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In Memoriam: Pope John Paul II

Heavenly Father, we thank you for the life and witness of John Paul II.

May the saints of God come to his aid –

the angels of the Lord carry him to Heaven.

May his soul – and the souls of all the faithful departed

through the mercy of God,

rest in peace.



Video Tribute to Pope John Paul II



What Church Leaders Said About the Pope:


"In the Holy Year of 2000, the Holy Father called for all to 'Open Wide the Doors to Christ,' to follow Christ not out of obligation but out of love. Pope John Paul II's life mirrored this call as each day he opened himself to being an instrument of unapologetic truth on moral and ethical issues facing our culture. I pray that the Lord will grant grace upon grace to his faithful servant and will welcome him into the eternal light and peace of God’s heavenly kingdom." - Archbishop Sean O'Malley of Boston

"He carried the Gospel into all corners of the world, proclaiming the dignity of every human being, the rights of the poor, and the evils of war 'in season and out of season.' In brief, he was a most worthy successor of the humble fisherman of Galilee upon whom the Lord built his Church." - Cardinal Edward Egan, Archbishop of New York

"Moral authority comes from office, but also from character. Karol Wojtyla was a survivor of Nazi-occupied Poland and its Communist successor government. He was a sportsman, an actor, a philosopher, and a poet. All of that captured people's imagination in a novel way, and he used all that he was to direct attention beyond himself to the One whose vicar he had become. In the past few years, he drew attention to Christ through his public fortitude in his sufferings, which conformed him personally ever more closely to Christ." -  Cardinal Francis George, Archbishop of Chicago

"Pope John Paul II embodied the greatest qualities of the Second Vatican Council: a deep fidelity to Jesus Christ and his Gospel; profound confidence and joy in the Catholic faith; an openness to the good in the world; fraternal love for other Christians and the Jewish people; and a respect for all persons of good will. He knew personal suffering throughout his life. He experienced the cost of war, genocide and political oppression firsthand. These things never dented his faith. They did the opposite. They led him more deeply into the heart of God. He radiated hope in an age with so little of it. He was a true disciple of Jesus Christ; and in his love and service, he invited us to be the same, and ennobled us by his example. Karol Wojtyla will be sorely missed for a very long time. In every sense, he was truly 'John Paul the Great'." - Archbishop Charles Chaput, Archbishop of Denver

"He had a presence that was larger than himself and I simply conclude that his will and the Lord's will were so close that the Lord could make his presence felt beyond the presence of the man.” - Bishop Eugene Gerber


"This remarkable man has been a consistent and credible champion of justice whose moral authority has been acknowledged by people of every nation and creed. As a man of peace he has called all people to respect the dignity of every human person as the only foundation for a new culture of life and civilization of love. For the young he has been a charismatic religious leader who challenged them never to accept mediocrity and not to be afraid to be disciples of Jesus." - Bishop Paul S. Coakley


"It was with deep sadness that I received the news of Pope John Paul II's passing. It was also with gratitude to God for the gift of the Holy Father. He will surely be remembered as the greatest spiritual leader of our time. His entire life was an example of how to live out our faith, how to give witness to the love of our Lord Jesus Christ. The Holy Father gave himself completely in service to Jesus and to the universal Church. In his final years, he suffered from many physical ailments but he never allowed those pains and problems to weigh down his spirit; his suffering was his final gift. He was an example to us all of the value of human life at every stage of existence." - Justin Cardinal Rigali, Archbishop of Philadelphia


"In a world disturbed by wars, fratricide and genocide the Pope was the center of the civilization of Love." - Angelo Cardinal Sodano, Former Vatican Secretary of State

"Through both word and example he taught the strength of faith, the power of prayer, the need to forgive, and the imperative of serving the poor and oppressed of the world. His teachings will continue to guide the Church in the years ahead in its mission of proclaiming the Reign of God." - Archbishop Brendan O'Brien, President of the Canadian bishops' conference

"He has been a genuine man of the spirit, a true priest. His example and teaching have encouraged orthodox Catholics everywhere to persevere. I personally can vouch for that. He has inspired thousands, perhaps tens of thousands, into the priesthood and religious life.

"Even in the West he has steadied the ship. If many were still resolved to be irresolute, solid only for drift, there has been no doubt about where he is heading. He has never lacked courage and courage is contagious. History will know him as John Paul the Great. He has earned that distinction." - George Cardinal Pell, Archbishop of Sydney

"We have lost a great leader of our modern world. John Paul II was an extraordinary man, one of the greatest popes in the Church's 2,000-year history. We will remember him for his tireless witness to hope, to freedom, and to the dignity of human life. We will remember him for his courage in reaching across the boundaries of race, religion and ideology; we will remember him for his energy, as well as for his courageous endurance of physical suffering right until the end.

"John Paul II was always conscious of the drama of human salvation; he reminded us, tirelessly, of our eternal destiny. He showed, in his own life, how human beings are at their greatest and most free when they are most obedient to God’s will. His was a light that burned most strongly wherever the darkness was deepest. The Church will miss him. The world will miss him. I will miss him. Remembering him we are reminded that he stood for something very profound. That the light of Christ was at its brightest when the darkness of the world seemed very deep. The church will miss him, the world will miss him and I will miss him. May Pope John Paul II rest in peace." -  Cormac Cardinal Murphy-O'Connor, head of the Roman Catholic Church in England and Wales 

"He was a man of our time, yet not afraid to challenge the culture and values of our age. He gave it reasons for living and reasons for hope. He was also ahead of our time in his message of global solidarity, his vision of a civilization of love among all the people and nations of the world, in his respect for the human person and, to the very moment of his death, in his powerful witness to the Gospel of life. He was in every sense a witness to hope and a champion of life.

"The deep sense of peace and serenity which accompanied him into death, was of course, rooted in his life of frequent prayer and contemplation, particularly his prayer before the blessed sacrament. His deep and intimate relationship with Christ was the source of his great calm and courage in the face of so many challenges, not least the physical challenges of his later years. He often repeated the words of Jesus, 'Do not be afraid.'" - Archbishop Sean Brady, Archbishop of Armagh and primate of All Ireland

"We ask everyone to gather themselves in prayer so that the Pope, who from the beginning of his pontificate invited us to open the doors to Christ, may now receive the embrace of Him, the Lord of life, who he announced in such an indefatigable way to all men and in every corner of the Earth. Our prayer becomes also an expression of gratitude to God, for the extraordinary gift he made to the Church and the world through the person and teachings of John Paul II." - Italian Bishops' Conference

"We all owe him deep gratitude for his faithful and unconditional dedication to the cause of the Gospel and to the mission received from Our Lord to confirm his brothers in the faith. His abnegated apostolic service became even more evident, if this were possible, in his suffering and sickness. Today, Catholics in the whole world, thanks to his ministry, feel stronger in our faith in Jesus Christ, more inspired by the hope of Glory and more decided in the charity that makes us sons of God and brothers to all men." - Spanish Bishops' Conference

"As the Servant of the servants of God, Pope John Paul II was a pope of universal vision in his teaching and in his pastoral outreach. He was a Pope for the globalizing world; he proclaimed the universal message of Christ as the source of true hope for humanity. His vision of human dignity -- rooted in the person of Jesus Christ, in whom God lived, suffered, died and rose from the dead -- was inextricably linked to the common good of all of humanity. Through this vision he sought to build bridges between peoples everywhere. He took particular pains to deepen ecumenical understanding between the Christian confessions, as well as to promote and strengthen interfaith relations." - Commission of the Bishops' Conferences of the European Community

"The bishops of Mexico feel along with the whole Church a profound sorrow for the death of the Holy Father. However, with faith we proclaim with joy the happy passing to God’s embrace. We are also thankful for the grace-filled treasure of this pastor, who from his first visit to our country, unleashed a process of pastoral dynamism that has enormously strengthened us." - Mexican Bishops' Conference

"The Church has lost a Father and a Shepherd and I have also lost a brother and a good friend." - Cardinal Jaime Sin, retired Archbishop of Manila, Philippines

The Pontiff was a "beloved father and kind-hearted pastor, a charismatic and dynamic leader, a champion for justice and human rights, the defender of the poor and the oppressed." - Archbishop Evarist Pinto, Archbishop of Karachi, Pakistan

"Farewell to a great and beloved world wide spiritual leader. To witness to the truth is the fundamental mission of the Church ... the Holy Father courageously preached the Gospel of life emphasizing the sacredness of marriage and the importance of family. He defended each human life from conception to its natural end. My feeling at this moment is one of deep gratitude and lofty praise to the Lord. He worked marvels through this Pope from far off Poland. Certainly one of his regrets was not having had the chance to visit China. ...

"Dear Holy Father, now that you are with the Father in heaven, bless your flock in China. May the suffering on your deathbed complete your prayers and obtain the grace that the Chinese people may one day know Jesus Christ and be converted to God." - Bishop Joseph Zen of Hong Kong

"This is a man who has carried the moral weight of the world for 26 years … turning himself into the only moral reference for humanity in recent years of wars and difficulties." - Jaime Cardinal Ortega, archbishop of Havana

"With great sadness we mourn the death of John Paul II, while we are profoundly grateful for the many results that the Lord our God has attained through his tireless efforts to bring people closer to God and one closer to the other." - Southern African Catholic bishops' conference

"In the office that Cardinal Wright was responsible for, one of the ‘board of directors,’ so to speak, was Cardinal Wojtyla from Krakow; that’s how we got to know the future John Paul the Second. When I was assigned to Pittsburgh and would go to Rome with some regularity for meetings, one of the hallmarks of meeting with him always was -- when he would see me, he would always say, ‘Pittsburgh!’ It had become synonymous with my name.” - Bishop Donald Wuerl, Diocese of Pittsburgh


"The Holy Father has given us a powerful and poignant example of how to live in the midst of personal suffering and diminishment. The pope is giving witness to the dignity and sanctity of human life, which he has championed his entire papacy."  - Bishop John F. Kinney


 "Young and old alike have drawn inspiration from Pope John Paul. As a parish priest and young bishop, he understood the importance of the young as a source of vibrancy and renewal in the Church. He carried that understanding into his papacy by establishing and attending World Youth Day celebrations, which provoked a tremendous outpouring of enthusiasm among the young. The elderly and infirm have been inspired by his indefatigable perseverance as his own physical limitations mounted. Pope John Paul's love for the Church did not diminish his respect for other religious traditions. With his outreach to the leaders of the world's religions, he underscored the role of religion in serving world peace." -  Bishop William S. Skylstad


"This was an extraordinary man. He was brilliant. If he had never become pope, Karol Wojtyla would have gone down, I think, as one of the major Catholic philosophers of the 20th century. ... I think that he was a strong leader, he was a brilliant guide, but more than anything else, I think, he was a man who loved people. And people understood that and people reacted to that." -  Theodore Cardinal McCarrick


"He took a very personal interest in the people bishops were representing... "  - Archbishop Francis Carroll


"In short, he was the most significant leader of our times. I'd say he was the man of the century, and at some time in the future, may he get another title, Pope John Paul the Great."  - Bishop Edward U. Kmiec


"He has been in our towns. He has driven in our streets. He has been with us and our people." — Bishop Joseph A. Galante


" ... On Saturday April 2, we arrived at St. Peter's Square at about 11:30 pm. The entire Via della Concliiazione which leads into the square was a mass of humanity. People were covering the square, some kneeling, other sitting wrapped in blankets, others walking or staring at the windows of the papal apartments, which looked the same as last night... but the Pope is no longer there, only his body.
A prayer service began shortly after midnight. The Scripture readings were taken from the Feast of Divine Mercy, which is celebrated on the Sunday after Easter and was made a feast day by John Paul II, taking his inspiration from Saint Faustina Kowalska, a nun who lived in Krakow and died in 1937. The double coincidence that the Pope has died on a First Saturday and on the vigil of the Feast of Divine Mercy which he instituted is truly remarkable. I take it as a sign that the Lord has chosen the exact moment when he wanted to take John Paul II to himself.
At one point in the prayer service, one of the bishops who was speaking asked everyone to lift a round of applause up to the heavens. The entire piazza began clapping, and sustained this applause vigorously for almost ten minutes. It was quite remarkable. Towards the end of the applause, some young people began the favorite chant, "Giovanni Paolo!" and soon the entire square was calling out the name of our beloved father. The crowd then joined together in singing the Our Father in Italian. The prayer service concluded with the singing of the "Salve Regina" in Latin, an ancient hymn to Mary asking that "after this our exile" she will "show unto us the blessed fruit of thy womb Jesus." A prayer that I know on this night has been answered for John Paul II. A light shone on the icon of Mary and the Christ child which John Paul himself put in the square after the assassination attempt in 1981.
About a block from St Peter's Square, all-night adoration of the Blessed Sacrament is being held at the Church of the Holy Spirit, which was dedicated by John Paul as the Sanctuary of Divine Mercy in Rome ten years ago on this feast day, Divine Mercy Sunday 1995. I attended part of a Mass there which was jammed with people. At the moment of the customary prayer for the pope during the Eucharistic prayer of the Mass, there was only a prayer for the bishops of the church and no mention of the pope...because there is no pope. Also at the time of the prayers for the dead, the priest prayed "for our brother John baptism he died with Christ, may he also share his resurrection." That moment made things hit home for me...." -
Father Peter Mitchell, a priest in Rome


"Throughout his life, Pope John Paul II responded with compassion to the problems of the world, and inspired us with his dedication to the people we serve -- the poor, the hungry, the displaced and all those who cry out for justice and an end to suffering. His words grace the walls of museums and slums alike, inspiring both the wealthy and poor with his message of hope." - Caritas Internationalis



What Leaders of Other Faiths Said About the Pope:


"No Pope did more for the Jews." - Rabbi Marvin Hier, founder of the Simon Wiesenthal Center in Los Angeles

"Pope John Paul II was a man I held in high regard. His experience in Poland, then a communist country, and my own difficulties with communists gave us a common ground." - The Dalai Lama


"We will lovingly remember his historic visits to the Great Synagogue in Rome, a concentration camp in Auschwitz (Poland) and the Western Wall in Jerusalem, as he stood with us in spiritual solidarity. Declaring anti-Semitism a sin against God and humanity, the Pope repeatedly reminded the world that we could never again remain silent while people perish because of their race or religion." -
New York Board of Rabbis

"I think in these past few days, we've seen an extraordinary 'lived sermon' for Eastertide, about facing death with honesty and courage; facing death in the hope of a relationship which is not broken by death but continues beyond it. Pope John Paul showed his character in the way in which he met his death; clearly frustrated, clearly suffering, and yet at every point accepting; facing his frailties and remaining courageous and hopeful. I feel there's a certain appropriateness about the fact that he died within the Easter season -- a time of the Church's year which meant so much to him. It has been a season in which he was able to give a message to the whole of the Christian world, and in fact to the whole human world, that won't be readily forgotten.


"Pope John Paul was a leader of manifest holiness and a faithful and prayerful friend of the Anglican Church. There will be time in the days ahead for the proper tributes to be paid; for now we remember his life and ministry with thankfulness and hold the church that he led in our thoughts and prayers. Christians everywhere will feel that sense of grief and loss but also gratitude." -  Rowan Williams, Anglican Archbishop of Canterbury

"Pope John Paul II was unquestionably the most influential voice for morality and peace in the world during the last 100 years . His extraordinary gifts, his strong Catholic faith, and his experience of human tyranny and suffering in his native Poland all shaped him, and yet he was respected by men and women from every conceivable background across the world." - Rev. Billy Graham

"Lutherans will always remember John Paul II as the pope who fostered an unprecedented growth in Lutheran/Roman Catholic relations. Healing the wounds laid bare during the 16th-century Reformation took on new meaning as the Joint Declaration on the Doctrine of Justification was signed in 1999. We live in new hope that the Spirit of the Living Christ will continue that work and bring about an even stronger relationship between the two church bodies." - Mark Hanson, President of the Lutheran World Federation

"He rallied the captive nations of Eastern Europe to throw off the yoke of Soviet communism. Furthermore, he emerged as one of the most eloquent spokesmen anywhere in the world for religious freedom for all human beings as a universal right, and for the sanctity of all human life from conception to natural death and everywhere in between." - Richard Land, President of the Southern Baptist Ethics and Religious Liberties Commission

"Like the householder in the Gospel he was able to bring out of the treasure of his own deep spirit things 'both new and old.' His voice and moral authority gave inspiration and hope to millions well beyond the Roman Catholic Church. His commitment to the unity of the church expressed itself in his personal willingness to meet with representatives of other faith communities and to invite those outside his own tradition to reflect on how the ministry of the Bishop of Rome might be of greater service both in the cause of Christian unity and the well-being of the world." - Reverend Frank Griswold, leader of the U.S. Episcopal Church

"Pope John Paul II has stood with us strongly all over the free world in defending heterosexual, monogamous marriage and defending the fact that a fetus is a human being." - Ted Haggard, President of the National Association of Evangelicals

The Pontiff was a "new John the Baptist" because like the original one he was "a voice who cried in the desert to prepare the ways of the Lord; he wiped hypocrisy and sin before our Risen Lord." - Gregorius III Lahham, Greek Melkite patriarch of Damascus

"Pope John Paul personally, and his works and ideas, have had a strong impact on the world." - Patriarch Alexy II, leader of the Russian Orthodox Church

"Pope John Paul II envisioned the restoration of the unity of the Christians and he worked for its realization." - Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I, the spiritual leader of the world's Orthodox Christians

"The last days of John Paul II were marked by qualities, which have gained him respect of all people. He endured his sufferings with strong faith, thus making millions of people to admire his courage. I sincerely hope that his memory will serve the cause of building up good relations between our Churches and will be the pledge for overcoming the present difficulties. I pray to the Lord Jesus Christ for the repose of the soul of His Holiness Pope John Paul II." - Orthodox Metropolitan Kirill of Smolensk and Kaliningrad, chairman of the Department for External Church Relations of the Moscow Patriarchate


"Pope John Paul II was a global leader for a global age. Few Jews will forget his visit to the synagogue in Rome or his deeply moving pilgrimage to the Western Wall in Jerusalem. That one act of atonement for the suffering caused to Jews by the church was one of the great healing moments of our time." -  Jonathan Sacks, Britain's chief rabbi

"I would like to extend to you my most heartfelt sympathies on the death of H.H. Pope John Paul II after he guided the Church throughout 26 years. During this period he was highly respected and honored by the peoples of the whole world. He was also highly praised for his personal qualities and his participation in the ecumenical work and the relationship between the Catholic Church and the rest of the churches of the world." - Pope Shenouda III, Coptic Church

"We give thanks to God for the impact Pope John Paul II has made in his lifetime as a leader. We give thanks for a ministry in which, as a priest, bishop, and head of the Roman Catholic Church, he sought to bear witness to the Gospel in the contemporary world." - Clifton Kirkpatrick, President, World Alliance of Reformed Churches

"His Holiness Pope John Paul II will remain an outstanding figure in the modern history of world Christendom. In fact, his relentless effort to make the Gospel of Christ a living reality in the life of people, his unyielding prophetic witness to make the moral values the guiding principles of human societies, his firm commitment to the cause of Christian unity, his openness to other religions with a clear vision of living together as a reconciled community in the midst of diversities, and his continuous advocacy for justice, human rights and freedom made him an exceptional figure of great achievements. As moderator of the World Council of Churches central committee and as the Armenian Catholicos of Cilicia, I had the privilege to meet His Holiness on different occasions and witnessed the strength of his faith, the depth of his wisdom and the clarity of his vision." - Catholicos Aram I, World Council of Churches central committee moderator

"His vision for the healing of the divisions of Christendom was lived out at a difficult time on the ecumenical journey -- when we had passed beyond the euphoria of the friendship arising from Vatican II -- and were at the more difficult stage of looking at not only what unites, but trying to understand somewhat more of what divides. It was often simply the friendship and warmth of John Paul II that allowed differences to remain differences between brothers and sisters in Christ -- family differences." - John Neill, Church of Ireland Archbishop of Dublin

"For the churches and peoples of Europe John Paul II was a figure of special significance. As a son of Poland he bore in his own life so much of the most tragic experience of Europe in the twentieth century brought by war and oppression, first under Nazi occupation and then under communist totalitarianism. Equally, under these experiences he embodied the finest spirit of European Christianity in refusing to compromise either his faith or his humanity.

"As a leader of the Roman Catholic Church in Poland it was he who did so much to inspire the cause of freedom and human rights both in his native country and further afield in Eastern Europe. His place in the history of change in Europe during the last quarter of the 20th century is secure. So too is his record during his long pontificate, of advocating the cause of greater European unity, the building of a 'common European house' in which the Christianity of both east and west has to share." - Reverend Dr. Keith Clements, General Secretary of the Conference of European Churches


"The forgiveness of this man -- this is huge. For him to go into the prison and meet with a man that tried to kill him and to forgive him, this is an example, of course, that Christ gave from the cross when he said, 'Forgive them, Father, for they know not what they do.' For him to go into the prison and to forgive this man and speak to him, and pray with him, was a great example to all of us. We need to forgive and move on in life, and John Paul II certainly did that -- and that is a great example to everyone." - Rev. Franklin Graham


"Muslims worldwide respected Pope John Paul II as an advocate for justice and human rights. His message of international peace and interfaith reconciliation is one that will reverberate for decades to come. We offer our sincere condolences to members of the Roman Catholic Church and to all those who seek a more peaceful world." - Council on American-Islamic Relations


"If Evangelicals, like me, could have claimed a Pope as our own, he would have been John Paul II. He did more to bring together conservative Bible-believing Christians in common cause with Catholics, both lay and clergy, than anyone else in the Roman Church's history. He had an obvious love of Christ that showed unapologetically in his bright eyes." -  Rev. Rob Schenck,  Evangelical Church Alliance


"Pope John Paul II was a global leader for a global age. Few Jews will forget his visit to the synagogue in Rome or his deeply moving pilgrimage to the Western Wall in Jerusalem. That one act of atonement for the suffering caused to Jews by the Church was one of the great healing moments of our time."  - Chief Rabbi Dr Jonathan Sacks



What World Leaders Said About the Pope:


"The world has lost a champion of human freedom and a good and faithful servant of God has been called home," "Pope John Paul II was himself an inspiration to millions of Americans and to so many more throughout the world." - President George W Bush


"At the time when communism was breaking down, finally, and needed strong people who were prepared to push those boulders aside, and to make it possible for tyranny to end in Europe, the pope was ... one of the most important actors in that great (drama). If you look at what happened in 1989 and 1990 and 1991 you cannot but help recognize the tremendous contribution of Pope John Paul II to those dramatic events and, therefore, to freedom, and he didn't stop there. He has continued to be a voice for those who are oppressed, for those who are seeking freedom." - US Secretary of State,  Condoleezza Rice


"The outpouring of love across the world is a testimony to the greatness of the pope. The pope is an inspiration to millions of Americans and people all over the world for his great moral leadership."  - Scott McClellan, White House Spokesman


"God has called home a great and saintly man. Our sorrow at John Paul II's leaving us should be tempered by the realization that he is finally at peace with the Father. I am sure he is praying for us even now, as we are praying for him." - Rep. Henry Hyde, Ill.


"Pope John Paul was a man driven by faith, and his bold and impassioned leadership revolutionized the papacy. Guided by the truths of eternal tradition, he was a man of great conscience who was vigorous and engaged with many issues affecting the church and the world community. Though his body may have declined in recent years, his mind and spirit remained active. He led the church with dignity, grace and purpose. ... The Catholic Church has lost a great pope, and the world community has lost a great leader and friend. May God bless his memory." - Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist of Tennessee


"We know what the pope has achieved. Fifty percent of the collapse of communism is his doing. After his first visit as pope to Poland, he ended Mass with a prayer for the Holy Spirit to "renew the face of the Earth," words that became a rallying cry. After that we were able to organize 10 million people for strikes, protests and negotiations. Earlier we tried and couldn't do it. These are facts. Of course, communism would have fallen, but much later and in a bloody way. He was a gift from the heavens to us. It is as if Poland lost its mother, because he looked after Poland as a mother looks after her family." - Lech Walesa, founder of  Solidarity Movement


"Today we lost a hero of our age. Karol Wojtyla lived and died a warrior-saint, and we remember with joy and gratitude his service to mankind. At the news of his death, we mourn, we pray, and we bow our heads in thanks that such men ever live. He was more than a good and holy man: he was a lion." - House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, Texas.


"Pope John Paul II was a healer and a beacon of light around the world advocating for the poor, the oppressed and the unborn. He was and continues to be an inspiration to not only the 1 billion members of the Catholic Church but also to all other people of faith around the world. From the Middle East to the former Soviet Union and beyond, he will be remembered for his respect for life and liberty and his message of peace. No one in recent times has worked harder for the greater good of his fellow man than Pope John Paul II. Because of his work, the world is a better place." - House Speaker Dennis Hastert, R-Ill.

"The world has lost a religious leader who was revered across people of all faiths and none. He was an inspiration, a man of extraordinary faith, dignity and courage. Throughout a hard and often difficult life, he stood for social justice and on the side of the oppressed, whether as a young man facing the Nazi occupation in Poland or later in challenging the communist regime. He never wavered, never flinched, in the struggle for what he thought was good and right. Yet whatever his own hardship and experience of what was wrong in human nature, he never lost faith in the human spirit and its ultimate capacity to do good. To anyone fortunate enough to meet him, as I was with my family two years ago, he radiated such warmth and kindness that the meeting was unforgettable. He will be remembered with profound respect and admiration." - British Prime Minister Tony Blair 


"We have lost a very important religious figure who dedicated his life to peace and justice for all. We will not forget his visit to our land and his position towards Jerusalem." - Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas


"Pope John Paul II ... touched the hearts of young and old, bringing tears to the eyes of those inspired by his very presence. He provided unparalleled leadership to his church and gave hope to those who had none." - Former U.S. first lady Nancy Reagan


" The Queen remembers the untiring efforts of Pope John Paul II in promoting peace and good will throughout the world. Her majesty also remembers well the work of Pope John Paul II for Christian unity including closer ties between the Roman Catholic and Anglican churches and, in particular his Holiness’s visit to Britain in 1982 – the first ever Papal visit.” - Buckingham Palace


"He was a man of peace and he has been a great supporter of the United Nations. I recall very fondly my meetings with him, particularly sitting with him in his private quarters discussing the question of war and peace when we were thinking about what to do in Kosovo. He...(was) extremely concerned about the world we lived in, and like me, he also felt that in war, all are losers." - UN Secretary  Kofi Annan


"The death of Pope John Paul II brings to an end one of the epic stories of our time, even as it reminds us of life eternal. Both an upholder of tradition, and a breaker of tradition, Pope John Paul II did as much as anyone to liberate the victims of Communism. He was loved by all, even those who did not belong to his church. He will be mourned by the entire human family." - former President Gerald Ford.


 "The Pope has created a wealth of precedents. Without the Pope the history of Poland would have been quite different; Solidarnosc, worker struggles, the fall of communist dictatorship served as the gateway for the collapse of the Berlin Wall in 1989. The Pope gave Polish popular dissent a moral dignity which were crucial to the course of later events.  - Italian Communications Minister Maurizio Gasparri


"This was a Pope who was loved and venerated not only by his own flock, but by many from other faiths. He crossed numerous boundaries to spread peace, reconciliation and understanding. The light of God shone through him wherever he went to fulfill his Ministry. He did, indeed, live by the instructions of Jesus Christ to preach the Good News of God’s love and mercy to the very ends of the earth. He taught us, then, not only about living life to its fullest, but also about embracing death gladly, in the knowledge of God’s promise of eternal life with Jesus Christ through His resurrection." - Fiji Prime Minister,  Hon. Laisenia Qarase

"Pope John Paul II wrote history. Through his work, and through his impressive personality, he changed our world." He praised the pope's work for "peace, human rights, solidarity and social justice." - German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder


"We are all grateful for the tireless work and suffering that he bore incessantly against every form of totalitarianism, violence, oppression and moral degradation in the name of the values of the Catholic Church that are also the supreme values of human dignity and solidarity." - Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi


"Italians, I cry with you for the Holy Father, the pope who was for us such a close neighbor. We have loved him, we have admired him for the strength of his ideas, for his courage, the passion, the capacity to express values, hope to all of us, especially our youth, youth from all over the world. We have admired his extraordinary openness to the inter-religious dialogue. Italy is in mourning." - Italian President Carlo Ciampi


"As the largest Catholic country in the world, where people of several different beliefs live in harmony, Brazil feels sorrowful for the loss of one of the men who positively marked the course of contemporary history." - Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva


"Our people receive the news of his death with a deep sense of grief and loss. He was a holy champion of the Filipino family and of profound Christian values that make everyone of us contemplate every day what is just, moral and sacred in life," - Philippine President Gloria Arroyo.


"It's a great loss for the whole world. We will always remember him as a great man, an advocate of justice and man of peace. The government and people of Pakistan are deeply saddened after hearing the news of his death." - Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf


"On behalf of the government and the state of Israel, I would like to express condolences on the passing of Pope John Paul II, and to share in the mourning of millions of Christians and believers in both the state of Israel and around the Christian world. Pope John Paul II was a man of peace and a friend of the Jewish people, who was familiar with the uniqueness of the Jewish people and who worked for an historic reconciliation between the peoples and for the establishment of diplomatic relations between Israel and the Vatican in late 1993. ...Yesterday, the world lost one of the most important leaders of our generation, whose great contribution to rapprochement and unity between peoples, understanding and tolerance will be with us for many years." - Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon


"The queen also remembers well the work of Pope John Paul II for Christian unity, including closer ties between the Roman Catholic and Anglican churches." Britain's Queen Elizabeth II


"Millions owe him their freedom and self-respect. The whole world is inspired by his example. His life was a long struggle against the lies employed to excuse evil. By combating the falsehoods of communism and proclaiming the true dignity of the individual, his was the moral force behind victory in the Cold War." - Former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher


"I still very well remember the moment in 1978 when me and my friends learned that Karol Wojtyla was elected the pope. It was a moment of an immense joy for us. I even think that we were so delighted that we danced for joy." - Former Czech President Vaclav Havel


"John Paul II had been a pillar of the modern world, serving the Catholic Church and the cause of all humanity." - Irish President Mary McAleese


"Humanity will preserve an emotional memory of the tireless work of His Holiness John Paul II in favor of peace, justice and solidarity among all people," - Cuban President Fidel Castro


Pope John Paul II had been "a pillar of strength as well as a provider of great compassion and in every proper sense of the term an apostle of peace." Howard lauded the pope as a friend to all Christian denominations. "He advanced the ecumenical movement -- he reached out to Jewish people, to those of the Islamic faith, and was also an inspiration to people of no faith at all," he said. - Australian Prime Minister John Howard


"I have very warm recollections of meetings with the pope. He was wise, responsive and open for dialogue." - Russian President Vladimir Putin


"It is with the deepest sorrow that I have learnt of the death of His Holiness Pope John Paul II. He will be long remembered for his tireless efforts to promote world peace and for his great warmth of personality. I have such fond and special memories of meeting His Holiness in Rome in 1985 and in the United Kingdom in 1982. His death is a great loss." - Prince Charles of England


"A great Pope -- our most outstanding fellow countryman, the Holy Father, a good father to all of us, believers and nonbelievers, followers of different religions -- is no more." - Aleksander Kwasniewski, President of Poland

The Pope "embodied the best that is within all mankind as well as the commonness of humanity. ... His actions and statements transformed relations between the Catholic and Jewish faiths, and made a fundamental impact on the struggle against anti-Semitism." - Shimon Peres, Vice Premier of Israel


"It is with extreme sadness that we hear of the passing of the leader of the world's Catholics, His Holiness Pope John Paul II, who commanded the three paths of religious learning, philosophical thought and poetical and artistic creativity." - Mohammad Khatami, Iranian President

"John Paul II was an exceptional man, his legacy will transcend generations." - Vicente Fox, President of Mexico

[History] "will retain the imprint and the memory of this exceptional sovereign pontiff, whose charisma, conviction and compassion carried the evangelical message with unprecedented resonance on the international stage." - Jacques Chirac, President of France

"To the departed Holy Father, I say we believe that it is not your wish to mourn you in our grief but to celebrate the achievements you humbly made to realize and emulate your life. But if you see tears rolling in our eyes, it is because we cannot bear saying farewell dear father." - Levy Mwanawasa, President of Zambia

Mozambican President Armando Guebuza described the death of John Paul II as an "irreplaceable loss" for the Mozambican people, because of the Pope's "tireless collaboration and dedication to the promotion of human and social development." - Armando Guebuza, President of Mozambique

"The demise of His Holiness, Pope John Paul II was received with deep shock and profound sorrow, by the people of India who considered him a champion of world peace and harmony. His was an endearing voice of reason against all forms of intolerance, inhumanity and injustice. His ceaseless efforts to advocate the cause of human values will always be remembered as the beacon of hope against the daunting challenges of today's world." - Avul Pakir Jainulabdeen Abdul Kalam, President of India

The new generations that have only known one Pontiff, who today experience his loss, have in His Holiness a model of democracy, solidarity, of fighting without giving in. A model of peace and love, without exception or hate. - Álvaro Uribe, President of Colombia

"The death of Pope John Paul II profoundly saddens the Brazilian people. His three visits to Brazil are still remembered with vivid emotion. ... Brazil feels sorrowful for the loss of one of the men who positively marked the course of contemporary history." - Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, President of Brazil

"I mourn his loss. We knew it was coming to this. What can I say -- it must have been the will of God. He acted really courageously. His devotion to his followers is a remarkable example to all of us." - Mikhail Gorbachev, former Soviet President

"Europeans will never forget his fight for peace and human dignity." - José Manuel Barroso, President of the European Commission

"The Pope had rendered incredible services for peace, had brought people closer belonging to different faiths." - General Musharraf, president of Pakistan

"Pope John Paul II was not only the leader of Catholics around the world, including Nigeria, but also showed commitment and courage in his quest for mutual tolerance, harmony and unity among the world's religions." - Olusegun Obasanjo, President of Nigeria

"I consider John Paul II to be one of the most outstanding personalities of the whole 20th century. He was a wise and sensitive man, who dedicated his entire life to the ideals of love to man, ideals of human kindness, humility, helping the weak ones, peace, human freedom, dignity, and responsibility. In a fundamental way he influenced the struggle for democracy in the countries of the Communist bloc and it was also his merit that these countries live in freedom again." - Vaclav Klaus, President of the Czech Republic



Copyright © 2004 Victor Claveau. All Rights Reserved