Vatican City, Apr 8, 2005 (CNA) - Pope John Paul II, shepherd of the Catholic Church for 26 years, was laid to rest this morning in the presence of presidents, kings, church leaders from all denominations, and faithful from around the globe.
The funeral Mass is already being called one of the largest religious events in human history, as millions who were not able to be in Rome watched the solemn event from their televisions.
The polish-born pope, who died Saturday at the Vatican was laid in a simple, Cypress casket emblazoned with an “M” underneath a cross representing his beloved Virgin Mary standing beneath Jesus’ cross.
Winds blew strongly and the gathered crowds applauded as the coffin was laid on a carpet in front of the altar, and the book of the Gospel placed on top.
The two and a half hour Mass was presided at by Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, Dean of the College of Cardinals, who said that, “We can be sure that our beloved pope is standing today at the window of the father's house, that he sees us and blesses us.”
In his homily, the Cardinal Ratzinger followed the life of Karol Wojtyla from a young boy in Krakow, to an actor, a playwright, a factory worker and underground seminarian during the horrors of the Nazi occupation, to his God-given appointment to bishop and then pope.
The cardinal illuminated all of these roles in the light of Jesus’ words to Peter, ‘follow me.’
“The love of Christ”, he said, “was the dominant force in the life of our beloved Holy Father. Anyone who ever saw him pray, who ever heard him preach, knows that. Thanks to his being profoundly rooted in Christ, he was able to bear a burden, which transcends merely human abilities: that of being the shepherd of Christ’s flock, his universal Church.”
Along with Cardinal Ritzinger, 164 other cardinals concelebrated the Mass.
Some 300,000 were present in St. Peters Square, including some 200 world-dignitaries, flooding the surrounding streets, while millions of others watched the proceedings from 27 massive T.V. screens placed throughout Rome.
Following the Mass, John Paul’s casket was taken in procession to a crypt beneath St. Peter’s Basilica where the pope had requested to be buried “surrounded by bare earth.”
Voices rang out the words of Mary in the Magnifacat hymn and many chanted ‘Santo, Santo” calling for John Paul’s much anticipated canonization.
Vatican City, Apr 8, 2005 (CNA) - Pope John Paul II followed the call of Christ up until his last day and traveled “everywhere, untiringly, in order to bear fruit that lasts.”
That was the simple yet powerful message delivered by Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger at the funeral mass for the much-loved pontiff Friday morning at St. Peter’s Square.
Millions gathered in Rome over the past week to pay their last respects and attend the funeral mass for Pope John Paul II, who died April 2 at the age of 84, after serving as the vicar of Christ for nearly 27 years.
“The Holy Father was a priest to the last, for he offered his life to God for his flock and for the entire human family, in a daily self-oblation for the service of the Church, especially amid the sufferings of his final months,” Cardinal Ratzinger said in his homily. “And in this way he became one with Christ, the Good Shepherd who loves his sheep.”
The Risen Lord’s last words to Peter—“Follow me”—are “the key to understanding the message which comes to us from the life of our late beloved Pope John Paul II,” he said.
The three-hour Latin mass, celebrating the life of the third-longest reigning pontiff, was the most attended and widely watched funeral in history. There were more than 170 heads of state and political leaders present.
Despite the grandeur of the Pope on the international scene, the celebration was marked by simplicity. The Holy Father’s plain wooden coffin, placed before the altar, had the markings of a cross and the letter M, for Mary.
At the beginning of his Italian-language homily, Cardinal Ratzinger issued a particular greeting to youth, whom the Pope loved dearly and “whom John Paul II liked to call the future and the hope of the Church.” The greeting drew cheers from the young pilgrims who traveled into Rome for the funeral.
At other times during the mass, the pilgrims shouted “Subito Santo!”—a chant that expressed the people’s desire that the Pope be made a saint soon.
In his homily, the cardinal briefly outlined Karol Wojtyla’s youthful days, underlining his ordination to the priesthood in 1946 and then to the episcopate in 1958.
He also noted that for Fr. Karol Wojtyla, leaving the world of academia and ministry to young people to answer a call to the episcopate was a great sacrifice for the, but “Karol Wojtyla accepted the appointment, for he heard in the Church's call the voice of Christ.
“Our Pope - and we all know this - never wanted to make his own life secure, to keep it for himself; he wanted to give of himself unreservedly, to the very last moment, for Christ and thus also for us,” the cardinal continued.
“The love of Christ was the dominant force in the life of our beloved Holy Father. Anyone who ever saw him pray, who ever heard him preach, knows that,” said Cardinal Ratzinger. “Thanks to his being profoundly rooted in Christ, he was able to bear a burden, which transcends merely human abilities: that of being the shepherd of Christ's flock, his universal Church.
“In the first years of his pontificate, still young and full of energy, the Holy Father went to the very ends of the earth, guided by Christ,” Cardinal Ratzinger said.
“But afterwards, he increasingly entered into the communion of Christ's sufferings; increasingly he understood the truth of the words [Jesus spoke to Peter]: 'Someone else will fasten a belt around you.' And in this very communion with the suffering Lord, tirelessly and with renewed intensity, he proclaimed the Gospel, the mystery of that love which goes to the end.”
The cardinal spoke of the Pope’s ability “to forgive and to open his heart to all.
"He interpreted for us the paschal mystery as a mystery of divine mercy,” the cardinal said. “Impelled by this vision, the Pope suffered and loved in communion with Christ, and that is why the message of his suffering and his silence proved so eloquent and so fruitful.
The cardinal also spoke about the Pope’s strong love for Mary, the Mother of God, from whom he learned to conform himself to Christ.
The cardinal concluded by referring to the Pope’s moving final public appearance at the window of his papal apartment Easter Sunday.
"None of us can ever forget how in that last Easter Sunday of his life, the Holy Father, marked by suffering, came once more to the window of the Apostolic Palace and one last time gave his blessing urbi et orbi,” said the cardinal. “We can be sure that our beloved Pope is standing today at the window of the Father's house, that he sees us and blesses us.”
After the mass, Pope John Paul II was buried in the crypt of St. Peter’s Basilica in a private service, attended by some prelates. The tomb has been simply engraved with his name.
Read John Paul II funeral mass' homily at:
Vatican City, Apr 8, 2005 (CNA) - Below is the English translation of the homily, delivered in Italian by Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, at the funeral Mass for the Holy Father John Paul II, held in St Peter's Square this morning:
"'Follow me.' The Risen Lord says these words to Peter. They are his last words to this disciple, chosen to shepherd his flock. 'Follow me' - this lapidary saying of Christ can be taken as the key to understanding the message which comes to us from the life of our late beloved Pope John Paul II. Today we bury his remains in the earth as a seed of immortality - our hearts are full of sadness, yet at the same time of joyful hope and profound gratitude.
"These are the sentiments that inspire us, Brothers and Sisters in Christ, present here in Saint Peter's Square, in neighboring streets and in various other locations within the city of Rome, where an immense crowd, silently praying, has gathered over the last few days. I greet all of you from my heart. In the name of the College of Cardinals, I also wish to express my respects to Heads of State, Heads of Government and the delegations from various countries. I greet the Authorities and official representatives of other Churches and Christian Communities, and likewise those of different religions. Next I greet the Archbishops, Bishops, priests, religious men and women and the faithful who have come here from every Continent; especially the young, whom John Paul II liked to call the future and the hope of the Church. My greeting is extended, moreover, to all those throughout the world who are united with us through radio and television in this solemn celebration of our beloved Holy Father's funeral.
"Follow me! As a young student Karol Wojtyla was thrilled by literature, the theatre, and poetry. Working in a chemical plant, surrounded and threatened by the Nazi terror, he heard the voice of the Lord: Follow me! In this extraordinary setting he began to read books of philosophy and theology, and then entered the clandestine seminary established by Cardinal Sapieha. After the war he was able to complete his studies in the faculty of theology of the Jagiellonian University of Krakow. How often, in his letters to priests and in his autobiographical books has he spoken to us about his priesthood, to which he was ordained on 1 November 1946. In these texts he interprets his priesthood with particular reference to three sayings of the Lord. First: 'You did not choose me, but I chose you. And I appointed you to go and bear fruit, fruit that will last' (Jn 15:16). The second saying is: 'The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep' (Jn 10:11). And then: 'As the Father has loved me, so I have loved you; abide in my love' (Jn 15:9). In these three sayings we see the heart and soul of our Holy Father. He really went everywhere, untiringly, in order to bear fruit, fruit that lasts. 'Rise, Let us be on our Way!' is the title of his next-to-last book. 'Rise, let us be on our way!' - with these words he roused us from a lethargic faith, from the sleep of the disciples of both yesterday and today. 'Rise, let us be on our way!' he continues to say to us even today. The Holy Father was a priest to the last, for he offered his life to God for his flock and for the entire human family, in a daily self-oblation for the service of the Church, especially amid the sufferings of his final months. And in this way he became one with Christ, the Good Shepherd who loves his sheep. Finally, 'abide in my love:' the Pope who tried to meet everyone, who had an ability to forgive and to open his heart to all, tells us once again today, with these words of the Lord, that by abiding in the love of Christ we learn, at the school of Christ, the art of true love.
"Follow me! In July 1958 the young priest Karol Wojtyla began a new stage in his journey with the Lord and in the footsteps of the Lord. Karol had gone to the Masuri lakes for his usual vacation, along with a group of young people who loved canoeing. But he brought with him a letter inviting him to call on the Primate of Poland, Cardinal Wyszynski. He could guess the purpose of the meeting: he was to be appointed as the auxiliary Bishop of Krakow. Leaving the academic world, leaving this challenging engagement with young people, leaving the great intellectual endeavor of striving to understand and interpret the mystery of that creature which is man and of communicating to today's world the Christian interpretation of our being - all this must have seemed to him like losing his very self, losing what had become the very human identity of this young priest. Follow me - Karol Wojtyla accepted the appointment, for he heard in the Church's call the voice of Christ. And then he realized how true are the Lord's words: 'Those who try to make their life secure will lose it, but those who lose their life will keep it' (Lk 17:33). Our Pope - and we all know this - never wanted to make his own life secure, to keep it for himself; he wanted to give of himself unreservedly, to the very last moment, for Christ and thus also for us. And thus he came to experience how everything which he had given over into the Lord's hands came back to him in a new way. His love of words, of poetry, of literature, became an essential part of his pastoral mission and gave new vitality, new urgency, new attractiveness to the preaching of the Gospel, even when it is a sign of contradiction.
"Follow me! In October 1978 Cardinal Wojtyla once again heard the voice of the Lord. Once more there took place that dialogue with Peter reported in the Gospel of this Mass: 'Simon, son of John, do you love me? Feed my sheep!' To the Lord's question, 'Karol, do you love me?,' the Archbishop of Krakow answered from the depths of his heart: 'Lord you know everything; you know that I love you.' The love of Christ was the dominant force in the life of our beloved Holy Father. Anyone who ever saw him pray, who ever heard him preach, knows that. Thanks to his being profoundly rooted in Christ, he was able to bear a burden which transcends merely human abilities: that of being the shepherd of Christ's flock, his universal Church. This is not the time to speak of the specific content of this rich pontificate. I would like only to read two passages of today's liturgy which reflect central elements of his message. In the first reading, Saint Peter says - and with Saint Peter, the Pope himself - 'I truly understand that God shows no partiality, but in every nation anyone who fears him and does what is right is acceptable to him. You know the message he sent to the people of Israel, preaching peace by Jesus Christ - he is Lord of all' (Acts 10:34-36). And in the second reading, Saint Paul - and with Saint Paul, our late Pope - exhorts us, crying out: 'My brothers and sisters, whom I love and long for, my joy and my crown, stand firm in the Lord in this way, my beloved' (Phil 4:1).
"Follow me! Together with the command to feed his flock, Christ proclaimed to Peter that he would die a martyr's death. With those words, which conclude and sum up the dialogue on love and on the mandate of the universal shepherd, the Lord recalls another dialogue, which took place during the Last Supper. There Jesus had said: 'Where I am going, you cannot come.' Peter said to him, 'Lord, where are you going?' Jesus replied: 'Where I am going, you cannot follow me now; but you will follow me afterward.' (Jn 13:33,36). Jesus from the Supper went towards the Cross, went towards his resurrection - he entered into the paschal mystery; and Peter could not yet follow him. Now - after the resurrection - comes the time, comes this 'afterward.' By shepherding the flock of Christ, Peter enters into the paschal mystery, he goes towards the cross and the resurrection. The Lord says this in these words: '... when you were younger, you used to fasten your own belt and to go wherever you wished. But when you grow old, you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will fasten a belt around you and take you where you do not wish to go' (Jn 21:18). In the first years of his pontificate, still young and full of energy, the Holy Father went to the very ends of the earth, guided by Christ. But afterwards, he increasingly entered into the communion of Christ's sufferings; increasingly he understood the truth of the words: 'Someone else will fasten a belt around you.' And in this very communion with the suffering Lord, tirelessly and with renewed intensity, he proclaimed the Gospel, the mystery of that love which goes to the end (cf. Jn 13:1).
"He interpreted for us the paschal mystery as a mystery of divine mercy. In his last book, he wrote: The limit imposed upon evil 'is ultimately Divine Mercy' (Memory and Identity, pp. 60-61). And reflecting on the assassination attempt, he said: 'In sacrificing himself for us all, Christ gave a new meaning to suffering, opening up a new dimension, a new order: the order of love ... It is this suffering which burns and consumes evil with the flame of love and draws forth even from sin a great flowering of good' (pp. 189-190). Impelled by this vision, the Pope suffered and loved in communion with Christ, and that is why the message of his suffering and his silence proved so eloquent and so fruitful.
"Divine Mercy: the Holy Father found the purest reflection of God's mercy in the Mother of God. He, who at an early age had lost his own mother, loved his divine mother all the more. He heard the words of the crucified Lord as addressed personally to him: 'Behold your Mother.' And so he did as the beloved disciple did: he took her into his own home (eis ta idia: Jn 19:27) - 'Totus tuus.' And from the mother he learned to conform himself to Christ.
"None of us can ever forget how in that last Easter Sunday of his life, the Holy Father, marked by suffering, came once more to the window of the Apostolic Palace and one last time gave his blessing 'urbi et orbi.' We can be sure that our beloved Pope is standing today at the window of the Father's house, that he sees us and blesses us. Yes, bless us, Holy Father. We entrust your dear soul to the Mother of God, your Mother, who guided you each day and who will guide you now to the eternal glory of her Son, our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen."
Vatican City, Apr 8, 2005 (CNA) - In an article published in the Italian daily Corriere della Sera, Vatican analyst Luigi Acattoli pointed out that contrary to media reports, Pope John Paul II never considered resigning.
In 2000, Acattoli explains, the Pontiff made important additions to the text he wrote for his will just a few a months after his election during the Spiritual Exercises of 1979. “As the Jubilee Year progressed,” the Pope wrote, “day by day the 20th century closes behind us and the 21st century opens. According to the plans of Divine Providence I was allowed to live in the difficult century that is retreating into the past, and now, in the year in which my life reaches 80 years ('octogesima adveniens'), it is time to ask oneself if it is not the time to repeat with the biblical Simeone 'nunc dimittis'.”
According to Acattoli, the Pope “never gave any serious thought to resigning; rather, in 2000 he prayed to God for help to understand how long he should continue.”
In fact, the Nunc dimittis, which is recited by the Church during Night Prayer—at the end of the day—does not refer to resignation, but rather to the moment of death: “Lord, now you let your servant go in peace, your word has been fulfilled…”
“And for Pope Wojtila, these words refer not to the peace of retirement, but rather to eternity,” Acattoli explained.
Acattoli notes the Pope was wondering whether the time had come for God to call him to Himself, and consequently it was meant to be a reflection on the preparation for his death, which would not take place until five years later.
That explains why the additions made to the will in 2000 conclude with: “As the end of my life approaches I return with my memory to the beginning…”
Rome, Italy, Apr 8, 2005 (CNA) - Four million pilgrims, more than double the number expected, descended on Rome Friday for the Funeral Mass of Pope John Paul II, with the largest delegation coming from the Pope’s homeland of Poland.
Late Thursday night and into Friday morning, while one million Poles participated in an emotional Mass for the eternal rest of the Pope in Krakow (where he was Archbishop), another 600,000 arrived in Italy, many of whom were unable to make it to Rome because of the tight security measures.
Those who were already in Rome lined up early Friday in order to get the first seats in St. Peter’s Square, which was opened to the public at 3:30am, Rome time.
Vatican City, Apr 8, 2005 (CNA) - Hundreds of thousands of pilgrims from around the world spent the night outside St. Peter’s Basilica near the walls that surround Vatican City in anticipation of the Funeral Mass for John Paul II. Elsewhere more than five thousand spent the night at Tor Vergata and at other facilities set aside by Italian authorities. A large portion of those who arrived came from the Pope’s own homeland of Poland.
By 7am pilgrims were allowed into St. Peter’s Square, and hundreds of policemen and firefighters set up barriers to provide order and security. Traffic was reduced or stopped along the streets leading up to the Vatican, and helicopters patrolled from the air providing vital crowd-control information to officials on the street.
70,000 people packed into St. Peter’s Square by the time the funeral began, with an additional 400,000 people in the streets surrounding the Vatican. Those outside St. Peter’s followed the Mass on six gigantic TV screens. Many waved their flags and some held signs with expressions of devotion for the deceased Pontiff, including several which read, “Saint Soon.”
Along the avenue leading up to St. Peter’s, make-shift shrines to John Paul II have been set up, with children leaving pictures and messages dedicated to the Pontiff, thousands of candles placed up and down the avenue, and signs expressing thanks to John Paul II for his witness of love and faith.
At 9am the body of the Pope was placed in a wooden coffin, and the master of liturgical ceremonies, Archbishop Piero Marini, and the Pope's private secretary, Archbishop Stanislaw Dziwisz, placed a white silk cloth over the Pope's face. Then the camerlengo, Cardinal Eduardo Martinez Somalo blessed the body with holy water. Then the coffin was sealed, in the presence of several official witnesses: the Camerlengo, Cardinal Martinez Somalo; the archpriest of the Vatican basilica, Cardinal Francesco Marchisano; the vicar of the Diocese of Rome, Cardinal Camillo Ruini; the former Secretary of State, Cardinal Angelo Sodano; his sostituto or deputy, Archbishop Leonardo Sandri; the prefect of the papal household, Bishop James Michael Harvey.
Shortly after the foreign dignitaries and heads of states took their places to the right of the altar in front of St. Peter’s, with the cardinals processing in and then seated behind the altar facing the square.
Seattle, Wash., Apr 8, 2005 (CNA) - Catholic Church leaders in Washington state are hoping that the recent surge in church attendance, related to the death of Pope John Paul II, will create a renewed interest in religion among lapsed Catholics.
John Paul's passing "will have impacts that will go far beyond the day of his death or the day of his funeral," Greg Magnoni, spokesman for the Archdiocese of Seattle, told The Associated Press.
The number of people visiting St. James Cathedral in Seattle since the Pope’s death has been staggering, much more than its 5,000 registered parishioners. In addition, countless numbers have left notes, prayers and recollections in the Book of Intentions, which has been in place inside the cathedral since the pope's death.
Our Lady of Lourdes Cathedral in Spokane also saw its numbers at daily and weekday masses more than double in the last week, from 670 to 1,400.
Deacon Gonzalo Martinez told the AP that he believes the soaring numbers aren't just a passing phase.
"I think his living and passing has reminded us that we can live according to our beliefs, our morals and our principles," he was quoted as saying. "I think because of the stature he held internationally as a moral and spiritual leader, it could have a lasting effect."
Phoenix, Ariz., Apr 8, 2005 (CNA) - Site of the 1987 visit of Pope John Paul II, the Diocese of Phoenix, Arizona is joining millions worldwide in mourning the death of the Holy Father.
“While I am tearful at the news of his death”, said Bishop Thomas Olmsted last weekend, “I am deeply grateful for the way he fulfilled his mission to the end. Many have already referred to him as John Paul the Great. Has he not earned the title?”
Bishop Olmsted, who worked for nine years in the Secretariat of State of the Holy See, said that what he will remember most about the Holy Father is “his bond of love with the living Jesus Christ. All he did and said, all the hardships he endured, were done for the love of Christ.”
In a litany of praises for John Paul, the bishop also expressed his admiration for the pope’s “remarkable personalism…commitment to the truth…amazing rapport with young people” and his “engagement of cultures.”
“Above all,” he said, “I am grateful that God gave him to us, to guide the Church through the many challenges of the late 20th century and across the threshold of the Third Millennium. He has been true to his title “Holy Father” and to his motto, “Totus Tuus.”
The latter was the pope’s personal motto, meaning ‘Mary, I am all yours.”
Yesterday, on the eve of the pope’s funeral in Rome, Bishop Olmsted celebrated a Mass for the Dead honoring John Paul at Saints Simon and Jude Cathedral in Phoenix.
Likewise, the Diocese had memorabilia from John Paul’s visit to Phoenix on display in the Diocesan Pastoral Center as another way for faithful to remember the pope.
In his homily at yesterday’s Mass, Bishop Olmsted recalled Jesus’ words from John’s Gospel to bring perspective to the loss of the Church’s shepherd for 26-years.
It read: “Amen, amen, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains just a grain of wheat; but if it dies, it produces much fruit.”
Montreal, Canada, Apr 8, 2005 (CNA) - On the eve of Pope John Paul II’s funeral, 1,200 young people packed Montreal’s cathedral-basilica for a two-hour celebration of remembrance and thanksgiving for the life of their beloved pontiff.
The Montreal service Thursday evening was one of thousands of services around the world organized this past week to provide young people an opportunity to remember and pray for the Pope, who had nurtured a special relationship with them, especially through the World Youth Days (WYD) he established 20 years ago.
Led by Bishop Anthony Mancini, the young crowd at Mary Queen of the World Cathedral prayed for the repose of the soul of Pope John Paul. It was a Liturgy of the Word, during which two young people witnessed to the ways in which the late pontiff touched their lives.
Prior to his homily, Bishop Mancini led the young people in the popular chant “JPII, we love you.” He recounted his experience at St. Peter’s Square on Easter Sunday. Pilgrims had gathered and had chanted the same words, adding, “We want to see you.” As a result, said the bishop, Pope John Paul appeared at his window and blessed the crowd.
The bishop spoke of the Holy Father’s many positive qualities, focusing on the paternity of the Pope.
“He called young people [and all people] to overcome their superficial, adolescent desires, and he invited us to become adult children and to do something important with our lives,” said the vicar-general of the archdiocese.
The Pope urged youth and all of the faithful to go out, meet others and transform the world, he said.
“He took the time to teach us what it means to be a man in a world where that isn’t obvious,” said the bishop.
“John Paul II challenged us to grow up and become adults, to not be afraid of what that means and to go beyond our self-centered selves.”
He said while he was in Rome during Holy Week Vatican Radio asked him why he thought young people are interested in the 84-year-old pontiff.
“Because John Paul II witnessed to the truth by his way of acting and speaking and he accepted the challenge of being an adult,” he told them. “For many young people he is the only adult they have known in a world where the first desire is to always appear young.”
The young adults were surprised when a zucchetto that belonged to Pope John Paul II was set before the altar. It was placed on a red pillow and processed down the aisle, surrounded by four young people carrying incense. It was announced that the zucchetto had been given to Bishop Mancini.Witnesses by youth
Young people were attracted to Pope John Paul because he loved and understood them, and he challenged them to be the “people of the beatitudes,” said Emilie Lemay during her witness. The recent university graduate was one of almost 20 young people who carried the WYD Cross almost 600 km from Montreal to Toronto for WYD 2002. She met the John Paul at WYD that year.
Pope John Paul “knew how to speak to us, to touch our hearts. He taught us to proclaim Jesus Christ and not to be afraid to do it in the context of ordinary life,” said Sr. Isabel Correa, FMA. The recently professed Salesian sister attributed her decision to embrace religious life to the encouraging words of the Pope at WYD 2000 in Rome.
During the liturgy, the youth sang the theme song of WYD 2000 in Rome and WYD 2002 in Toronto, the last such gathering attended by Pope John Paul. They clapped and waved Polish and WYD flags. The young people held candles as they prayed the Litany of the Saints and other prayers for the late Pope.
Excerpts were read from his messages to youth, and a slide presentation of the Pope’s life was screened throughout the service. At the end of the liturgy, the young people sang along to a video montage of short visual and musical clips of international WYD gatherings.
Tokyo, Japan, Apr 8, 2005 (CNA) - One of two Japanese cardinals said he hopes the new Pope will be similar to Pope John Paul II.
Seiichi Cardinal Shirayanagi, 76, will take part in his first papal election next week. In accordance with canon law, the cardinal resigned as the archbishop of Tokyo after his 75th birthday, but he is still permitted to vote in the papal elections until the age of 80.
"I want to support someone who can continue the course taken by Pope John Paul II, who observed modern society and made contributions to society," Cardinal Shirayanagi told The Japan Times Sunday in Tokyo.
The cardinal, who received his red beret in 1994, said he would decide who to vote for based on careful readings of career histories and sermons.
Cardinal Shirayanagi remarked on Pope John Paul’s difficult youth in Poland and said the third-longest reigning pontiff sought to build a world in which all people could live humanely.
"He also preached the importance of dialogue among conflicting parties, such as the time before the war on Iraq," Shirayanagi told the Japanese newspaper.
Baghdad, Iraq, Apr 8, 2005 (CNA) - Despite potential danger, several hundred people gathered at St. Joseph's Chaldean Church in Baghdad yesterday for a special memorial mass for Pope John Paul II.
Iraq’s newly trained soldiers provided security for the event. They stood outside the church, searched cars and asked for ID cards from people at different stations surrounding the church, reported The Associated Press. Most Christians appreciated the heightened security.
"The Pope won the hearts of everybody because he worked for the good of all," said Patriarch Emmanuel III Delly, the head of Iraq's Chaldean Catholic Church. The Pope’s death "was a loss not only for Iraqi Catholics and Christians but indeed it was a loss for the whole world," he said.
The patriarch concelebrated the mass in Arabic with the heads of the Latin, Armenian and Syrian Catholic churches, and a representative of the papal nuncio's office.
In a show of solidarity, five Shiites, including a cleric from Iran, reportedly attended the mass.
"We lost a man who was a symbol for peace, justice and faith in the world, and we wish that God will replace him with a man like him," Iranian Ali Akbar Hakim told the AP. "We wish that God will take him to heaven and give his family and friends the patience to withstand this loss."
The Pope was remembered for having given hope to the dwindling Christian communities of the Middle East. Archbishop Jean Sleiman of Iraq’s Latin church recalled the Pope's disappointment at not being able to visit Iraq in 1999.
The Pope had opposed the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003 and the U.N. sanctions after Iraq invaded Kuwait in 1990.
Iraq has about 800,000 Christians, but the community has continued to emigrate from the region since 1991.
Washington D.C., Apr 8, 2005 (CNA) - The results of a recent poll, which accurately described Terri Schiavo’s health condition, demonstrate that 80 percent of Americans are opposed to the removal of food and water from disabled people.
This week’s Zogby Poll asked: "If a disabled person is not terminally ill, not in a coma, and not being kept alive by life support, should or should they not be denied food and water?"
Only 7 percent said people in this condition should be denied, while 80 percent said they should not be denied food and water.
Given that the survey question accurately describes Schiavo’s health condition, these findings can be applied to her case to show that 80 percent of Americans are in fact opposed to Judge George Greer’s decision that ordered the removal of the 41-year-old’s feeding tube, March 18, says Concerned Women for America (CWA).
The poll included the question: "Michael Schiavo has had a girlfriend for 10 years and has two children with her. Considering this, do you agree or disagree that Michael Schiavo should have turned guardianship of Terri over to her parents?"
The majority, 56 percent, agreed that Michael Schiavo should have turned over Terri's guardianship to her parents; 35 percent disagreed.
The respondents were also asked: "Do you agree or disagree that it is proper for the federal government to intervene when basic civil rights are being denied?" Seventy-three agreed; 19 percent disagreed.
The new poll also sharply contradicts findings from earlier polls, says the CWA.
"As Judge George Greer openly flouted Congress' subpoena, and the Florida Senate rejected emergency legislation, Americans appeared to be saying that they were okay with Terri's unjust treatment," said Robert Knight, director of CWA's Culture & Family Institute.
“Yet, when Americans are given accurate information, the polling comes out quite different,” he said.
Sacramento, Calif., Apr 8, 2005 (CNA) - Bishop William Weigand of Sacramento is recovering after a liver transplant April 1 at the University of California San Francisco Medical Center. Doctors say his condition is fair and his recovery is progressing normally.
Bishop Weigand, 67, received the new liver from a 50-year-old donor, Sacramento firefighter Dan Havertyn. During the eight-hour operation, 73 percent of Havertyn’s liver was removed. He was able to visit briefly with the bishop Sunday, reported ABC.Net.
The bishop was diagnosed with liver disease 24 years ago. He was named bishop of Sacramento 11 years ago.
Washington D.C., Apr 8, 2005 (CNA) - Democratic senators have blocked the nomination of a commissioner to the Food and Drug Administration because the FDA has not yet decided whether to allow non-prescription sales of the morning-after pill, also known as Plan B.
The nomination of Lester M. Crawford to the FDA was put on hold indefinitely April 6, reported the Washington Post.
Sen. Patty Murray announced the hold after she, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton and Sen. Edward M. Kennedy had a 30-minute meeting with Crawford.
The meeting ended without a resolution, Murray said. The senators said they plan to block the vote until the FDA acts.
The FDA approved Plan B in 1999 as a prescription drug. But the drug’s manufacturer, Barr Laboratories, applied to the FDA in April 2003 and requested to sell Plan B as an over-the-counter drug.
The FDA ultimately rejected the application in May 2004, but it was supposed to render a decision on a revised application in January. A concern, expressed by the FDA and numerous pro-life groups, was the lack of research done on the effects of this drug on teenage girls.
Murray reportedly said the FDA appears to be making a "political and ideological decision" regarding Plan B, and that "there is no scientific reason for this approval to not go forward." She said the FDA's credibility as a science-based agency "is on the line."
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Apr 8, 2005 (CNA) - Police arrested an associate of the rancher charged in the killing of an American nun, who had dedicated 23 years to protecting the poor who live in the Amazon rain forest and the environment, reported The Associated Press.
Regivaldo Pereira Galvao was arrested Thursday but he has denied any role in the Feb. 12 murder of Sr. Dorothy Stang, who was a native of Dayton, Ohio.
Five men are now accused in Sr. Stang’s murder. Police also have arrested two alleged gunmen, the man who allegedly ordered her murder and a middleman accused of hiring the gunmen.
According to the Catholic Church's Pastoral Land Commission, about half the 1,237 land-related killings in Brazil in the past 30 years occurred in Para.