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Pope John Paul II's life, death, & funeral

A Sampling of Responses
by North Americans

Sponsored link. invited visitors to its news web site to send a brief note sharing their views on the death of the pope. They received thousands of responses. A few from the U.S., Canada and Bermuda are listed below, along with two letters to the editor of the Toronto Star. Some entries have been edited.

North American Emails received by CNN:

bullet As a non-Catholic, I have deep admiration for Pope John Paul II. He was a "humble giant" who reached out to all people of all faiths. He was a champion of peace, a symbolic gesture of good will and his legacy will redefine the Catholic church for years to come. His death has brought a level of sadness unknown to me before. I only hope and pray that his successor continues to make efforts to reach out to all of humanity. Phil Harris; Fort Washington, MD
bullet John Paul II was the embodiment of the Vicar of Christ. He answered only to Jesus. He was not swayed by public opinion or the opinion of world leaders. He stood for truth at all times. His consistent stand for life included the unborn, starving children, workers, families, students, the elderly, the infirm and even condemned prisoners. Truth does not vary over time, neither did John Paul's moral teaching. He was an inspiration to all. As a Polish-American I lost not only my Holy Father but a fellow Pole as well. John Paul II acted with the Lord to free Europe from Soviet enslavement yet that is not his greatest achievement. His example of what one man can do with faith in Jesus is his lasting gift to humanity.
Mark Stepien; Dearborn Heights, MI
bullet Although I am not a Catholic I was deeply moved by the tributes and remembrances that were given for the pope. Rarely do you find religious leaders who are truly of their faith and not their finances. The pope was a great leader and man. All religious leaders should pattern themselves behind him. Rose; Asbury Park, NJ
bullet It is with a heavy heart that I bid farewell to the leader of my faith, and the most inspirational man of my time. Pope John Paul II was a man of peace and love. Let his message and teachings not be in vain, let us continue to work on his mission of acquiring world peace. God Bless, may you rest in eternal peace. Tammy Dixon; Scarborough, ON, Canada
bullet I am not Catholic but I am truly saddened by the passing of Pope John Paul II. He was a beautiful, caring and loving man. The fact that so many millions around the world are mourning him, that alone tells of the impact that he had on so many lives. It will be hard to fill his shoes. Goodnight Sir. Sonya Kidd; Niagara Falls, ON, Canada
bullet Pope John Paul II was the constant force of good in my adult life. He helped me to grow closer to my adopted church, and learn more about what it means to be a servant of God. He showed that it is possible to stand for what is right, even when it's not popular, and even dangerous. He was beyond anything I could have imagined a pope would be when he took office. He not only had the charisma that everyone is talking about now, but also he had immense courage and vision. There may be other good, even great popes, but there will never be another like him. Peggy Wickham; Raleigh, NC
bullet I am Catholic. I have drifted away from the church because of profound disagreements with some of the it's positions, but today I grieve. I grieve deeply for a brother of the human family. The world has lost a champion against injustice, who preached about the power of love and compassion and brought us hope. Kees van Beelen; Pembroke, Bermuda
bullet Its hard not to have great respect for anyone who stays with their beliefs for over 80 years of life. The world needs more charismatic people who stand up for morality. With that kind of marketing there is a little less suffering in the world. Hopefully the next pope will be just as outgoing to fight against hunger, poverty, war, and overall human suffering. Christine Dumouchelle; Atlanta, GA
bullet I was not even 2 years old when I met Pope John Paul II. I am from Newfoundland and the Pope had a Mass in a large field in St. John's. People had to be invited to receive Eucharist from the pope and my parents were invited because of their work with our church. As my father walked up to receive the Eucharist, I was in his arms and as the Pope gave my father Eucharist, he saw me and touched my face. Although I do not remember this, to know I was touched by this great man makes me feel special. He was an incredible man and our faith, and the world, has lost a great leader. Daniel Furey; St. John's, NF, Canada
bullet I'm not a Catholic. To be candid, I'm not a religious person even remotely. And yet when I see this person, the Pope John Paul II, I've but an abiding respect and admiration for what he did for all of us and what he stood for. His parting gift to the world now, it seems, is a legacy the Catholic governance at the Vatican would find difficult to ignore now that the world has tasted the finest that a Pope can deliver and stand for. Saumen Sengupta; Utica, NY
bullet A saint has passed among us! Yet, I will echo a California man's regret that this great but conservative pope missed the opportunity to modernize the Catholic religion. J.P. II had the unique charisma & respected authority to accede women to priesthood & administrative command positions. May his successor pick up that task! Fred J. Gauthier; Miami, FL
bullet His face in death did show the pain he went through, sacrificing and suffering in full acceptance, in total obedience to God's will. He might have, in his wisdom and in his beautiful heart wanted to show us that we too mortals can also choose to nobly embrace death, in humble reflection of our Christ's chalice of agony. Farewell and Godspeed our most beloved holy father Pope John Paul II! We know in our hearts that we have one more saint in heaven who will pray and intercede for us. Celia Rivera; Dallas, TX

Two letters to the editor of the Toronto Star, 2005-APR-11:

bullet The " photograph of the pope's funeral...speaks volumes about the contradictions within the Catholic church. The photo reveals the pope's humble wooden coffin surrounded by all the pomp and ceremony of Catholic hierarchy. Circling the pope are the cardinals in their rich red silk and satin regalia. In the circle's next layer are the world's political elite in proper formal attire. The entire circle is very tight indeed and is almost completely made up of older men. Not one female is in the inner circle and very few are present among the outer circle of world leaders. There are no poor circling the pope, no children, no youth and very few visible minorities. The pope's circle is one of prestige, power, pomp and privilege. As a Christian woman, I wonder what any of this has to do with the gospel of Jesus Christ that preaches about walking humbly with God, seeking justice for all people and about discerning God's will through the voices of the poor, the disadvantaged, the children and through our connectedness with all people and all of creation"  Joanne Clarke, Toronto, ON.
bullet "...will the new pope have the courage to insist on moving the church away from showy opulence and toward a much more humble presence in line with the teachings of Jesus which the church claims as its reason for being." John B. Ross, Toronto, ON.

References used:

bullet "Pope John Paul II: Your e-mails: North America," 2005-APR-03,, at:
bullet "Pope's funeral: Where is connection? Photo shows simple wooden coffin surrounded by Catholic hierarchy and the world's political elite," The Toronto Star, 2005-APR-11, Page A15.

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Copyright is held by the various contributors to CNN and the Toronto Star
Originally posted: 2005-APR-04
Latest update: 2009-JUL-05

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