days of official mourning, the city of Rome is preparing to accommodate what is expected to be one of the greatest influxes of pilgrims in this city's memory. Officials are putting out extra trains, arranging security and ensuring plenty of fresh water supplies.
After the death of John Paul I in 1978, who reigned for less than two months, an estimated 750,000 mourners filed past the body during three days. Many more are expected to say good-bye to John Paul II.
Some Vatican observers are raising the question of where the Pope will be buried.
Traditionally, popes are laid to rest in the crypt deep beneath the high altar in St. Peter's Basilica, where dozens of other popes have been laid to rest.
They are buried in a casket of cypress wood sealed inside a larger lead casket, which is then placed inside an elm coffin. In the crypt, the entire coffin is lowered into a marble sarcophagus and covered by a huge stone slab.
But many Poles would like to see the Pope buried either at Wawel Cathedral which overlooks Krakow where the Pope was once a cardinal, or in his hometown of Wadowice. Vatican affairs correspondent Gerry O'Connell says he thinks that's unlikely.
"I think there is no doubt about it: He will be buried in St. Peter's Basilica," he told CTV Newsnet.
"The chief cardinal in Poland in an interview 10 days ago with an Argentine paper said that the Pope would be buried in St. Peter's and that is the information I have also had from Polish sources in the Vatican. So I think there is no doubt."
The Pope, of course, turned 80 on the year of the Jubilee...
A comment now - yep, a genuine one; lol - from the luminous blog's good and truest friend, Mary:
"I really appreciated your blog entry today, on the life and death of the Pope. You very clearly spelled out what he was, and what he was not. I thank you for that. Too many Christians (Catholics and Protestants alike) make the mistake of sometimes worshiping the person (not just speaking of the Pope), rather than the God who is working through that person. At the heart of it, the Pope is an ordinary human being, like all the rest of us, but someone whom God chose to use in a very public way. There are many more Christians the world over whom God is also using in powerful but not so visible ways. And the Pope is now with his maker, at rest and at peace."
And to pray for him NOW, Mary, is near absurd - for, as you say it so well, he is with his maker now - at rest and at peace indeed! He needs not our prayers now - we'd need his more likely! LOL
We are still on this hellish earth, that is no longer just God's Creation but also the devil's playground! He is out of here - he is better off than any one of us! The faithful pilgrims who were in Rome for the commemorative mass should have prayed and wept for the Pope two weeks ago - they can weep now, there is some loss here, evidently - but we really should only shed tears of joy for seeing one soul detach itself from this plane of existence as free of sin as humanly possible - in all likelihood...