Page 1311 - Week 05 - Tuesday, 5 April 2005

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the greater struggle for the souls of the 20th century, was in no danger of forgetting the responsibilities of oppression, the realities of evil in the world. He was of a generation, particularly in his homeland, in no danger of giving in to the temptation to which many of us in the West are subject—the temptation to believe that all our problems will be solved and that the church itself may be made irrelevant by technology or by progress. This is certainly not the case.

Nevertheless, John Paul II remained true to the church and true to the understanding that no part of the church had been untouched by the changes of the 20th century, particularly those following the Second Vatican Council, and no part untouched by the hand of the man who had the stewardship of the church in these most troubling times where Catholics struggled to come to terms with the implications of change.

It is too soon to tell how well this endeavour has succeeded. But we know the effort that this has cost and we cannot be but grateful that the church had such a wise head, such a strong pair of shoulders and such a great heart to steer her through one of the greatest periods of change, perhaps the greatest trial in her history so far.

For all that, the thing we must pay tribute to John Paul II for, as Mr Seselja called it and as it has been called often in the past few days, is John Paul II’s commitment to the dignity of life. Mr Seselja called it his culture of life. Again, to quote from Father Sirico:

To John Paul it made no difference if the human life in need of protection and affirmation was in the womb or a hospital ward, in a bean field or in a board room.

Every part of the apostate of John Paul II was about upholding life and the dignity of life. It was most completely explained in one of those turgid documents, those difficult documents, Evengelium vitae which has been, especially for Catholic politicians, a great model for what we should attain and strive for in our vocation as politicians, people called to public life.

The whole life of John Paul II was, in fact, a sermon on life, as the Archbishop of Canterbury said so eloquently yesterday. In particular, his passing was a sermon on life. The dignity, the openness that we saw in dealing with the death of John Paul II, should be a lesson to us all. Death comes to us all; death is an essential part of our life. It should be approached with dignity, with love and compassion and with openness and honesty.

In concluding my remarks, I think that last lesson that he taught us taught us most about our human frailty. I conclude by saying, “John Paul II, requiescat in pace.”

MR QUINLAN (Molonglo—Treasurer, Minister for Economic Development and Business, Minister for Tourism, Minister for Sport and Recreation, and Minister for Racing and Gaming): Just very briefly, Mr Speaker, let me say that I was born into a Catholic family and sent off to Catholic schools and I did have some of that veneration for the pope drummed into me to some extent by the nuns of the 1940s.

I am no longer a Catholic, I have to say, but I remember those days. The pope that we learned about was a very, very remote figure. Although, as I said I am no longer a Catholic, I have to say this pope was not a remote figure and this pope was able to communicate his genuine concern to people by his willingness to travel, by his

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