15 April 2005

Pope John Paul II taught the world that everyone is entitled to the secret of life. His death highlighted his abundant life and how he made a major difference. In facing racist Nazism and totalitarian communism, he helped rejuvenate our Planet Earth. His prophetic assumption of the papacy was an instrument of the winds of change. Aspirations of millions of people could no more be restricted by rigid systems of police states. "Do not be Afraid," he repeated everywhere. "Do not be Afraid." Through unflinching commitment to human dignity, he led by credible example -- a new light in old Europe, a new vision in a changing world. Every human reflects the face of God. No one should be abandoned to injustice. He forgave his own assassin. Let us forgive those who trespass against us, yet equally, stand together in the face of those who trespass on the downtrodden and marginalized. Having worked in a quarry and lost his youth to military occupation, he had a special affection for workers and a special charisma with the young. He mobilized youth, the vanguard of our dawn, to be a force of peace and harmony, not a tool of destruction. His dialogue with Jewish, Moslem and Orthodox communities was a witness not only to his openness but to his spiritual foresight. He strived to open hearts, open borders, open political systems, open opportunities; open the gates of hope to human dignity. Together we can pick up the bricks of the fallen walls of fear in order to build a unified dignified future for all. His public personal suffering as he approached death is not just an act of personal courage; it is a determination to instruct us how to rise above pain and believe in the sanctity of life. Despite his death, his relevance will remain with us in impact and example. Through him we recognize the profound mystery of faith.