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The Ramblings of a Damaged Mind
You know...
I ran away from the Roman Catholic church when I was around 12, in 5th grade. That's when I really realized I Just Didn't Buy It, and I started going my own way. I was in RC school through 6th grade, but in the end I was just going through the motions and had actively started challenging the instructors with evolution and the like. Since then I have had pretty much no use for religion in my life. I suppose I'm agnostic - but apathetic is more like it. I don't know, and I don't care, if there is a god or gods. I believe in the power of will and of self, in personal responsibility, logic, science, and technology.

But, with all that, the news of John Paul II's impending death saddens me. While I really don't respect the office - I respect the man. Sure, I violently disagree with him on many things - like abstinence instead of condoms, reproductive rights in general, etc - but I admire what he's done, the background he came from, and the apparent strength of his convictions and his will. And, for me, he's basically *always* been 'the Pope'. I vaguely remember when he was elected in 1978 - I was 7. I remember the process, the colored smoke signaling the election, etc. But I don't remember jack about the man he replaced. So for me when someone says 'The Pope' I have always pictured JP2. Any my adopted family is Polish - Bikowicz - and my paternal grandmother, great-grandmother, great-aunts, etc, were pretty much all very religious. There was/is a Polish community in Schenectady, and they attended a RC church with a Polish priest - who's also been there forever it seems. They had pictures of JP2 hanging in their homes - he was an important figure to them not just because he was Pope - but he was a Pole. They seemed to have a kind of patriotic pride in a fellow Pole holding such a position. I suppose some of that probably rubbed off on me - despite my, genetically, not being Polish. :-)

While I disagree with some of his views, and I can't stomach the church's dogma, to me he is, in the end, a great man. His death will leave a void in the world, he's always striven for the betterment of people everywhere - for peace, for freedom, for decency. He's set a very high watermark - I have the feeling that, no matter who replaces him, they'll seem lesser because of the man they follow. (Bad brain - do not compare that to Jay Leno replacing Johnny Carson...) JP2 has always seemed like a genuinely good, caring man. In some way, I'll really miss him.

I am: sad sad
Current Media: quiet office

wednes From: wednes Date: April 2nd, 2005 05:45 am (UTC) (Direct Link)
I know what you mean. I certainly don't follow the precepts of Catholicism, but I respect many things about this man. It was very brave of him to finally ask parents not to disown thier gay children...and this could have been a huge step forward for the church. Even though the church has not eased up on it's rather archaic position on homosexuality, I commend The Pontiff for speaking out on this issue.
z_gryphon From: z_gryphon Date: April 2nd, 2005 05:57 am (UTC) (Direct Link)
I've never been Catholic or anything like it, and I also have an odd admiration for this pope - if only for what he did for Poland, even before he became pope. The Soviet puppet government of Cold War Poland was afraid of Karol Wojtyla, and terrified when he became pope - and for good reason. Say what you will about his or any organized religion, his moral authority over the vast Catholic majority in Poland eventually broke the back of the Communist government there.

For that alone, I would have to salute him.
zonereyrie From: zonereyrie Date: April 2nd, 2005 06:11 am (UTC) (Direct Link)
He is certainly a man of firm convictions and strong will. Not many people would openly stand against a regime like that - and fewer still would have the ability to make it stick.
From: vibratorlover Date: April 2nd, 2005 11:34 am (UTC) (Direct Link)
I agree with everything you said. Although I am Italian and have been born and raised as a Catholic, with the age of reason I started taking distance from many things the Church and John Paul II said. But the man Karol was amazing. He had a humanity about him that I have only seen (in footage, because I wasn't born back then) in John XXIII. He was a great communicator, opening up to all people of all ages and all religions. He recognized the Church's mistakes in history and apologized. There are actually Muslims and Jews praying for him right now. Young people love him, they have always seen him as a Grandad. And I can't get an image off my mind: an African refugee hugging him, not letting him go, and he kissing her forehead. Something which had never been conceivable until then: the Pope could not be touched.
Whoever will come after him will have to face a tough legacy.
I will miss him.
chiieddy From: chiieddy Date: April 2nd, 2005 02:13 pm (UTC) (Direct Link)
I believe whether or not you agree with someone's dogma or religion has nothing to do with the fact they are a good person and lived their lives well. The man who is currently the Pope lived a full life and lived it according to his beliefs. I respect that, and as such, I respect the man, despite not agreeing with his religious dogma.

Of course, having grown up Jewish, it's hard to believe a Christian dogma at all, much less that of the Roman Catholic church. :)
From: ninjarat Date: April 2nd, 2005 08:27 pm (UTC) (Direct Link)
xinie From: xinie Date: April 3rd, 2005 12:25 am (UTC) (Direct Link)
Subscribe. I even dug out a rosary yesterday, so that I could give him a shout-out in his style.