Joining his voice with the rest of the world in mourning the death of Pope John Paul II, Archbishop Charles Chaput of Denver said Saturday, that the Holy Father “embodied the greatest qualities of the Second Vatican Council.”
The archbishop said that the 84-year old Pope, who died peacefully in the Vatican late Saturday night, personified 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.”
The Pope, the archbishop continued, “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.”
Recently, Archbishop Chaput said that the Pope’s visit to Denver in 1993 for World Youth Day was “a Transfiguration for the Church in Northern Colorado - a moment when Jesus smiled on us in a special, joyful, vivid way and invited us into his mission to the world.”
As speculation runs high as to who the next shepherd of the Church will be, the Archbishop said Saturday that, “God has always guided His Church, and God will send us the new pastor we need.”
“But”, he concluded, “Karol Wojtyla will be sorely missed for a very long time. In every sense, he was truly 'John Paul the Great'."