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The Significance of Pope John Paul II’s Life and Death in One Woman’s World

Being raised as a Polish-American Catholic and first generation American, I too mourn the loss of John Paul II.

John Paul II was really trying to give a message to the world that money and the pursuit of power and material things have become more important than the pursuit of compassion and peace. I received an e-mail from a friend in Israel who said John Paul II was a true leader in interfaith encounters and in the improvement of interfaith relations. He saw the evil in the world as all-consuming. That evil is rooted in the violence of simple every- day actions, that when added up, become a collective action by a society.

We are just one species sharing this planet with many, and we humans keep insisting on running roughshod over the planet and each other. We are so rushed and so busy and so driven by jobs that have moved our society from a quality of life that depletes the spirit, chokes creativity, and leaves little time to take care of the elderly, our children, and our own selves. This is the true evil in the world.

The violence in all our communities is a result of our disconnection from the sacredness of life. We speak of being pro-life but our society is full of practices where we disrespect each other and destroy life and some dare to condone their acts in the name of their God, be it Christians, Jews or Muslims, etc. We commit surgical abortion anytime we drop bombs on pregnant mothers. We devalue life when we deprive other human beings of land to grow food or clean water to drink. We have created complicated rules of allocation for which human beings deserve crumbs of aid and which do not. Those wanting peace and justice are pushed aside or dismissed as radical.

The violence in the world will not stop unless each of us wants it so badly that we will do anything to refuse to fuel its fires. The violence won’t stop until we stop giving our dollars to the war machines, government and corporations and to the businesses, large and small, that keep insisting on economic practices that oppress other humans and destroy nature —the ecosystems — that makes life possible for us.

Maybe we can re-evaluate what it means to be human in this context? And may John Paul II rest in peace as he is now released from the weariness of witnessing the world’s preoccupation with war and its own destruction. He was telling us we have a choice. He was trying to show us that we have the power of free will and that we can rediscover tenants of our various faiths and choose to live fearlessly the love, compassion, forgiveness, and humbleness that we are all called to practice.


Love & Peace

Redwood Mary