Friday, April 08, 2005
Karol Wojtyla in 1945
John Paul the Great
Reminiscences and Reflections
By Michael Novak
"As our great Pope is buried, I feel sorry for the Polish people most of all--sorry, and joyous with them. Today, my telephone correspondents in Poland tell me, they feel like orphans. Papa Wojtyla has been such a Protector to them, such a shelter, such a tower of strength at their side and at their rear and in their forefront. Someone told me during the week my father died that losing a father is like having a big tree on the edge of the forest come down, and feeling the wind upon one’s own face. The Poles feel like that today. So do we all...
"The Catholic Church has grown by about 45 percent since John Paul II became Pope, growing 160 percent in Africa, and nearly doubling in size in Asia. Moreover, the Catholic groups, religious orders, and individual dioceses that model themselves most closely on his vision of a confident, unafraid Christian humanism of the future are growing rapidly in numbers and high morale.
The most important thing John Paul II gave both to the world (including, but not limited to, the political world) and also to the Church is new confidence in our own capacities, especially our capacities for self-government, for liberty and responsibility, and for making human life better and more worthy of human possibilities and higher standards. It is not a small thing, to teach people: 'Be not afraid.'
Pope John Paul II pointed the way to a new civilization of love. Real, serious, self-sacrificing, other-centered, unselfish love. The kind he showed, right to his final day. Adieu, our dear, dear friend! Our greatest inspiration in a very long time. 'Praised be Jesus Christ!' as you would have said yourself."