April 2, 2005
"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.
John Paul will be remembered as an intellectual with few rivals on the world stage -- secular or religious -- but also a man of humor, courage, warmth, simplicity and astonishing energy. He had a tremendous dedication to the dignity of the human person and the sanctity of human life. He accomplished a century of work in the 26 years of his pontificate. He revered the witness of his predecessors -- especially John XXIII and Paul VI -- and built on their legacy. He changed the face of the papacy, touched the lives of hundreds of millions of people, and shaped our religious vocabulary for decades to come. But most of all, 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.
God has always guided His Church, and God will send us the new pastor we need. But Karol Wojtyla will be sorely missed for a very long time. In every sense, he was truly 'John Paul the Great'."
+Charles J. Chaput, O.F.M. Cap.
Archbishop of Denver
Printed with permission from the Archdiocese of Denver.