Page 1302 - Week 05 - Tuesday, 5 April 2005

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mentioned a number of people. Mother Teresa, who died recently, was certainly one who had a positive impact.

The pope has had a huge and positive impact on the world, not only for what he has done in the course of his religious duties—bringing together other faiths as well and getting over a number of centuries-old problems between the church and the Jewish religion, for example, and to an extent the Muslim religion—but also what he has done for freedom and for humankind in this world.

Few people, if any, could have done what the pope did to inspire the nations of Eastern Europe to get rid of communism. He leaves huge shoes to fill. Farewell, thou great, good and faithful servant. Thank you for all you have done for the world and, in your native tongue, “dziekujc bardzo”.

MR MULCAHY (Molonglo): His Holiness Pope John Paul II brought the human face of the Vatican to people of every culture and in every part of the world. Indeed it is remarkable to think that an entire generation of the world’s population have known no other pope.

Over the decades, John Paul II devoted much of his energy to challenging the world’s political powerbrokers with his vision of morality and social justice. He was not content with tending to church affairs; the world’s business was made his business, with particular importance placed on human rights.

You will recall that he was elected pope in 1978 after the sudden death of Pope John Paul I after just 34 days in office. He had a unique background from which to deal with the problems of the church and an unparalleled understanding of the workings of both the communist regimes and the systems of government in the western world at large.

It has been noted that the world will not see his like again. Not only was Pope John Paul II a man uniquely shaped by the 20th century but he also uniquely shaped the affairs of the 20th century. I am sure the new term already being quoted, referring to him as “the great” will end up being the term that the history books embrace for the extraordinary effects he has had on world affairs. Time magazine noted, in naming him man of the year in 1994, that he generated an electricity unmatched by anyone else on earth.

As has been mentioned, he was the most travelled pope in history, and he spoke eight languages. He reached out to religions like no other pontiff. John Paul II was the third-longest serving pope and the first to enter a synagogue or a mosque. He canonised more saints than all his predecessors combined, and put many more on the road to sainthood through beatification.

Having grown up living through the holocaust in Poland, he lost many friends because they were Jewish. The impact this had on his life is evident in the role he played in toppling the communist regimes in Eastern Europe. As Mr Stefaniak pointed out, he avoided deportation and imprisonment by the German occupiers in 1940 by working as a stonecutter in a quarry in Cracow by day whilst completing his university studies underground by night.

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