- The Washington Times - Friday, April 8, 2005

Nobles: The pilgrims who journeyed thousands of miles to see their Holy Father laid to rest.

Millions waited in line, some for 16 hours; millions more flooded the ancient city; and billions stared in reverent awe at their TV screens, as the visitation and funeral of Pope John Paul II captured the world’s attention this week.

Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, Washington’s Roman Catholic archbishop, declared that Friday’s farewell to John Paul was “the greatest funeral in the history of the world.” Judging from what those who could not be in Rome witnessed, Cardinal McCarrick’s estimation may not be far off. It was widely reported that four kings, five queens and at least 70 presidents and prime ministers attended the funeral — surely one for the ages.

But the rush of dignitaries can not obscure the ordinary believers who traveled from all over the world to pay their respects. For indeed, if John Paul will be remembered for anything, it will be his love for people. During his papacy, he traversed the world 30 times, visiting more countries and more people than any preceding pope. There seemed little one could do to repay his service, except by leaving home to visit him one last time.

And nowhere was he more beloved than his native Poland, whose citizens made their presence known at the Vatican with hundreds of Polish flags. It was in Poland, after all, in 1979, when John Paul spoke before millions still beneath the boot of Communism. His message then, as now: “Don’t be afraid.”

For returning the love Pope John Paul II showered on them, the pilgrims are the Nobles of the week.

Knaves: D.C. deputy fire chief Beatrice Rudder, for ignoring standard fire department procedure.

Last month, Chief Rudder struck an 11-year-old child in Northeast Washington, then left the scene before a police investigation. As The Washington Times reported yesterday, Chief Rudder not only fled, but also violated fire department rules governing the scene of an accident. These combined errors in judgment could end what was otherwise a distinguished civil-servant career.

In a tape of the emergency call supplied to The Times, Chief Rudder is heard reporting the accident to a fire department dispatcher. However, she failed to identify herself as being involved in the accident, nor did she ask for an officer to report to the scene — both violations of the fire department’s order book.

As a decorated member of the department, her behavior showed little concern for the 11-year-old child she hit with her Ford Excursion. Thankfully, the boy was not seriously injured.

For careless conduct beneath the stature of a deputy chief, Chief Rudder is the Knave of the week.

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