To: ALL From: John Jeanneault

Date: 1/26/95

Hello All....just thought I would drop this in for your perusal. I realize that there is sometimes open hostility expressed toward religion here, Christianity in particular. I am posting this in the hope that it will inject a note of objectivity into the discussions. Even the secular press at times, will reluctantly admit that those of religious beliefs can accomplish much good in the world....not in spite of their beliefs, but because of them.

The following article was in the NORTH BAY NUGGET Jan 26/95


The following appeared recently in the Windsor Star.

Earlier this month, Time magazine chose Pope John Paul II as its Man of the Year. To some, it was an honor that seemed entirely appropriate, for here is a man whose presence over the past 16 years has come to symbolize the moral conscience of the world.

On the other hand, there are others who view this choice as a travesty. For them, it is difficult to accept the apparent contradiction of a world religious leader raising issues of poverty, disease and oppression in the third world while continuing to hold stringently conservative views on abortion and birth control, and persisting in his demands for priest to stay out of the political struggle in those countries.

It was also a blow to many women late last year when Pope John Paul put an end to the speculation and debate over whether women could become priests. The Pope declared it would not happen in the Roman Catholic Church.

In spite of this, during his reign as leader of about one billion Roman Catholics worldwide, John Paul has had a tremendous impact upon the world at large.

From the start, when Eastern Europe was under the grip of the Soviets, this Polish born religious leader took on the communmist world. He marched back into his homeland and challenged and confronted the political dictatorship.

There is no question today that he was the one single individual most instrumental in the dismantling of the iron Curtain.

As Time rightly pointed out in according him Man of the Year, Pope John Paul has created "the bully-est pulpit" travelling the world, some 800,000 km....literally dragging the church into the fray of global concerns.

Wherever he has ventured, Pope John Paul II has brought vigor, gentleness, wit, incomparable humanity and personal charm to bear upon what he views as the moral crisis in the world.

One might argue with his views on women priests, abortion, birth control or a married clergy, but Pope John Paul II certainly has the kind of charisma needed in a time when the world thirsts for someone to speak clearly, genuinely and earnestly about peace and for greater family values.

The earth reels in chaos as secular leaders dither and do nothing over the tragedy in Bosnia or the massacres in Rwanda. It is evident there is a failure to cope with the mounting bloodshed, disease and famine occurring elswhere in the Third World.

The single voice of persuasive reason seems to be that of Pope John Paul II. American evangelist Billy Graham predicts this Polish Pope will go down in history as one of the greatest of our modern Popes. He rightly argues that he is "the strong conscience of the whole Christian world."

No one else seems to have the personality and force to challenge the moral values of humanity as has Pope John Paul II. Certainly there are moments when he upsets people by his rigid pronouncements, but then in doing so, isn't he forcing the world to look hard at itself, at how dysfunctional it has become ?

It is the Pope who consistently and sternly informs us of the decay of personal moral behaviour. As Time points out, television news itself sums up what our world is all about. The nightly news has become "a saraband of sleaze" with stories about Tonya Harding, Lorena Bobbitt, Michael Jackson and O.J.Simpson.

Thus, it's hard to argue with the message that this prayerfull but resolute religious leader brings to the world, for it is a message that is formidable and essential. Whether one believes in the values he sets for his own church, Pope John Paul II raises everyone's awareness about humanity and its follies, as well as the need for greater reason and spirituality.

(Southam Network)

*Dedicated to Joe Didde*