April 07, 2005

Karol Wojtyla, 1920-2005

The Church of England Newspaper

By Paul Richardson Number: 5763 Date: April 8,

On the one occasion I met John Paul II I was surprised by his warmth and affability. Instead of an austere, authoritarian figure, here was a friendly, approachable priest speaking English in a jocular manner with a thick accent and fixing me with powerful, inquiring eyes.

Wojtyla’s background made a unique figure in the history of the papacy. He was the first non-Italian Pope for hundreds of years and he came to the chair of Peter with the experience of both manual labour and stage acting, knowing at first-hand what it was like to live first under both Nazi occupation and communism. ...

John Paul leaves an impressive legacy of Catholic social teaching. But demands for reform in the Church are growing, fueled by the scandal of clerical sexual abuse, and vocations remain in short supply. John Paul II was one of the great Popes of history. He hands on to his successor much on which the new Pope can build but he also bequeaths him difficult problems that are still to be resolved.

Posted by kshaw at April 7, 2005 03:36 PM