April 4, 2005

Remembering John Paul II

Posted by Mary Madigan

"I will never forget [the Pope's] words about Europe. 'Europe,' he said, 'must breathe with both its lungs.' "
"I mourn his loss," Gorbachev said. "We knew it was coming to this. What can I say -- it must have been the will of God. He acted really courageously."

- Former Soviet Union leader Mikhail Gorbachev

"I feel strongly that my brother is in deep grief. We're all very sad, [the Pope] was a great man who contributed a lot to world peace."

- Adnan Agca, brother of Mehmet Ali Agca, the Turkish gunman who seriously wounded the pope during a 1981 assassination attempt

No obituary about John Paul II, for example, will omit to mention that he exerted enormous force to change the politics of Poland. Well, good for him, I would say. (He behaved much better on that occasion than he did when welcoming Tariq Aziz, one of Saddam Hussein's most blood-spattered henchmen, to an audience at the Vatican and then for a private visit to Assisi.) But let nobody confuse the undermining of a Stalinist bureaucracy in a majority Catholic nation with the insidious attempt to thwart or bend the law in a secular democracy. And let nobody say that this is no problem.

- Writer Christopher Hitchens

Despite President Bush’s typically unfortunate use of the word "crusade" after 9/11, American policy became notably more sensitive toward Islam. The pope meanwhile made a point of apologizing to the Muslim world for the original Crusades. Shortly after 9/11, John Paul called a day of prayer for peace at the shrine of St. Francis of Assisi which was attended by Muslim and Jewish religious leaders as well as representatives from Christian groups. His simple, somber message was that war and violence solved nothing and that nations would only advance through peace and brotherhood.

- Arab News Editorial

"Pope John Paul had defended the oppressed. We hope this remains the position of the Catholic Church towards our people and our cause and that it will guide its followers to defend the rights of the Palestinian people in confronting the continuous Zionist aggression aimed at Muslims and Christians in their holy land,"

- Hamas

[John Paul was] "a friend of the Jewish people..one of the most important leaders of our generation."

- Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon

[John Paul was] "a great religious figure who devoted his life to defending the values of peace, freedom, justice and equality for all races and religions, as well as our people's right to independence."

- Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas

"He meant nothing to me. He was not even as important as a hair on my head"

- Rahman al-Mashari, a 45-year-old engineer from Saudi Arabia, the “birthplace of Islam”

Karol Wojtyla is a saint who made true the meaning of a savior who came to Earth because he loved man. I only saw him once as he whizzed by on his "popemobile" in 1982 as he came to console Argentines over the Falklands War. He was a shining presence. An incredible man who was everywhere at all times. We'll never see the likes of him again. May he bless us from heaven.

- Lorraine Smith Buenos Aires, Argentina

Posted by Mary Madigan at April 4, 2005 8:52 AM

Winner, The 2007 Weblog Awards, Best Middle East or Africa Blog

Pajamas Media BlogRoll Member


"I'm flattered such an excellent writer links to my stuff"
Johann Hari
Author of God Save the Queen?

Andrew Sullivan
Author of Virtually Normal

"Brisk, bracing, sharp and thoughtful"
James Lileks
Author of The Gallery of Regrettable Food

"A hard-headed liberal who thinks and writes superbly"
Roger L. Simon
Author of Director's Cut

"Lively, vivid, and smart"
James Howard Kunstler
Author of The Geography of Nowhere

Contact Me

Send email to michaeltotten001 at gmail dot com

News Feeds


Link to Michael J. Totten with the logo button


Tip Jar


Terror and Liberalism
Paul Berman, The American Prospect

The Men Who Would Be Orwell
Ron Rosenbaum, The New York Observer

Looking the World in the Eye
Robert D. Kaplan, The Atlantic Monthly

In the Eigth Circle of Thieves
E.L. Doctorow, The Nation

Against Rationalization
Christopher Hitchens, The Nation

The Wall
Yossi Klein Halevi, The New Republic

Jihad Versus McWorld
Benjamin Barber, The Atlantic Monthly

The Sunshine Warrior
Bill Keller, The New York Times Magazine

Power and Weakness
Robert Kagan, Policy Review

The Coming Anarchy
Robert D. Kaplan, The Atlantic Monthly

England Your England
George Orwell, The Lion and the Unicorn