Farewell, John Paul

I haven’t read the book, but I’ve heard that in his novel Angels and Demons, Dan Brown (author of The Da Vinci Code) imagined the world largely ignoring the passing of the Pope. He was wrong. Very wrong. In fact, he couldn’t have been more wrong.

Millions—no one knows exactly how many—flocked to Rome to say farewell this week. Mourners included not only Catholics of every nation, but thousands of Protestants, Jews, Buddhists, and Muslims. The heads of state of Iran, the United States, Israel, and Syria sat close together, and the latter two shook hands and renewed their commitment to peacefully resolve their differences.

Why have so many people been affected, including hundreds of millions of non-Catholics and non-Christians? Because he spoke to our most pressing needs—freedom, peace, and holiness. Yes, many of us felt he was not speaking to other important needs, but seldom has mankind ever been graced by a more fierce and dedicated champion of freedom, peace, and holiness, and none greater in the age when nuclear annihilation threatened to destroy the world, and materialism to destroy the soul.

Peggy Noonan has written a most illuminating account of how the Pope’s visit to Poland in 1979 precipated the collapse of the entire Iron Curtain. Read “We Want God“.

Blessed are the peacemakers. They shall be called the children of God.