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April 1, 2005
Godspeed, John Paul, From A Changed And Grateful World

With the life of our Pontiff, John Paul II, now being measured in hours, our prayers must continue for his soul and for the Body of Christ he leaves behind for new leadership. We mourn for our loss of the most charismatic and substantial leader the Roman Catholic Church has been blessed to have in at least a century. We also give thanks to the Lord for the privilege of having the leadership of such a giant when we needed him the most.

When John Paul II took over the Papacy in 1978, the first non-Italian Pope in more than four centuries, he came from a land that had suffered under the domination of two different kinds of tyrannies for over 40 years. The Communist oppression under which the new Pope had lived created a love of liberty and justice in the amazingly vital John Paul. He survived an assassin's bullet in what seemed to be a season of miracles; Ronald Reagan had barely survived a similar attack just weeks earlier. Both men would emerge as strong as ever, and together they would apply the pressures needed to destroy the communist nightmare of Eastern Europe and free millions who lived behind the Iron Curtain.

John Paul II commanded no armies and had no weapons on hand except for his love of God and compassion for humanity. Many disagree with the Pope's positions on the issues of the day, but no one can deny the essential goodness and humility that he exemplified. He did not distance himself from his flock, even when he became so ill and so disabled that we wondered if his calling would end his life. He loved his Church so much that he could not keep himself from celebrating Mass on his regular schedule until finally his health simply would not permit it.

John Paul II left us a number of books and encyclicals that defined and focused Catholics on their faith and their responsibilities for the world. His words and his example set the bar high, as it should be for the followers of Christ, but he always reminded us that God's love would give us the strength to meet those challenges. In his final weeks, he became the living example of that belief.

Please join me in prayers of mourning for our sake, and prayers of thanksgiving for the grace of God in allowing us twenty-six years of John Paul II's remarkable leadership.

Be not afraid,
I go before you always,
Come follow me ...
and I will give you rest.

The Anchoress is live-blogging events at her site. I will update this as events dictate.

Sphere It Digg! View blog reactions
Posted by Ed Morrissey at April 1, 2005 4:43 PM

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» Reagan, Solzhenitsyn and John Paul II from Ed
Glenn's already linked to it, so you've already read it, but as the Pope lies ailing near death, I think this post by Hugh Hewitt does an excellent job of placing John Paul II into the context of 20th century... [Read More]

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The Pope is nearing Eternal Rest, according to My Way News. A brief history of his 26-year papacy is here. Appropriate prayers are here. Others blogging: Michelle Malkin, The Anchoress, Captain's Quarters. [Read More]

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Tracked on April 2, 2005 7:55 AM

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