- The Washington Times - Tuesday, April 5, 2005

The pope’s lasting legacy

The death of Pope John Paul II brings to an end the life of a giant among the very small. The truth of this statement is exemplifiedby a column and an article in Sunday’s Washington Times.

John O’Sullivan’s Commentary column (“Passing of a worthy pastor”) refers to the pope’s pilgrimage to give “strength and hope to traditional believers of all denominations in their battle with secularism and theological liberalism,” a journey he undertook “without either surrendering or seeking the surrender of fundamental beliefs.”

Contrast such inspiring leadership with that of the Episcopal Church. Julia Duin reports that Pittsburgh Episcopal Bishop Robert Duncan has said that he and five other conservative leaders of the Episcopal Church were referred to as being “evil” by Presiding Bishop Frank Griswold, and that in Connecticut, conservative priests at six parishes have been threatened with defrocking by their bishop (“Episcopalians told to suffer for beliefs”Nation). This is an example of leadership in a church that once subscribed to basic Christian beliefs but now embodies secularism and relativist reform.

Is it any wonder that such moral relativist denominations, those that are guided by a secular compass that points anywhere but in the direction of traditional morality, no longer serve as a light for social morality?

We will miss John Paul.

ROBERT HARGEST

Alexandria

The world is replete with conflicting religious and political symbols used to sway the allegiance of millions. Yesterday’s report by Victor Morton on Pope John Paul II (“His faith and his life changed the world,” World) carried a large photograph of the pope releasing a white dove earlier this year, symbolizing his efforts to make peace with other religions, particularly the Jewish community.

What a stark contrast with Pablo Picasso’s dove. The Spanish-born artist, an active member of the French Communist Party from 1944 until his death in 1973, helped organize the Moscow-sponsored World Congress of Peace Partisans, whose symbol was the dove Picasso had painted.

Picasso’s dove became the ubiquitous icon of the communist peace movement, appearing on Soviet postage stamps as well as on T-shirts, scarves and mugs of leftists everywhere.

What a contrast in the use of the innocent dove. For the pope, the dove symbolized peace, reconciliation and justice. For Picasso, it symbolized class warfare, injustice and the “evil empire” itself, which John Paul II and Ronald Reagan were largely instrumental in bringing down.

ERNEST W. LEFEVER

Chevy Chase

Although coverage of Pope John Paul II’s life has been generally uplifting, I cringed when I read that many Catholics think the pontiff was too rigid concerning abortion, contraception and homosexuality (“Liberal Catholics condemn pope,” Nation, Monday).

What in the world would one expect? After all, his preaching was based on spiritual and moral standards existing in the Gospels for 2,000 years or so.

To his eternal credit and glory, John Paul was true to his beliefs and steadfast in advocating policies consistent with the Gospels. The fact that those policies are no longer fashionable or popular with modern Catholics and the American media is irrelevant.

JOHN W. LILLPOP

San Jose, Calif.

As I was reflecting on the death of Pope John Paul II, it dawned on me that in death he has taught me a very great and wonderful lesson — how to die with true dignity and courage.

Although I never met or even saw John Paul in person, I came to love and adore him because his love and faith in God helped me in my journey of faith.

In celebrating the life of John Paul, it is wonderful to see how many millions of lives he touched and what a truly good and decent man he was — a man of God. The world is a better place because of Pope John Paul II.

MICHAEL MCCAFFERTY

Regina, Saskatchewan

Recognizing heroes

I recently learned from John McCaslin’s Inside the Beltway column (“People’s diary,” March 24) that there is a push for Congress to grant posthumous honorary citizenship to Anne Frank.

To a great many, this would be a very meaningful gesture, to praise in such a way this special young person from a foreign land who is remembered through her hauntingly beautiful writings of the Frank family’s attempt to survive during World War II.

However, there is a strong feeling that we should first posthumously recognize, or at least seek to honor at the same moment, another great person from a foreign land, one who fought and died for America.

Many interested parties, including myself, from our nation’s devoutly patriotic Polish-American community, have for quite some time sought to honor Gen. Casimir Pulaski as an American citizen. In fact, Rep. Dennis J. Kucinich, Ohio Democrat, is prepared to introduce a joint resolution before colleagues on Capitol Hill recognizing Pulaski in this special manner. Simultaneous recognition of Miss Frank would have a nice contrasting appeal.

In the case of Pulaski, who died fighting for America during the American Revolution and is regarded as “the father of the American cavalry,” this recognition is long overdue. Such legislation would be the crowning tribute to a great American hero who means so much to so many.

BEN FILIPCZYK

Chevy Chase

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